Brighton 1-1 Burnley
Goals: Neal Maupay (£6.0m) | Jeff Hendrick (£5.4m)
Assists: Solly March (£4.9m) | Matej Vydra (£5.4m)
Bonus Points: March x3, Maupay x2, Hendrick x1
Ashley Barnes (£6.7m) blanked for the second match in a row as Burnley were forced to strike late to avoid defeat at Brighton on Saturday.
The Clarets started the match brightly but tailed off after Aaron Lennon‘s (£4.9m) 37th-minute effort.
After losing 3-0 to Liverpool in Gameweek 4, the international break did not do much to reinvigorate Sean Dyche’s side, who spent large portions of their time at the Amex Stadium on the back foot.
Barnes managed just a single shot, taken from outside the penalty box and falling off target. However, there may be mitigating factors for his bad day at the office.
Brighton manager Graham Potter continues to prove himself a pragmatic tinkering tactician as he tweaked his side to negate Burnley’s strengths.
The former Swansea City boss went big at the back in an attempt to counter the Clarets’ long-ball capabilities, deploying Lewis Dunk (£4.6m), Shane Duffy (£5.0m) and Adam Webster (£4.4m) in the back-three and shifting six-foot-seven centre-back Dan Burn (£4.5m) out to left wing-back.
While Bernardo (£4.4m) missed out with a knock, Martin Montoya (£4.5m) was also absent with tonsilitis, which saw Solly March (£4.9m) to right wing-back, having spent most of the season on the opposite flank.
Even though Brighton’s defence has not looked to sure of itself this season, this was the first match in which they remained very tight for most of the afternoon, lasting until the 91st minute.
“Definitely not (asked if Brighton should move away from playing out from the back). Defensively we have only got one clean sheet and there have been times where we could have done better in avoiding goals, but there have been moments which have influenced the outcome. We don’t seem to be getting that bit of luck to consolidate positions at the moment. It’s hard to find the reasons for that some times. It’s hard to find why those patterns happen and sometimes you get the rub of the green and sometimes you don’t, so you have to just keep working hard until it changes.” – Mat Ryan
It was only after Dyche made a tactical change of his own that Brighton let their guard down. Chris Wood (£6.3m), who was quiet once again, was replaced by Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m) in the 66th-minute, while Matej Vydra (£5.4m) was added to the equation as a third centre-forward in the place of Jack Cork (£5.0m) in the 78th.
With Brighton set up to defend the skies, Vydra’s movement helped Burnley outmanoeuvre them on the ground, setting up fellow substitute Jeff Hendrick (£5.4m) place an effort beyond Mat Ryan (£4.6m) from outside the box.
That said, this situation is not one that the Clarets will have to face every week. With them hosting Norwich in Gameweek 6 and travelling to Aston Villa after that, there are certainly some fixtures that can perhaps return Barnes to his early-season goal-scoring form.
However, Dyche admitted that he might be tempted to make changes to his largely consistent team selection when he meets Norwich next weekend.
Referring to all three subs, Hendrick, Rodriguez and Vydra, he explained he was impressed with their impact on the game, which certainly should concern owners of Wood, perhaps Barnes less so.
“All three of them affected the game so I was pleased with that. I’ve told them there will be certain players (rotated), obviously defenders it doesn’t change as much, but you have to keep everyone involved. I think that’s the important thing here, we’ve always worked on a group mentality, so I want to keep everyone’s mind on it.” – Sean Dyche
“You can score in this league and all our strikers know that, it’s just about when it does come, you have to be ready to put it in the back of the net. I’m not worried about it. We’re playing good as a team, playing well as a strike partnership so I can’t be too down about it because I’m ready. Five years ago you’d get more worried about it but, for me, as long as the team’s creating chances, the goals will come. The stats are telling us the team’s creating a lot more chances than in previous seasons. It’s dropping to Barnesy at the moment and he’s finishing them fantastically so we can’t argue with that.” – Chris Wood
For most of the game, Brighton stretched Burnley’s back-line and will certainly feel unfortunate not to have taken all three points.
They achieved that with a front-three of Glenn Murray (£5.8m) and Pascal Groß (£6.5m) supporting Neal Maupay (£6.0m) who finally got his first home goal of the season.
The former Brentford man used his pace to cause Burnley problems while Murray and Groß spent much of the afternoon providing the ammunition for him.
Also crucial to Brighton’s attacking play was the effort of the versatile March. Capable of playing in a number of positions, including number 10 and winger, he was used as a right wing-back and it was his pass that set up Maupay for his goal.
While it is still frustrating to see him playing out-of-position as an FPL midfielder operating at wing-back, if he can get more involved in the goals for his team, March could still offer some value at £4.9m. Manager Potter believes there is more to come from him.
“When he has too much time to think, I’m not sure it’s the best for him. We spoke about that. I think he’s got talent, he’s a good player, he has got quality. He just needs to play with a bit of freedom. If you look at the last two or three games, he has played left wing-back, he has played right wing-back and he has played pretty much as an extra midfield player, as a ten. That tells you we think he is a football player and that he can play in a lot of positions. The key thing for him is he needs to contribute in the final third, the attacking third, more than he has because he has got the quality to do that. Obviously, it was nice for him to do that (on Saturday) and give support for Neal. But I think there is more to come from Solly.” – Graham Potter
Meanwhile, Yves Bissouma (£5.0m) edges closer to his first minutes of the season following a shoulder injury. He featured on the bench for the first time against Burnley but remained there as an unused substitute.
Once he is back to full speed in Potter’s mind, the Mali international should present an additional option to rotate in and out of the team for either Dale Stephens (£4.5m) or Davy Pröpper (£5.0m) when he wants to make tactical changes.
“I think it was more just to help him reintegrate with the group. It was good for him to be out there but, at the same time, with the way the game was going, I didn’t feel it was the right time to put him on.” – Graham Potter
Aaron Mooy (£4.9m) also awaits further game-time since signing for Brighton on loan from Huddersfield Town. There had been suggestions that he would come straight into the side and take over set pieces, but as yet, that has not occurred.
The Australian featured as an 80th-minute substitute in the place of Murray against Burnley and has just 15 minutes to his name in 2019/20. Compatriot Ryan believes he will feature more often at some stage, but it is not clear when that will be.
“(Mooy) is a quality player. He’s demonstrated that in the time he has had in the Premier League, for Australia and throughout his career. We are blessed to have quite some depth in the squad and he is working hard each day to try to make the most of the minutes he is getting. I am sure over the course of the season he is going to be right up there with the appearances. I am sure he will start some games here and there too but that is obviously up to the gaffer.” – Mat Ryan
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-2-1): Ryan; Webster, Dunk, Duffy; Burn, Pröpper, D Stephens, March (Bong 90′); Murray (Mooy 80′), Groß; Maupay (Connolly 84′).
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil, Cork (Vydra 78′), Westwood, Lennon (Hendrick 59′); Wood (Rodriguez 66′), A Barnes.
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