James Tarkowski

Chris Wood Burnley
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Wood goal helps Burnley beat Newcastle, end mini-skid

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Burnley got a little bit of luck and a finish from its big striker in a 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday at Turf Moorr, ending a three-match losing streak in the process.

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Chris Wood scored after a controversially-awarded corner, as the Clarets moved 12th on 21 points. That’s a point behind their Saturday visitors.


Three things we learned

1. Lucky Clarets cash in: Those who hate VAR and like a good old fashioned ref error that can’t be fixed by review will be loving this one. Burnley had little-to-nothing going for nearly an hour, but were given a corner when Federico Fernandez was shoved on the touch line and no whistle arrived to aid the center back. Ashley Westwood swept a corner over a sea of players and Kiwi star Wood rose to plant the ball in the goal at the back post.

2. Newcastle’s luck runs out: The Magpies entered this match on a 4-1-1 run and were beginning to entertain Top Seven ideas, but advanced stats said they had been quite lucky all season long. The misfortune of a call against Fernandez won’t sit well with Geordies, but perhaps there’s some comfort in knowing most calls had been going for Steve Bruce‘s men.

3. Gayle miss shows lack of depth: An injury to Allan Saint-Maximin was always going to be a problem for Steve Bruce, but minor injuries kept red-hot Jonjo Shelvey and lively-but-unconfident Miguel Almiron out of the team as well. Christian Atsu and Joelinton were far from clinical out wide, and Bruce turned to Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto off the bench. Gayle had one on a plate from Joelinton but fired wide on a chance which really should’ve provided a deserved point.

Man of the Match: James Tarkowski — The center back had his hands full and feet sore with the physical duo of Andy Carroll and Joelinton, but held firm in helping Burnley keep another zero on the board.


Andy Carroll captained the team and had the game’s first chance when he headed an inviting corner just wide of the frame.

Burnley’s Dwight McNeil forced Martin Dubravka into a save and a lively Isaac Hayden tore into a shot from 30 yards that sailed over the Clarets’ bar.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Burnley went ahead on a corner that should’ve been a goal kick, but that doesn’t excuse an error from usually strong Martin Dubravka that allowed Wood to prod home at the back post.

Dubravka made amends when Sean Longstaff gave the ball to Cork in the middle of the park and dribbled himself into a 1v1 with the keeper.

Substitute Gayle butchered a chance to make it 1-1 when Joelinton bodied up Erik Pieters off a through ball from Carroll and sent the Englishman to the top of the six.

Burnley rebounds from ugly half to smash Watford

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Chris Wood, James Tarkowski, and Ashley Barnes all scored second half goals as Burnley rebounded from a rough first half to beat Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Burnley are now sixth with 18 points. Watford’s dead last with eight.


3 things we learned

1. Burnley is a zombie movie where the zombies win: I literally have no idea how the Clarets keep manufacturing incredible results. The stats and eyes say they are getting bossed all over the park, but Sean Dyche‘s men believe they can find an opening in any game. And a lot of times, they do. The Clarets are unable to be killed, and every time a losing streak sees them dip toward the drop zone, you need only wait 28 days later (movie reference, achieved) to see them flirting with the upper reaches of the table.

2. Watford a team of poor Fortune: The Hornets really have been much better of late, with their dominant first half featuring six of the match’s seven shot attempts. Obviously they did not find a goal there, and it’s what cost them a trip outside the Bottom Three.

3. Tarkowski with another monstrous day… at both ends: Burnley’s steady center back was credited with seven aerial wins and three shots, then closing out the scoring. He’s one of those players like Harry Maguire when he was at Hull City; A big club ought to take a look.

Man of the Match: Tarkowski.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Pulisic bags hat trick as Chelsea doubles up Burnley

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Christian Pulisic scored a perfect hat trick as Chelsea picked up its seventh-straight win in all competitions with a 4-2 defeat of Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Willian also scored for the Blues, who will finish the weekend in fourth place with 20 points.

Pulisic’s hat trick makes him the youngest hat trick scorer in Chelsea history.

Dwight McNeil and Jay Rodriguez scored in the final five minutes for the Clarets.


Three things we learned

1. Pulisic’s primal scream of relief heard across the ocean: Here’s the bell ringer, Christian Pulisic’s first Premier League goal. The Yanks’ 21-year-old scored his first Premier League goal in a matching minute,, seizing on a bad touch from Matthew Lowton and dribbling James Tarkowski before rolling a low shot across goal past Nick Pope. A quality strike to beat two quality players.

He let out of a primal scream in celebration as he waited for his teammates to join the celebration. All things considered, it’s difficult to imagine how good the moment felt for the USMNT’s top man. He’d add a second by cooking Tarkowski to his other side and getting a deflection, and had three key passes in an incredible first half.

The third came in the second half with a nice header, and the opened floodgates were greeted with relief by so many in Chelsea blue and beyond.

2. Burnley broken down: The Clarets entered the day having kept clean sheets in three of four matches at home this season. The fourth was a 3-0 loss to Liverpool, and Chelsea made sure that it showed its Top Four acumen. Lowton’s giveaway on Pulisic’s first goal was poor and the second came via deflection, but Burnley’s fight back after halftime was brief. Chelsea controlled the match and you’d hate to bear the brunt of what Sean Dyche will likely bring to the post match team talk.

