Pivotal at the Palace!
Saturday 13th August 2011
It has been a turbulent week both at Turf Moor and in the country but now the Clarets have to put all that behind them and face up to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday in their first away game of the new season.
The Clarets play only their second League game of the new season this Saturday and their first match away from Turf Moor. They travel to South London to play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park . With the terrible riots and looting in London this week (and indeed elsewhere in the country) the match looked at one point like it might not go ahead but thankfully the Police and the FL have decided not to postpone any matches in London over the weekend so it is still 'game on`!
If the mayhem in the country was not enough, there was also a lot of anger from Clarets fans this week following news that the club had sold left back Danny Fox to Southampton. Enough has been said of this elsewhere on this site, so let`s quickly move on!
Burnley have had a pretty average start to the season although they have shown quite a bit of resilience and there have been some positive signs amidst the worries. In the opener last Saturday at home to Watford, we had to come from 2 goals behind to eventually earn a point but in the end a draw was somewhat disappointing against a pretty average side that some think could struggle to avoid relegation this season. We then had a very strange game in midweek when we turned our attentions to the first round of the Carling Cup. League 2 Burton Albion were the visitors and the plucky little side nearly embarrassed the Clarets after coming from 3-1 down in the last seven minutes of normal time to force extra time. Burnley though made amends in extra time with some stunning goals to eventually come out 6-3 winners and it was a great night for Jay Rodriguez who netted four goals including two from the penalty spot. It will be a worry for Howe though that we have leaked five goals in two games and now have to stop the rot having just lost another experienced defender.
There is no doubt that we are currently depleted both in terms of quality and quantity in the squad at the moment compared to last season. We are now finding life a little difficult without the likes of Eagles. Mears and Cork and we can now probably add Fox to that list. In terms of numbers, we have also lost Steven Thompson. Grezza, Kevin McDonald, Chris Iwelumo and Clarke Carlisle. In total then nine players from last season are no longer with us having been released, sent out on loan or transferred.
Defenders, Mee and Trippier of course have both arrived on a season-long loan from Manchester City and winger Keith Treacly has been signed from Preston but we are still six players short. We are continually promised that new players will be arriving but with only a couple weeks left of the summer transfer window which closes at the end of August, time is running out and Clarets fans are getting more frustrated and anxious by the minute. The situation has also been made worse by the sad news that Martin Paterson has had a recurrence of the thigh injury that kept him sidelined for most of last season.
It is difficult to gauge how close some fans might be to venting their anger at the Board in the light of recent events but this game on Saturday against Palace could be pivotal to calming fears if things go well. However, if things start going tits up it could also be pivotal in causing potential uproar and even more unrest amongst the Clarets fans. Tensions could certainly be high at Selhurst Park and the Clarets badly need to put in an impressive performance and get three points on the board to restore some calm in what could be a pot-boiler.
Dougie Freedman`s Palace have also had an indifferent start to the season losing 2-1 away to newly promoted Peterborough in their opening game of the season. They were scheduled to play Crawley Town at home in midweek in the Carling Cup first round but that game was postponed due to the London riots so in one sense they could be more refreshed than Burnley for this clash.
Crystal Palace Team News:
Crystal Palace will still be without the suspended Dean Moxey. The full-back was red-carded at the end of last season and still has two games to sit out.
Nathaniel Clyne (foot) and Steffen Iversen (hamstring) will also be unavailable.
Peter Ramage, Ryan McGivern and Andrew Davies therefore look set to continue in defence after making their debuts in the opening-day defeat at Peterborough
Australian midfielder Mile Jedinak is also unlikely to be involved since he is still not fully fit.
Defender Lee Hills is a long-term absentee with a knee injury.
Player to watch: Peter Ramage
Ramage arrived at Selhurst Park earlier this month after agreeing a one-month loan from QPR. The 27 year old defender made his debut for the Eagles in their opening game of the season away to Posh. With the Eagles short of defenders due to injuries, the Clarets will be hoping to break them down and put the experienced former Newcastle defender under some pressure.
Burnley Team News:
Brian Easton looks set to start at left-back following the transfer of Danny Fox and both Alex MacDonald and Keith Treacy will be available for selection following their return from International duty in midweek. Both missed the Carling Cup game on Tuesday night.
Martin Paterson will be out for at least 3 months following a recurrence of a thigh injury which saw him substituted at half-time in the opener against Watford last Saturday. The latest news is that he will be seeking advice and treatment for the persistent injury from experts based in Germany.
Player to watch: Brian Easton
All eyes will probably be on Easton, hoping he can now earn himself a regular place at left-back following the loss of Danny Fox. It will certainly be a good test for him on Saturday assuming he gets selected and he might even give Eddie Howe some food for thought as he contemplates bringing in a new defender to replace Fox.
Team & Tactics
I would think the team very much picks itself for this one with Eddie Howe likely to opt for a similar starting eleven to his opening two matches against Watford and Burton. Obviously he will be without Fox now, but Easton seems a natural replacement at left-back. The other main question could be which wingers to use with Treacy now available again. Wade Elliott could be a casualty after a couple of indifferent performances although he did improve significantly in extra time on Tuesday night against Burton after a particularly woeful performance in normal time especially in the first half. Elliott though is on the verge of his 250th league appearance for the Clarets. It would be tough leaving Wallace out however but surely Treacy will start after his impressive goal-scoring cameo against Watford?
I would think our sixteen could look something like this:
Grant. Trippier, Amougou, Mee, Easton, Elliott, Treacy, McCann, Bartley (or Marney), Treacy, Austin, Rodriguez
Subs: Jensen, Edgar, Duff, Bartley (or Marney), Wallace
Wiltshire referee, Brendan Malone gets this one!
Nine of the last 14 league meetings have been drawn and we have not won at Selhurst Park in a decade. A win though would do us a power of good but will there be any after-effect on morale from the Fox loss in midweek? Think this has 2-2 draw stamped all over it. Anything less could mean a torrid time for the Board and we must avoid a tonking at all cost!
Our next League game and a real test of our chances for promotion this season will come against Cardiff City at Turf Moor on Saturday 20th August