Premier Analysis: Baggies get their bounce on – but Burnley look doomed
West Brom 4-0 Burnley
It's going to be a very long season for Sean Dyche's Clarets. No news flash, of course, but the evidence is mounting to suggest their second stint in the Premier League will again be a brief one. This was their fifth consecutive game without a goal – six in all competitions if you count a 1-0 League Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday – and undoubtedly their worst display of the season against a rampant West Brom, who netted twice from corners before half-time.
Full marks go to Alan Irvine's side for their second win in succession, but really this was a very straightforward one over a dismal Burnley side who gave away possession willingly and created next to nothing until the game was well beyond them.
From the first whistle it was clear that Dyche's men were to target the hosts with direct football; in the first half hour they pumped 21% of their balls long, to zero effect.
Possession was handed straight back to West Brom more or less as soon as they had it, while poor Lukas Jutkiewicz cut a frustrated figure up front on his own after receiving only 7 first-half passes.
Unsurprisingly, their ineffectual efforts yielded nothing of note: 3 shots in the first half, all attempted from outside the box and 2 of which were blocked before they made it into the area. West Brom, patient and probing in their attacking play around the box, capitalised. By the break they'd bagged twice from corners, first through former Rochdale centre-back Craig Dawson and then via Saido Berahino.
The two sides' approaches were best reflected by their respective right-backs, Andre Wisdom and Kieran Trippier. While the former prodded with simplicity, the more attack-minded Trippier barely left his own half and was found wanting with his ambitious passing; this from a player who registered 12 assists last season.
In fairness to Burnley, their injury concerns are hugely unhelpful. Their lack of confidence in midfield can perhaps be attributed to the absences of David Jones and Dean Marney, who both performed so well in the Championship last season.
Dyche hauled off Jutkiewicz and Ross Wallace for Ashley Barnes and Ross Wallace at half-time, but within nine minutes of the restart they were three down. After a neat West Brom move, Graham Dorrans – who finished the game with a goal and 2 assists – played in Berahino for the young forward's second.
Dorrans shone alongside Stephane Sessegnon, and both players typified the Baggies' impressive display. Between them they misplaced only 3 of 120 attempted passes, both completed 27 of their 28 efforts in the attacking third and created 6 chances; Dorrans with his 2 assists, Sessegnon with 4 in the first half.
Unsurprisingly, the game largely petered out after West Brom's third goal as Burnley were allowed more possession, and enjoyed 6 of their 10 efforts from there on. But again the visitors were undone in the last minute when Dorrans capped a flowing move to seal a hugely impressive – and important – West Brom win.
Liverpool and Manchester United follow this one for Irvine's team, who aren't giving in to pre-season expectations of struggle. Burnley, however, might be getting familiar with the bottom soon. "We looked unsure of ourselves from the off," summed up boss Dyche glumly. They can't afford much more of that.
- West Brom have scored 3 Premier League goals from corners this season, more than any other team.
- 7 of Saido Berahino’s 9 Premier League goals have come at home.
- Berahino is the fifth player to hit 2 braces in a Premier League season for West Brom.
- Graham Dorrans provided 2 assists in this game – a West Brom player achieved this feat once in 2012/13 (Chris Brunt) and once in 2013/14 (James Morrison).
- Dorrans achieved the second instance of a West Brom player scoring and providing 2 assists in a Premier League game – Peter Odemwingie achieved this feat against Sunderland in April 2011.
- West Brom won consecutive Premier League games for the first time since last September, when they beat Sunderland and Manchester United.
- The Baggies kept back-to-back Premier League clean sheets for the first time since April 2012 (3 in a row).
- The previous 4 times that West Brom scored 3 goals or more in a Premier League game, they failed to win (D3 L1).