"It’s a good combination" - Sean Dyche on Burnley's new-look strikeforce

Practice is making perfect for Burnley’s new-look twin strikeforce.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 8:00 am
Matej Vydra and Chris Wood

Chris Wood has been paired together with Matej Vydra for the Clarets’ last five games.

And that has brought six goals between them, sharing them out three apiece.

In the last two games, the duo haven’t just been scoring, with Wood assisting Vydra with a headed flick on for his volley at Southampton, before the New Zealand international drove past

Newcastle United centre back Ciaran Clark to get to the byeline and pull the ball back for the Czech Republic frontman to finish on Sunday.

That means top-scorer Wood has seven for the season so far in all competitions, one more than Vydra.

Sean Dyche likes all four of his senior strikers to be able to combine together, and at various points, good partnerships have been forged, with Wood and Ashley Barnes often the go-to pairing.

However, although Barnes is currently out with a thigh injury, and Jay Rodriguez missed Sunday’s game as his wife went into labour, you do wonder why Wood and Vydra were not put together earlier.

They have 10 Premier League goals between them this season, and three assists, after Wood and Rodriguez shared 22 last term, with three assists.

In 2018/19, Barnes and Wood also hit 22 combined, with four assists, while in 2017/18, Wood and Barnes were worth 19 goals together, and one assist.

Vydra’s pace and running in behind has helped stretch the pitch, while Wood has long since established himself as Burnley’s most prolific marksman – Dyche’s top gun.

And he feels the more they play together, the better the partnership will get.

Dyche said: “When you’re asking two strikers to come together and combine, you can work on that in training – which we do of course – and we mix and match the two when fit, so they get used to playing with each other on any given day, for obvious reasons.

“But there’s nothing like playing regularly with someone, because you do learn all the nuances – those little things that affects your lines of running, the way you link with another player, so over time that helps.

“Vyds has stayed fit for a period, and looks more match fit, more sharp.

“And Woody is back fit and looking sharp, so it’s a good combination.”

Sometimes a partnership is worth more than just goals, with duos combining well, and Dyche added: “Sometimes the chemistry is just there, not just strikers – it could be centre halves, right back and right wing, two centre midfields, there are varying connections.

“Sometimes you see it and think it will work, and other times you think it doesn’t, but you’re always looking for performance levels, and those two are certainly performing to a good standard at the moment, without doubt.”