Burnley 2-0 Norwich
Goals: Chris Wood x2 (£6.2m)
Assists: Ashley Westwood (£5.4m), Dwight McNeil (£6.0m)
Bonus Points: Wood x3, Westwood x2, Pieters x1
Norwich City’s attacking assets registered a second consecutive blank away from home as they were defeated 2-0 at Burnley on Saturday.
Despite Teemu Pukki (£7.1m) and Todd Cantwell (£5.0m) both delivering offensive returns in the Gameweek 5 win over Manchester City, neither one has scored more than two points on the road since the opening night of the campaign.
Now that we are six matches into the season, we have slightly more data to play with which, at this stage, suggests that Norwich could be a side only worth relying on for home matches.
At Carrow Road in 2019/20, Pukki has scored five goals and registered two assists for an average of 13.3 points per game.
However, on his travels, the Finland international has scored just once and averaged 3.7 points per game.
Cantwell has suffered the same disparity depending on the venue. All four of the midfielder’s attacking returns (two goals, two assists) have come at home.
Furthermore, Cantwell’s points per game at Carrow Road so far this season is 7.7, but just 2.0 away from it.
The form of both of those players will likely be a concern given that Saturday’s trip to Burnley was the first of three away matches between Gameweeks 6 and 9. In the next three matches, the Canaries have to go to Crystal Palace and Bournemouth.
However, we must say that Norwich have been rather unfortunate on their travels so far this season, so maybe it’s not the time to panic about them just yet.
In both of their last two away matches they have been forced into substitutions due to injury in the early stages of matches.
As a team whose attacking threat stems from the ability to play the ball out of the back with composure, even injuries to defensive players can have a knock-on effect on the rest of the team.
Against West Ham in Gameweek 4, Norwich lost first-choice centre-back Christoph Zimmermann (£4.5m) after 35 minutes and, due to other injuries in the same position, Daniel Farke was forced to introduce holding midfielder Ibrahim Amadou (£4.5m) next to Ben Godfrey (£4.5m).
After struggling on the ball in his EFL Cup debut a few days previously, Amadou was a little exposed at the London Stadium.
Despite enjoying an impressive outing against Manchester City in Gameweek 5, Amadou was poor again at Turf Moor, giving the ball away too often and failing to cut out the supply lines to Burnley’s centre-forwards.
However, the effect on Norwich’s capabilities was compounded by Alex Tettey (£4.5m) having to come off with a muscle injury in the 13th minute.
Farke admitted after the game that replacement Moritz Leitner (£4.5m) probably wasn’t quite ready to enter the fray, doing so only because the options were limited.
It seems likely that Norwich being reduced to second-string options all over the defensive departments cannot be too helpful for them away from home.
Therefore, it is worth tracking Farke’s next press conference ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace, who have conceded just once in three home matches this season.
“(Tettey) felt a strain in his groin. I think it’s a muscle injury. It was unlucky that he had to come off because he was more or less our last holding midfielder who was available. Moritz Leitner wasn’t prepared for playing such a long time, but he had to come on the pitch and put in a decent performance. In general, it’s a tricky situation but it is what it is, so it doesn’t make any sense to cry or complain.” – Daniel Farke
Not only is Norwich’s attacking play reliant on defenders playing out from the back, but their goalkeeper also plays a part in that.
As we found during our research into the Canaries over the summer, Tim Krul (£4.5m) was top of the Championship for successful short-range passes last season.
However, in Gameweek 6, the former Newcastle shot-stopper was restricted in his contribution to Norwich’s movement of the ball because of a back problem.
He was able to play the whole game with the help of some strong pain-killers but Farke explained after the match that Krul had struggled in the warm-up and could have come off at half-time.
Fantasy managers might want to keep an eye on his fitness this week as he does play an important role for this Norwich side.
“It didn’t help that we had injury problems before the match. Tim Krul had to stop his warm-up and came in before kick-off with back problems. We tried to get him through this game anyhow, but it wasn’t easy. He’s one of our last leaders on the pitch, so with his injury, he was a bit more concentrated on himself instead of leading the group. We wanted to substitute Tim at half-time because he felt the pain even more. Thankfully, he did finish 90 minutes in the end because it was important to have him on the pitch. We have to wait for the outcome of that. I hope it’s not too bad because we have too many defensive players injured.” – Daniel Farke
All of those problems aside, Pukki still had chances to score against Burnley, denied by a good Nick Pope (£4.6m) save when he went clean through at 0-0.
