Tomas Soucek Sinks Burnley with a Late Dagger

Breaking the Lines’ Abu Yasin was at Turf Moor to deliver an exclusive BTL match report for Burnley’s match against West Ham.


When receiving the team sheet before the game started, I was aghast at Jarrod Bowen not starting. Not only because it would be bad for my Fantasy team, but also because it would affect the quality of West Ham and the game overall. Unfortunately for me, these fears came true as the 1st half was probably West Ham’s worst performance this season, and the most boring 1st half I watched this season.


Luckily for myself and other spectators, the second half kicked into life with the Hammers snatching a win at the end. Luckily for fans of other relegation-stricken clubs like Everton, Luton Town and Sheffield United, the defeat meant Burnley suffered their 7th home defeat in a row, a Premier League record.


With Bowen and Michail Antonio out, Danny Ings was starting up front with Tomas Soucek playing as almost a shadow striker. The lack of quality up front was telling as West Ham hardly had a sniff with Burnley having the 1st half’s biggest chances. Sander Berge dispossessed Lucas Paqueta in his own half and played it to Jay Rodriguez who flashed it across the box, with Zeki Amdouni unable to get a toe on it.


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Luca Koleosho was a thorn in West Ham’s right-hand side as every time he got the ball, he went at Vladimir Coufal, not giving the Czech international a moment’s rest. In basketball it is called having a green light, in football, it’s just a winger taking their man on.


This led to the biggest talking point of the 1st half which was a penalty claim for Burnley. Koleosho had skipped past Coufal and the Czech international left his foot dangling and when the Italian youth international fell, many expected a penalty to be given but it wasn’t.


After a quick VAR check, it was decided the original call was to stand. Something Burnley manager Vincent Kompany disagreed with when asked about the call after the match “I am standing here quite often discussing these things and there doesn’t seem to be any moment where I have a smile on my face.”


Burnley started the second half on fire, with Kolesho’s Trae Young-esque freedom to run the offence in full flow as he drifted past a few West Ham players and was eventually tripped up by Mohammed Kudus. Rodriguez then slotted the penalty away. You can see why three nations, Canada, The United States, and Italy are vying for Koleosho’s talents. It is an international scramble that I’m sure even the best of diplomates don’t want to get involved in.


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West Ham piled on the pressure, but James Trafford stood tall and resolute (Unlike his stadium’s namesake) until the 86th minute. Kudus, surrounded by four Burnley players was able to whip a ball across the box, aiming at substitute Divin Mubuma, but hitting Burnley’s centre half Dara O’Shea instead making it 1-1. Then in the 91st minute, Kudus whipped a beautiful ball to the far post for Soucek to slot away for his 6th of the season. West Ham manager David Moyes noted after the game that the Ghanaian had taken time to adapt to the Premier League but is now showcasing his immense talent.


Mass exits in the home end, hysteria in the away stand. With the Hammers faithful singing about their European exploits, this seemed like the beginning of the end for Burnley. Winning this would’ve been a massive boost for them, instead, it led to them setting a Premier League record of seven defeats in a row at home.


Kompany made a rallying cry after the game “It’s what makes this game beautiful but what also makes it hard. It is a tough one to take but it is still a universal recipe: you have to get up and keep going,” yet losing in such heart-breaking fashion will be a bitter pill to swallow. When it rains, it pours, and for Kompany and co, unless something drastic occurs, it seems they are going to be washed back down to the Championship come the end of the season.


By: Abu Yasin / @Abuy2j

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Rob Newell – CameraSport