Tactically speaking - Burnley

Tactically speaking - Burnley

West Ham United

Ahead of West Ham's trip to Burnley, football stats website WhoScored.com has previewed the fixture.

The Hammers have made a flying start to the season and go into the weekend seventh in the Barclays Premier League, just one point off Manchester United in fourth. After a 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers prior to the international break, Sam Allardyce's team have the opportunity to put another three points on the board against Burnley.

The Clarets appear to be struggling to adjust to the rigours of the Premier League and have just four points to their name after the opening seven games this term, having shipped six goals in their last two matches. West Ham have lost just one of their last five trips to Turf Moor and will be hopeful of extending that run this weekend.

One player who should be in the mood for the encounter is summer signing Diafra Sakho. The striker has been in impressive form since joining from Metz in August, earning a WhoScored.com rating of 7.27, the best of all West Ham players.

Sakho is West Ham's top goalscorer (four) in the league this season, with those goals coming in his last four appearances. Against a team that has shipped ten goals so far, the Senegalese is presented with the ideal opportunity to improve his tally and help West Ham to victory.

Sakho has scored four goals from a team-high 2.6 shots per game (13 overall), including 1.8 per game from inside the penalty area.

The east London side have developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'creating scoring chances'. If creator-in-chief Stewart Downing is putting chances on a plate, Sakho should be the one to benefit, especially with his confidence sky high.

Allardyce appears set on deploying a 4-3-1-2 formation this term, with Sakho partnering fellow summer arrival Enner Valencia in attack. The duo have made notable starts to the campaign, harassing opposition defences in order to forge goalscoring opportunities.

With Sakho and Valencia pressing the Burnley backline from the off, the chances of the 24-year-old making it five goals from his last five league appearances increases. With the form he and West Ham are in, the Hammers are more than capable of picking up their second away win of the season at Turf Moor this weekend.

*WhoScored.com is a website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Follow @WhoScored on Twitter.


The possible starting XI


Trippier  Duff  Shackell  Mee

Kightly  Arfield  Jones  Boyd

Jutkiewicz  Ings

The formation

Sean Dyche has favoured two banks of four this season, using a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 formation in six of Burnley's opening seven Barclays Premier League matches.

At home, where the Clarets have scored just once in their three league games so far, the 'Ginger Mourinho' used a disciplined 4-4-1-1 against Chelsea and Sunderland, while opting for a more attacking 4-4-2 shape against Manchester United.

After losing 3-1 to Chelsea on the opening weekend, Burnley failed to score as they drew 0-0 against both the Red Devils and the Black Cats - two of three straight goalless draws achieved by the newly-promoted side in late August/early September.

Burnley stick rigidly to their shape, keeping things tight and compact rather than chasing the ball and pressing the opposition high up the pitch.

As results suggest, this tactic has been particularly successful at Turf Moor, where Burnley make the pitch small and close down space in defensive areas. It is based on organisation, hard work and discipline, which Dyche has clearly instilled in his squad.

When in possession, Burnley look to hit centre forward Lukas Jutkiewicz early, with the deep-lying second forward and midfield supporting. He could be joined by the returning Danny Ings, who is available again after a month out with a hamstring strain.

The playing style

As the above suggests, Burnley's style of play is based as much - if not more - on stopping the opposition as it is on creating chances in the attacking third.

Going forward, former Coventry City and Dundee United forward Jutkiewicz is vital to Burnley's style of play.

Strong, mobile and blessed with decent technique, the 25-year-old is adept at playing with his back to goal or running into the channels. Burnley often look to hit the centre forward with long balls for him to hold up and bring others into play, or to run the channels.

Jutkiewicz also possesses the strength and ability to hold the ball to feet, spin his defender and get a shot away, meaning West Ham's defenders will have to be careful not to get too tight to him.

With Ings expected to return, Burnley's goal threat will certainly increase.

Elsewhere, Burnley's wingers are lively and can create opportunities from open play or by winning free-kicks around the opposition penalty area. Left winger George Boyd is a tricky customer who can beat his man or play intricate give-and-goes in dangerous areas.

On the right, Michael Kightly is more direct and will look to beat his man on either side with his pace and power. He is also a threat to pop up late inside the penalty area and finish, as he did in Burnley's recent 2-2 draw at Leicester City.

The players

It may come as little surprise that Burnley have a relatively small squad at their disposal - not aided by the absence of last season's striking sensations Ings and Sam Vokes.

Ings has been out since mid-September with a hamstring problem, while Wales international Vokes has not featured this season after suffering a serious knee injury in March.

In their absence, a Burnley side which scored 72 league goals in the Championship last term have struggled to find the net - scoring just three goals in their opening seven Barclays Premier League matches.

With Ings and Vokes missing, Burnley have become a more defensive outfit.

In goal, Tom Heaton is a solid all-round goalkeeper with good hands and decent distribution.

In front of him, Burnley's organised back four comprises full-backs Kieran Trippier and Ben Mee and centre-backs Michael Duff and Jason Shackell - all of whom were part of the side promoted last season.

Trippier is an outstanding player for the Clarets - quick going forward and in defence, good on the ball and tenacious in the tackle. However, he has been struggling with an ankle problem that could threaten his involvement.

In the middle, Duff and Shackell are both dominant figures. Shackell, especially, is a monster in the air in both penalty areas. However, neither centre-back is blessed with great pace.

In midfield, Scott Arfield has come to the fore since joining Burnley from Huddersfield Town in summer 2013. The 25-year-old is a two-footed all-rounder who can both create and score goals, while also working tirelessly for the team in defensive areas. The Scot can also play on the right wing.

Alongside him, either David Jones (thigh) or Dean Marney (hamstring) will hope to feature after injury. Jones is the more attacking of the two, with the combative Marney content to sit deeper and contain the opposition. Like their defensive squad-mates, both were vital to Burnley's promotion-winning campaign last term.

While Jutkiewicz is almost certain to start up front, the second-striker role is less certain, but Ings could fill it after enjoying a positive week in training.

The options are Marvin Sordell or Ashley Barnes. Both are mobile forwards who will run the channels and provide support to the main striker.