If you’re hoping for anything positive, look away now. I’ve tried, since the final whistle yesterday, to find something to perhaps be happy about from the game, but I just can’t find it. 4-1 at Burnley – no disrespect, they’re a team doing their best with limited resources – is shameful. OK, Defoe took his goal well, but even his body language as he popped it away suggested that there was no hope.
Having journeyed to Turf Moor with a bunch of vagabonds from across the country, but starting in Hawes, last time, this was my first visit to Colne. A bit like Bishop on a hillside, and with a nice market hall. And Burnley had put up a nice big tent for us to socialise in before the game. Which was nice. Apparently Denayer had twanged something in training on Friday, so we have even fewer players to choose from.
Wooden seats, which keep your hint end warmer than their plastic counterparts, were the order of the day as we lined up:
Jones Kone Papy PVA
O’Shea Seb Januzaj
Borini Defoe Anichebe
Kicking away from the packed away end, we gave Defoe precious little to feed on. We know the squad is down to the bare bones, and that we’re basically picking the eleven fittest players with experience, but dredge back through your memory banks. We could see that the defence was made of defenders and that the attack was there, but imagine two Jeff Whitleys and two Doug Collinses. And that just about sums our afternoon up. To make things even worse, Kone got broken after twenty minutes, O’Shea moved from midfield to his more accustomed central defensive position, and headed on a hoofed clearance from Burnley, and Gray was onto it in a flash. 1-0 on the half hour, but that meant that we still had an hour to get back into it. Ndong, on for Kone, was chasing shadows and consequently Borini, Vic, and Defoe barely got a touch. Big Vic didn’t make the second half, and Papy was all over the place.
Gray added a couple more to complete his hat-trick within eight minutes of the second half starting, as he left Papy for dead chasing a long ball and going round Vito, and the third coming in almost comical fashion when Pienaar, on for Vic, trod on the ball and fell over on half way. You couldn’t make it up, you really couldn’t. Seb lost his rag and bumped their man over for a penalty that nobody complained about on 67 – we were dead and buried by then – and even Defoe’s goal, which was nicely taken as he held off his marker to break into the box and fire right-footed across the keeper, was nothing more than a consolation despite there being twenty minutes to go.
I’m sorry if that’s a bit short, and not very sweet, but we were awful. It’s all very well running Chelsea and their wingbacky, clever passing style close, but if you can’t deal with the straightforward big ball over the top, then you’re knackered. That’s not to denigrate Burnley in any way – if it ends up in the net, it’s good football. Mebbe we should try it, if and when we have eleven fit players. Love came on for O’Shea, but could have no effect in his twenty minutes or so on the field.
Mebbe we should ditch the entire current midfield and hoy a couple of Robsons in there – they couldn’t do any worse. For the record, there were three added minutes in each half. So there.
Keep the Faith, and a Happy New Year.
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