A Burnley win over Stoke is now vital for Burnley

02 April 2017 02:52

After playing the top 2 teams in Burnley's last 2 home games, the visit of Stoke City on Tuesday night could not come at a better time for Sean Dyche's beleaguered Clarets.

Stoke City's visit to Turf Moor could be considered even more timely, given the fact Stoke have failed to score in their last 4 away games at the top level.

The fans reaction following the Tottenham defeat was pretty unanimous. Dyche made the wrong substitution in taking off Andre Gray for Sam Vokes.

When he did eventually get round to bringing on Robbie Brady and Steven Defour he played them both out of position. There is no getting away from it, Dyche was blamed squarely for the defeat.

In truth, Burnley were well beaten by a very good Spurs side, who benefitted from having to make two substitutions before the end of the first half and ended up with a better team than which they started.

Add into the mix some very poor defending from the home side, which was unusually sloppy and well below par and a reverse was always on the cards.

It's any manager's  job to get a team  back on the right track after a poor run of form , and Sean Dyche is certainly no exception.

Burnley are definitely on a poor run  of form, which has seen them collect a paltry two points from their last seven league games.

Perhaps it is no coincidence the poor form is the effect of  getting knocked out of the FA Cup at Turf Moor by non-League Lincoln? Burnley need to get this reverse out of their system, and fast.

I am not surprised that some Burnley fans are now starting to get a bit nervous that their team is being drawn into the relegation dog fight.

From my own point of view, surely it is not the time to doubt Sen Dyche and any of the players who have done the club so proud, so far this season?

Hopefully, the home fans will recognise the need to get firmly behind Sean Dyche and his team against Stoke on Tuesday? It is after all, not unusual for any team in the bottom half of the table to go on a long run of matches without being able to win a game.

I feel it just happens to be our turn, but perhaps all Clarets' fans should remember with eight games still to go, there is plenty of time left to create a reverse in fortunes.

I am not one of those making excuses for the current run of poor form, using the  explanation that most of Burnley's recent games have been away from home.

The last two games at home were by coincidence, against the division's top two teams, who are presently locking horns in the battle for the Premier League title.

I witnessed the Rocky Horror Show at Turf Moor in the FA Cup game against Lincoln City and in all honesty, Burnley were never really at the races.

The time has now come for Dyche to make changes and sacrifice the runners for creative players and field them from the first whistle. Playing the likes of Brady and Defour in their proper positions would also help for start.

The time has come to rest Joey Barton and give new recruit Ashley Westwood his chance. A midfield four of Jeff Hendrick, Steven Defour, Ashley Westwood and Robbie Brady would certainly get the fans talking before the game.

Let's have a team that create chances and be dangerous from set pieces within range of the opponent's goal. Leave the runners on the bench to close the game down if needed and please Mr Dyche, not the other way around?

Of course there's not a chance of this happening with Sean Dyche, is there?

I've often been described as wildly optimistic but quite simply I don't think now is the time to panic, but is any time? 

I do however, seriously think now would be a great the time for Dyche to show less managerial stubbornness and less loyalty to the likes of Scott Arfield and George Boyd.

As for Stoke City? Well, they are certainly not a bad team and have a really good football manager in Mark Hughes. I don't think they are as good as the Stoke team of the last couple of seasons but they possess real danger men in Marko Arnautovic  and Joe Allen.

No doubt, Mark Hughes will be already rallying his troops following their 2-0 defeat at Leicester on Saturday. For me, their defence is the weakest it's been for some time. So let's test it!

So, let's have another brilliant Tuesday night with a home win under the Turf Moor floodlights to settle any nerves, even if the Clarets have to scrap ugly on their way to three valuable and much needed points.

This article is written by uber Clarets' fan Michael Donnelly, alias "The Donz". Michael is a regular contributor to Clarets Mad, the views expressed are all of his own. (TEC).

Source: DSG