West Bromwich Albion v Burnley; The Hawthorns, Friday 2nd September 2022, 8pm
For the first time in more than 13 years, Albion face a Burnley side not managed by Sean Dyche on Friday evening, and it is fair to say that Vincent Kompany’s side is somewhat different in style to the one that Dyche managed to keep in the Premier League for six successive seasons.
Owen Coyle was the previous Clarets boss to take on a Baggies side, doing so successfully in the FA Cup fourth round in 2009 before the sides swapped divisions at the end of that season and the next. All the meetings since then have been in the Premier League with the gravel-voiced one in charge of Burnley.
So much has changed at Turf Moor since the Dutchman’s appointment with the Clarets’ fans now taking to shouts of “olé” at their own passing success while booing opponents’ sh*thousery that was a cornerstone of Dyche’s reign. They have much to cheer at the moment with back-to-back wins lifting them to third in the table in mid-week having shown Albion how to beat Wigan with a 5-1 win at the DW Stadium last weekend.
The build up to this game has been overshadowed by the closure of the transfer window on Thursday and, at the time of writing, what exactly happened at the club in the final few hours remains something of a mystery. As far as we know, Albion managed to bring in a young promising attacking player in Brandon Thomas-Asante from Salford City and defensive cover following the injury to Semi Ajayi in the shape of former Liverpool and Crystal Palace defender, Martin Kelly, but loan deals for Josh Onomah from Fulham and Steven Alzate from Brighton, which appeared to be all but done, have apparently not materialised, albeit there has been no official comment from the club as yet. As it stands, it looks like an almighty cock up and the club have some explaining to do to lots of angry fans not to mention the players and clubs involved.
With Callum Robinson also leaving the club on a permanent transfer to Cardiff City, little has been done to address the club’s painfully thin squad. New signing, Thomas-Asante will offer cover across the front three, but it would seem unfair to expect him to be challenging Grant for the number nine spot in the near future. Kelly is no more than a reaction to the Ajayi injury, albeit we would have been short in that position anyway, and without either of the suggested loan signings coming in, the centre of midfield is one injury short of a crisis.
Looking ahead to tonight’s match, I’m not expecting major changes but then Bruce doesn’t have a lot of scope for that anyway. I’d be surprised if Kelly starts but I imagine he will be on the bench with O’Shea and Bartley starting. Furlong was dropped on Tuesday with O’Shea switching to right back, but he came on when Ajayi was injured so I’m expecting him to be restored to that position, although I would like to see TGH given an opportunity there. The rest of the team pretty much picks itself assuming there are no injuries and hopefully we will see Thomas-Asante on the bench rather than Zohore.
The atmosphere in the stadium is likely to be a little strained given what has happened, or more accurately not happened, in recent days and it will almost certainly turn unpleasant should Albion lose. Even a victory will not make up for the failure to assemble a squad that might have a chance of challenging at the top end of the table, put perhaps a hat trick for Thomas-Asante off the bench might provide a little succour!
It’s difficult to approach this match with much in the way of confidence given the past week, but we can but hope for a positive result.
As Founder Members of the Football League, Albion and Burnley’s history goes back more than 130 years with the club’s first meeting taking place at the Baggies’ Stoney Lane ground in the first season of league football in September 1888. The hosts came from behind to win 4-3 to kick off a record of six straight wins in home games against the Clarets in which they scored a remarkable 37 goals culminating in a 7-1 victory in January 1893 when Roddie McLeod scored a hat trick and the legendary Billy Bassett bagged a brace.
That is not, however, the Baggies’ record win over Burnley – that came at the Hawthorns in November 1967 when Bobby Hope (2), Clive Clark (2), Tony Brown, John Kaye, Eddi Colquhoun and Jeff Astle all found the net in an 8-1 victory.
Goals were not so easy to come by in the last two meetings between the sides in 2020/21 when both games finished goalless but the Baggies did record successive 4-0 wins in home games against the Clarets in 2014 and 2016, the first of which prompted visiting manager, Sean Dyche, to comment that his side had been “drunk on possession” having had more of the ball than the opposition for the first time that season.
For the first ninety or so years of the Football League, the teams were rarely in different divisions bar a period in the 1930s when Burnley dropped to the second tier. But in 1976, Burnley dropped out of the top flight and did not return until 2009 and, they didn’t meet Albion between 1971 and 1992 when they were promoted from Division Four to the newly named Division Two following the formation of the Premier League.
The Clarets won the first meeting in that season at Turf Moor, but Albion won the return fixture at the Hawthorns in March 1993 2-0 thanks to goals from Simon Garner and Bob Taylor and remained unbeaten against Burnley for the next 23 years, albeit there were only 10 meetings in that run.
At the Hawthorns, the Baggies were unbeaten against Burnley from 1969 to 2018 when Alan Pardew’s team suffered their ninth successive defeat, going down 2-1 thanks to goals from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood – Rondón scored a consolation for the hosts. In Albion’s last sixteen home games with Burnley, starting with the 8-1 win in 1967, their record is W 11, D 3, L2.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
20 Feb 2021 – Premier League
West Brom 0
Last meeting at the Hawthorns
19 Oct 2020 – Premier League
West Brom 0
19 Aug 2017 – Premier League
West Brom 1 (Robson-Kanu)
Last win at the Hawthorns
21 Nov 2016 – Premier League
West Brom 4 (Phillips, Morrison, Fletcher, Rondón)
Albion’s Record against Burnley