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The Media Review: Burnley

How the papers and websites reported Saturday's 2-1 win over Burnley.

By Nick Szczepanik • 15 August 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Neal Maupay celebrates his equaliser at Turf Moor.

The only thing better than winning away from home on the opening day of the season is savouring the victory afterwards. And the Sunday papers allowed Albion fans to do precisely that.

Some reports suggested that hosts Burnley should have been out of sight before Graham Potter's men began their second-half comeback in the 2-1 triumph at Turf Moor. And one or two, perhaps from writers with a touch of local bias, bemoaned the home side's missed chances when the Clarets were on top.

But the Seagulls faithful can surely be forgiven for rejoicing all the same. After all, too many times in recent seasons the boot has been on the other foot, so it makes a pleasant change to hear about opponents failing to make chances count.

Ken Lawrence of The Sun, for example, wrote that “The Clarets ran the game for over an hour and should have had the points done and dusted inside half of that time.

“Yet they switched off for five fatal minutes and almost from nowhere Graham Potter’s Seagulls swooped to snatch victory.

“First, sub Jakub Moder, only on the pitch for a matter of seconds, fired in a low cross that Neal Maupay tucked away at the far post.

10:18

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Extended PL highlights: Burnley 1 Albion 2

“Argentine [Alexis] Mac Allister, not long back from representing his country at the Olympics, then produced a 78th-minute golden touch.

“Having been so dominant, Burnley suddenly fell apart as Pascal Gross sent in another cross from the right and Mac Allister produced an identical finish to that of Maupay.

“Brighton boss Potter sang the praises of opposite number Dyche and the fierce mentality of a side taking the Clarets into a sixth successive Prem season.

“Admiration is one thing. Watching your team then let the opposition walk all over you is quite another. Potter replaced Enock Mwepu for veteran Adam Lallana at the break and the ex-Liverpool star slowly added some authority to the Seagulls show that had looked lost at sea.

“Yet neither he or his manager – far less Dyche – could have envisaged how they managed to come away with the points in the end.”

In the Sunday Telegraph, Jason Mellor took a slightly different tack, pointing out that Burnley had perhaps been a touch over-physical during that spell of dominance.

By Paul Hazlewood
Enock Mwepu made his Premier League debut at Burnley.

“Brighton were battered, bruised and almost beaten into submission as lockdown gave way to smackdown,” he wrote. “To their credit, they climbed off the canvas to deliver two late sucker punches to extend Burnley's wait for a victory at Turf Moor beyond 200 days.

“Yves Bissouma and Neal Maupay have the marks to show for an uncompromising encounter, which looked to be heading for a unanimous points victory for the hosts until Graham Potter orchestrated an unlikely comeback spearheaded from the bench.

“Sean Dyche has pointed to studies which indicate a lowered testosterone level among players performing in the absence of crowds in an attempt to explain the apparent loss of home advantage during the hiatus without fans. 

“So it was apt that to coincide with the full return of supporters providing a raucous atmosphere, his side produced a display of which 11 nightclub bouncers would have been proud, albeit ones with a decent first touch and an eye for goal.

“Inside two minutes, Maupay was left in a heap, his protests ignored after being steamrollered by James Tarkowski as the Burnley defender showed greater desire to reach Ashley Westwood's corner. A well-timed far post header did the rest and initial confusion over whether the goal stood was clarified by referee David Coote following a brief VAR review.

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Potter on Burnley fightback!

“Bissouma was next to feel the force of the claret and blue wall, coming off worse in a full-blooded sliding challenge which earned Johann Gudmundsson a yellow card as the Brighton midfielder nursed a knee to the chest from his opponent's enthusiastic follow-through.”

Jack Gaughan, of the Mail on Sunday, surmised that “there must have been a fair amount of introspection from Graham Potter as he trudged towards the new temporary away dressing room at the opposite end of Turf Moor when half time arrived.

“Burnley led through James Tarkowski and were good for it. Brighton’s manager had not quite called things correctly and deep down he probably knew that.

“For large parts, this opening day felt like an episode in trial and error for Potter, who had even chosen Pascal Gross as an inverted left back to begin with, but his changes saw them fly back south with what could represent crucial points.

“A tweak in formation at the break, reverting to the trusty back three and moving Gross from left to right as well, and later the impact of two changes, saw this turn sharply with 17 minutes left. Credit to Potter, who corrected his mistakes.

“Sean Dyche – whose side deserved more, losing the game in much the same way Brighton had so often last year - will be particularly annoyed given a tough run of fixtures over the coming weeks, starting at Anfield next Saturday.”

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Perfect birthday gift for Maupay!

Phil Medlicott of the Press Association reported that “the opening stages of the second half saw a Maupay shot deflect off target and Gudmundsson curl a free-kick wide. Rodriguez going down in the box under the attentions of Duffy sparked penalty calls from Burnley that were waved away by referee David Coote, and Leandro Trossard lofted an attempt wide of Pope’s goal just prior to the hour mark.

“After Chris Wood saw a shot deflect behind, Potter made a change by bringing on Moder for Steven Alzate – and the substitute had a near immediate impact, sending a cross in from the right that the sliding Maupay converted to draw things level.

“Moments later, Potter saw another substitution swiftly pay off as his side grabbed the lead, with Mac Allister, sent on for Trossard soon after the equaliser, slotting past Pope from Pascal Gross’s delivery.

With Newcastle United not in action, the Sunday Times sent Martin Hardy, its man in the north-east, down to Lancashire and he wrote that “the outstanding Shane Duffy pulled off two crucial clearances, and with each he screamed at his team-mates to give more. That they did, aided by Potter’s masterstrokes.”

On the BBC Sport website, Harry Poole summed up the afternoon. “Potter's substitutions swung the game as Brighton's dominance on the ball was eventually converted into goals, Moder recording an assist for Maupay with his first involvement and Mac Allister delivering the decisive blow.

“Burnley had several good opportunities to improve their position before the interval, but Jay Rodriguez was denied by keeper Robert Sanchez at close quarters, with Gudmundsson and Mee striking the woodwork either side of that chance.

“The Clarets failed to manage a shot on target in the second half, compared to six for Brighton, and crucially the Seagulls made their period of dominance count.”