Creating chances not the problem for Burnley, but putting them away is "the hardest thing to coach"

It is, Sean Dyche believes, "the hardest thing to coach."

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 7:30 am
Chris Wood can't hit the target at Manchester City

But Burnley have to find a way to do it - put the ball in the back of the net, that is.

The Clarets have only scored five goals in eight Premier League games, as many as Arsenal in 13th, but only bottom side Norwich City, with two, have scored fewer.

Dyche's forwards have, in the league, just one goal between them so far this term, and they simply have to find a way to get back on the scoresheet at a more regular rate.

Chris Wood is the scorer of that goal, and the chief provider of goals at the club since his arrival in the summer of 2017, netting double figures in each of his first four seasons with Burnley.

However, the New Zealand front man is somewhat struggling for form, while it remains to be seen what is the most productive partnership at the club.

History has suggested Ashley Barnes is the ideal foil, with the duo netting 72 goals - 36 each - in 116 games, with 13 assists.

When paired with Matej Vydra, a link up which looked promising over the last quarter of last season in particular, the duo have 23 goals between them in 42 starts together, with 10 assists.

And when Wood lines up alongside Jay Rodriguez, they have 32 goals in 58 games - including one each in a 2-0 win at Old Trafford in January 2020, with five assists.

With no pairing making themselves the main men as of yet, Wood started Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Manchester City with Maxwel Cornet off the front, in a role Josh Brownhill has also filled.

One way or another, however, Dyche has to find the recipe for goals.

As he said at the Etihad: "It's frustrating, it's the hardest thing to coach, the moment of truth - as a manager we want to get them in the right areas and produce chances, but the moment of truth is someone putting it in the back of the net, and it's the hardest thing to coach.

"But we have players here, I believe, that will do that.

"We had a tough start last season, not just in the league table, but with chances as well, and we weren't creating as much, but we started creating and taking chances, and the whole thing took off again.

"Now, it's not waiting for that to happen, we have to make it happen, and there were clear signs of that, to come to a place like this, we are trying to make it happen."

And while it may be instinctive at times, providing a finish, in an era where every club is looking for each percentage gain, some even employing throw in coaches, would a striking coach be a worthwhile addition to the staff at Gawthorpe?

Burnley are creating chances - if there was a Premier League table based purely on big chances created, the Clarets would lie SIXTH.

Issue number 352 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks teams from 41 leagues worldwide, according to the ratio between big chances created and conceded, as per data from their partners InStat, with a big chance defined as a clear-cut opportunity to score a goal.

And in that respect, only Liverpool (10.1), Manchester United (8.6), Manchester City (8.4), Chelsea and West Ham (both 7.4) have created more per game than Burnley's 6.3.

Bottom in terms of chance creation? Bottom side Norwich and Saturday's opponents Southampton with 3 per game.

However, only Leeds United (7.9) and Leicester City (7.7) have conceded more big chances than the Clarets' 7.4 per game, which perhaps explains why Burnley have had only one clean sheet so far this term.

Combine the two statistics, the ratio between big chances created and conceded, and Burnley sit 12th in the Premier League, with Manchester City top, the best of the five major European leagues with a ratio of 3.3.

Bayern Munich (3.0) and Paris St-Germain (2.4) complete the podium for the big-5, while Everton are fourth (2.3).

At the bottom of the rankings are Granada, Greuther Fürth, Norwich City and Southampton.