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Bird's Eye View - Palace

3 October 2012

Clarets Player commentator Phil Bird returns with his look at life at Turf Moor and beyond

Statistics Tell the Story
There are puzzled looks on Burnley fans’ faces right now.
Two home games in four days should have brought us six points but slackness in defence as cost Burnley dear. Another four points and we would have been eighth just a point off both the play offs and Saturday’s opponents Crystal Palace. I’ve said it before, going forward we are as good as anybody in this league. However, our games have become too open we are giving the opposition too many opportunities and conceding too many goals. 
Statistics tell the story. We have scored and conceded 18 league goals in nine Championship games to date.


Charlie and Bertie!

Only Blackpool have scored more (19) and only Sheffield Wednesday have conceded more (20). 
No side has lost more points from winning positions than us in the Championship (seven) yet no side has won more points than us from losing positions (ten). It’s exciting stuff for the neutrals, maybe Sky will take more interest in our games later in the season but it’s so frustrating for Clarets followers.

Just now there are some questions to be answered. A fully fit Jason Shackell is a key player, we know that.
Maybe with injuries to Shackell, and now to Michael Duff, it’s time to recruit a loan reinforcement in defence?


Michael Duff: Injured

Maybe we are not that far away and one player could be the missing link.
This league is wide open. Can we continue to play with two wingers? 4-4-2 makes for a fantastic open game but at times were are getting outnumbered in central midfield.

However, on the plus side we are three games unbeaten in the most open division in Europe and in Charlie Austin, we have got the top scorer in the country.
Selhurst Park is the next destination and we will want to maintain that unbeaten run going into the next international break. Palace boss Dougie Freedman has done a great job. They have one of the stars of the Championship in Wilfred Zaha and they have just won at Bolton and Wolves, two of last season’s relegated sides. This will be a big test.

Austin: Goal Machine
It’s a shame that Charlie couldn’t enjoy Tuesday night’s hat-trick a little more. He’s more than just a goalscorer though and it will hurt that we haven’t won the game. 
I’m amazed we haven’t got more decisions in recent weeks. There were two cast iron handballs in Millwall’s box on Saturday.


No Penalty!

I thought Austin was pole axed in the area by the keeper at Swindon last week and it looked like Junior Stanislas was caught in the box early on by Jay Bothroyd on Tuesday. How many goals would Austin have if we had got those decisions? 
His statistics now read: 59 league goals in 110 league appearances. Bearing in mind he didn’t make his league debut until the 24th of October 2009 (for Swindon Town at Carrow Road) that is a remarkable haul. 
His headed goal against Millwall was sensational. It’s rare to see a header as a goal of the season contender. Is that the best headed goal you’ve seen at Turf Moor? That’s one of six headed goals already for the former Swindon striker this season. 

Someone asked me how his goalscoring feats compared to Jordan Rhodes at Blackburn Rovers?
As of the 2nd October, Rhodes has 86 league goals in 164 league games (52.4% strike rate)
Austin just edges it with 59 in 110 (53.6%).
It’s significant that only six of Rhodes goals have come at this level compared to Austin’s 27.


Another hat-trick!

Goal of the Season Awards
It really hurt but Michail Antonio’s equaliser was one of the best goals to be seen at Turf Moor for some while. Whilst we haven’t defended well enough there is a trend developing here. Don’t be surprised to see Burnley appearing in one or two end of year awards ceremonies. Antonio (Sheffield Wednesday), Luke Williams or Adam Reach (Middlesbrough) and Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton) could all pick up goal of the season trophies.

Winter in Cold Water!
In December 2010, when Alan Pardew was recruited as Newcastle United’s manager, the Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter was sceptical.
Somewhat hastily he promised to swim the Tyne if the Magpies employed him long term. So when Pardew was rewarded with a lucrative eight year deal last week, red faced Winter decided to honour his bet.
He tweeted “I honour my bets. I promised to swim the Tyne if Ashley showed long-term loyalty to Pardew. He has, fair play, so time for dip in Tyne…..”

Ahead of Sunday’s game versus Manchester United, the Londoner will take to the river raising funds for cancer charity the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in the process.
Shoppers at Newcastle Quayside on Sunday morning will be in for a real treat! 


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