Clarets boss Sean Dyche says there is more mileage in his side’s new-look system as he ponders the best way to frustrate Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday.
Dyche utilised three centre backs for the first time in his reign against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday, and was moments away from coming away with a well-deserved point and a clean sheet.
He is excited at the possibilities of the new framework, and it could get it’s second outing against the Gunners.
Dyche said: “Obviously, away from home against someone like Tottenham, you common-sensically would tend to go more defensive at first with your wing backs, and then see how the game opens up.
“That’s not just us, I watch Champions League and you see big Champions League clubs do that away from home, particularly against recognised sides.
“So I think there was a bit of common sense in the defensive format of it, and it’s how you find the balance to be a real strong attacking threat.
“I think that’s something we’ll play around with, but it’s good they delivered it, because it gives you another base to work from if and when you feel it’s appropriate.
“I think the three has morphed into a 3-4-3 in the modern thinking, but it used to be more 3-5-2. I historically like two centre forwards, because I think it’s a good attacking prong, obviously.
“So it’s certainly something we’ve thought about and has some life in it.”
Dyche played in a three with Chesterfield earlier in his playing career, and Southampton had success with a 3-4-3 against Arsenal, claiming a 3-2 win against the Gunners on Sunday: “I played in it myself and I know how the system works, I think the timing, the use of the right players at the right time, and loads of different things go into the thinking.
“We had just got a result in more of a 4-4-2, but I’ve said all along, the idea of being flexible is when players can fit the flexible thinking.
“It has to suit the players first, and when I looked at the group we’re moulding, and they way they were operating, I thought it was a good time to try it, but we needed the work before.
“So they had three days in the build up to make sure they had a chance of delivering it, and overall, they delivered it quite well.
“There were a lot of positives, inevitably you leave disappointed, but more because the performance level merited a point, it’s hard to say a win, because you’ve got to create as well, and we had limited chances to create, but we went with a different framework to the side and I think it worked well tactically.
“We knew Spurs are a good side and can play fast, passing football, and they ended up whacking it down the pitch, which is a good sign in the sense our shape was such they couldn’t break it down.
“I think the transfer with playing a five, particularly, is how you morph that into your three and your wing backs get higher, the midfield gets higher, and you become more on the front foot attacking-wise.
“That’s the balance.
“But considering we man aged to get three days working on it – we couldn’t do any work the week before because we had three games in a week – so the players had three main sessions, and I thought they did well and delivered it well.”
Saints scored their three goals via headers, two from Danny Ings and one from Charlie Austin to win it, but Dyche doesn’t necessarily feel that is a chink in the Arsenal armour: “I don’t think it’s quite that simple, there were a couple of great crosses for starters - they don’t land all the time, but there were a couple of excellent crosses, particularly one for Ingsy.
“They had to absorb a lot of pressure and held up enough to nick a winner.
“I’ve said it all the time, it’s not just us, I give a view of probably teams outside the top six, but even then, you could argue Man U go to Liverpool , and the stats were something like 36-6.
“We know some of the stats are a bit loose because some shots were blocked a yard away from the shot, so they can be a bit misleading, but still, 36-6, and that’s Man U against Liverpool.
“Not everyone can go and just steamroller teams, even that level of the market.
“The flexibility helps, the chances are you’ll have to absorb at times against the top sides.”
Burnley lost 5-0 at the Emirates in Arsene Wenger’s last home game in charge of the Gunners, but are Arsenal a different beast under Unai Emery?: “It will be interesting to see, new manager, new thinking, just their first loss in a long time on Sunday, so that may give them the first chance to just question things, but they’re still a top side.
“They were a top side under Arsene Wenger, with some great players, and they still are.
“The format has changed slightly, but the ethos is still there behind their tactical format, they look to pass first, play with energy, be aggressive with their passing, as in through the lines, and play forward, so they’re still a very good side.”