3. Rodriguez scores stunning consolation goal: Pulisic wasn’t perfect, as he gave away the ball that led to Burnley’s goal with five minutes to play. And what a goal it was, as Rodriguez struck a swerving rocket from distance to flummox Arrizabalaga. What a hit. Memories in style and meaning of Daniel Williams for the USMNT against Brazil.

Man of the Match: Are you serious?


 [ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Despite an early injury which appeared to be to his head, Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma made a nice clearance of a dangerously swung corner in the 13th minute.

Pulisic scored his first Premier League goal when he seized on that turnover and used his pace and craft to roll a shot past Pope.

That snapped Burnley to life, and Kepa Arrizabalaga was necessary in a sequence which saw the backstop paw away a shot through traffic.

Ashley Barnes badly missed a back post header which should’ve tied things up in the 30th minute.

Pulisic got his second with another powerful dribble through the heart of the attacking third, getting past Tarkowski and hitting a shot that took a turn off Ben Mee for 2-0.

Burnley came out of the dressing room with vigor. Barnes butchered a point blank chance to make it 2-1 in the 50th, the poacher not ready for prime time, and Jay Rodriguez sent a shot into the arms of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

That’s when Pulisic got his hat trick. After Burnley rejected a corner kick back to the taker, Mason Mount swept another cross into the mix and the American nodded it home.

Willian soon got in on the action with a low shot from the right, and Chelsea was home free.

Rodriguez scored his sensational goal off a Pulisic turnover, and McNeil’s heavily-deflected shot made it 4-2 with two minutes left.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man City, Leicester look to Ake

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With Harry Maguire en route to Old Trafford, the long-anticipated knock-on effect will be felt through the Premier League.

[ MORE: Sane injured ]

Leicester City is being linked with a trio of players, including one from manager Brendan Rodgers‘ old club Celtic.

Burnley’s James Tarkowski, Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake, and Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer are being noted as targets to replace Maguire.

Both of the PL center backs have been outstanding on their respective sides, with Tarkowski attached to a rumored $49 million price tag following another strong season in which he hoofed 6.7 clearances per match and scored three Premier League goals.

While Burnley may be preparing for life without the 26-year-old Tarkowski, it’s difficult to believe Bournemouth would sanction the sale of Ake.

The 24-year-old Dutchman has played in all 76 matches for Eddie Howe over the course of the last two seasons, starting 75 and scoring six goals while completing a sterling 85 percent of his passes.

Ajer, however, has a low $18 million price tag attached by reports, which may be due to his league more than his quality as Arsenal has taken a while to stump up Celtic’s asking price for Kieran Tierney.

Back to Ake, a report says $49 million is the fee as well. But Man City is also being linked with the player, and he absolutely fits the bill of what Pep Guardiola seeks in a defender.

It would be a suave bit of business for Guardiola, as Chelsea has a reported $49 million buyback clause on Ake it cannot activate while under transfer ban.

Ajax is going to look very different next season following its outstanding run to the Champions League semifinals.

The Dutch side has already sold Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) and Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), and now could move on from Donny van de Beek and David Neres.

Van de Beek could be “hours away” from a $60 million move to Real Madrid, according to Marca, while Neres has earned a reported $54 million bid from Manchester United.

Van de Beek had a goal and an assist in Ajax’s season-opening draw at Vitesse on Saturday, while Neres played just eight minutes. American fullback Sergino Dest was an unused sub.

Who would make a PFA Team of the Year without Top Six teams?

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The PFA Team of the Year was dominated by Manchester City and Liverpool, to no one’s surprise, though which players comprised the team surprised many.

For example, the team may be without the league’s Golden Boot winner.

[ PL PREVIEW: Brighton v. Newcastle ]

Mohamed Salah was left off the team, likely due to his cold form while the players were voting for the peers, and he’d be an easy part of any “The Best of the Rest” list (along with Christian Eriksen, Roberto Firmino, Harry Kane, and Eden Hazard).

But we’ve added another angle, as we’ll make a “Best Outside The Top Six of the Year.” Here is a team to join the PFA Team of the Year.


“No Top Six” Team of the Year

Fabianski (West Ham)

Wan-Bissaka (Palace) – Tarkowski (Burnley) – Duffy (BHA) – Digne (Everton)

Gana Gueye (Everton) – Ndidi (Leicester City)

Felipe (West Ham)- Doucoure (Watford) – Fraser (Bournemouth)

Raul Jimenez (Wolves)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka‘s 3.8 tackles per game led all backs, full or center; His 2.4 interceptions per match rate isn’t far off from the leader: Cardiff’s Sol Bamba (who just misses).

Shane Duffy and James Tarkowski lead the league in clearances, and are also 1-2 in blocked shots.

Only Hazard has more assists than Fraser’s 12, tied with Eriksen, who also is Top Two in key passes per game.

And even this list leaves out quality like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Joao Moutinho, and Neil Etheridge. Wild.