Burnley 2009’s 0-3 defeat at Stamford Bridge this afternoon doesn’t quite have that bubble-bursting feel to it; it’s not their first defeat of the season, after all, and a three-goal reverse to a side who are inarguably one of Europe’s best – and who have played together at the top level for half a decade now – will happen to quite a few decent sides before the season is out.
And goalkeeper Jensen had another good day – will he prove to be the man who keeps them up? His 1959 colleague, Blacklaw, was applauded off at Goodison at the end of a blisteringly hot afternoon on which he’d kept Everton at bay (again! see match 2) for a 2-1 win. Keepers can win titles too – ask Brian Clough (and then you remember that we can’t. And it’s been a while now: there are children starting at primary school this autumn for whom he has always been dead). As it is, 1959 Burnley are keeping the pressure off Blacklaw by putting them in at the other end in astonishing style – eleven goals in four matches was a lot even for 1959.
This table can’t stay this way forever – the teams have stood in the same order for the whole of the first four fixtures. And things are stirring down in 1920: a 3-0 win at home to Huddersfield (which, if you’ve been paying attention, represents revenge) will, I can assure you, be the start of something big.
So what lies ahead for Burnley 2009? Owen Coyle has already talked the usual about “picking ourselves up,” but he and his team have the chance. The 2-1 Carling Cup win against Hartlepool on Tuesday means that defeat against Chelsea comes off the back of three straight if extremely sapping wins. And now they have a break: Liverpool are next up, but not for a fortnight.
Liverpool won today, but they’ll know how lucky they were to be facing 10 men when 2-1 down at Bolton. Before they meet Burnley, they have to nurse their players through World Cup qualifiers and an England friendly: Burnley, and this in a way illustrates what they are up against this season, don’t.
In order to achieve what they’ve set out to achieve, all Burnley have to do against Liverpool is fight: Liverpool actually do “have” to win. I’m more worried for Liverpool.