The striker had other opportunities in the second half but was stifled by a Burnley side that has typically limited attackers in the penalty box at Turf Moor under Sean Dyche.
Cantwell offered a little less, restricted to a difficult headed chance early on, but it seems unlikely that Farke will make changes to his offensive players for Gameweek 7.
“We have to grow a bit, otherwise all the other clubs would be playing with a group of young players. We have to stick with them. We can’t punish them, just to make it clear that a reaction to come back into the game at 2-0 down is important. There were some positives to take, but we do have to speak about the first 15 minutes, that’s for sure.” – Daniel Farke
Meanwhile, there was some disappointment for those still invested in Ashley Barnes (£6.7m) as he registered a third blank in a row.
Ahead of a trip to Aston Villa, this week will prove to be a test of patience for his owners as he was probably unfortunate not to score against Norwich, after looking fairly anonymous in the previous two outings.
Barnes’ blank was probably all the more frustrating given that Burnley, as expected, capitalised on Norwich’s shortcomings in defence, but it was Chris Wood (£6.2m) who benefitted the most.
As predicted by Paul in his Scout Squad submission, the New Zealand international finally got his first goal of the season with a headed effort from a set-piece, a situation Norwich have struggled to defend against so far this season.
“For the set-piece, I was pleased with my staff because there are certain things they work on and they deserve a lot of credit for that.” – Sean Dyche
“It’s been a little time coming but it’s nice to be off the mark and rolling. I backed myself that they would come. I knew that it was hopefully only a matter of time. You want to get off the mark but as a striker, you know the next chance is around the corner so you can’t get too disheartened or too down. You’ve just to make sure you’re ready for when they do fall so you can stick them in the back of the net. It was nice to get two goals up for the team and we never looked like conceding after that.” – Chris Wood
It was Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) who was arguably Burnley’s best player in Gameweek 6, getting his third assist of the season, and his first at Turf Moor.
He gave Sam Byram (£4.4m) a torrid afternoon and put the ball in for Wood’s second of the game. The 19-year-old has been making a real name for himself over the last year at Burnley and with appealing fixtures on the horizon could challenge for a place as a fourth midfielder in FPL squads.
“For the second (goal), we know what a good young player Dwight is. He keeps developing all the time and he’s got great feet and pulls a lovely ball back. Woody is on the spot and it’s a great bit of movement and a good finish because they are not easy.” – Sean Dyche
After a long wait, Burnley finally kept their first clean sheet since the opening weekend of the campaign. A lot could be read into a four-match run without a shut-out but the Clarets have still gone unbreached in two of their last three at Turf Moor.
Furthermore, they conceded virtually the last kick at Wolves in Gameweek 3 after their hosts had created very little, while Dyche’s side have also had to face Arsenal and Liverpool.
Either way, Burnley’s clean sheet potential remains one of the best in the Premier League right now, of particular interest for those hoping to find decent budget defenders in what remains a fairly poor pool.
Erik Pieters (£4.7m) had been written off as a flash in the pan after 14-point haul against Southampton in Gameweek 1, but may still have something to offer compared to his defensive colleagues.
Firstly, it is clear that he has nailed down the starting spot at left-back, having played 90 minutes in every match so far, Charlie Taylor (£4.3m) yet to register a single appearance.
Secondly, it appears that Pieters has been offering some threat going forward, the local press describing him as “unplayable in attack” against Norwich. He made some good overlaps with McNeil and could be one to watch for further offensive returns this season.
Finally, Burnley’s clean sheet was kept intact by that aforementioned Pope save in the first half. After the match, Dyche revealed that the goalkeeper had suffered from an illness in recent days, making his performance all the more impressive.
“It would have been a travesty (to concede), although Nick (Pope) made one good save to be fair. But over a 90-minute game, you may have to make a save and I was pleased because he was ill yesterday and came through that with good focus.” – Sean Dyche
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil (Lennon 79′), Cork, Westwood, Hendrick (Brady 90+2′); Wood, A Barnes (Rodriguez 79′).
Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Lewis, Godfrey, Amadou, Byram; McLean, Tettey (Leitner 13′); Cantwell (Roberts 90′), Stiepermann (Drmic 75′), Buendía; Pukki.
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 6:
- Southampton 1-3 Bournemouth
- Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Burnley 2-0 Norwich City
- Everton 0-2 Sheffield United
- Manchester City 8-0 Watford
- Newcastle United 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Crystal Palace 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- West Ham United 2-0 Manchester United
- Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa
- Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool