This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
You know those forwards you hate playing against on those wet, gray Saturday mornings? In one of those fields that claims the ankles of everyone who adorns its lawn?
Well, if they asked you to name two Premier League equivalents, you’d probably come up with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood.
The two forwards seized Monday night as the perfect opportunity to remind the rest of the league how dangerous and fun they can be, both scoring in a 2-1 win over the Wolves.
Barnes was on the Burnley roster for the first time in 394 days, having suffered a fall into form and fitness problems. It was clear what the goal meant to him when he walked away after giving his team the advantage against the game.
Wood had an uneventful first half, but he reminded us all why he is one of Burnley’s best players. The striker, signed from Leeds in 2017, doubled his team’s lead by hitting home from James Tarkowski’s nod with plenty of bodies around him in the box.
Barnes and Wood have now scored 32% of Burnley’s Premier League goals, showing just how important the duo is to this modern Clarets team.
However, this season has been a real struggle for all of Burnley’s forwards.
Even after Monday night’s win, Burnley is still the league’s last scorer alongside Sheffield United at just eight. Wood is responsible for three of them, although, as mentioned, Barnes has just joined the group.
Jay Rodríguez hits the ground, but his best days were in 2013/14, while Matej Vydra has always struggled to prevail in the Premier League, with the championship step up still a bit difficult.
The wolves were obviously not comfortable dealing with the duo on Monday night, with Max Kilman, Conor Coady and Romain Saiss dragged all over the place in the back. Barnes dominated from the air, winning six games against Wood’s two, while the Wolves’ three managed just two against each other.
Burnley’s style is certainly a throwback, with the physical pair up front capable of wreaking destruction against any team back in the day. But now the challenge is to replicate this performance most of the time before the end of the season.
Sean Dyche’s site may have escaped the last three just in time for Christmas, but they are obviously still far from safe. They are still one point behind Arsenal, which is a real cause for concern.
Monday night was a good memory and a reminder of how upset Wood and Barnes can be. Now they just have to pull out those performances regularly to keep Burnley out of trouble.