90min

Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes Give Timely Reminder of Nuggety Threat in Wolves Win

James Merrills
Burnley's terrible twosome are a very different challenge to other Premier League strikers.
Burnley's terrible twosome are a very different challenge to other Premier League strikers. / Alex Livesey/Getty Images
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You know those strikers you hate playing against on those wet, grey Saturday mornings? On one of those pitches that claims the ankles of all who grace its turf?

Well, if you were asked to name two Premier League equivalents, you'd probably come up with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood.

The two strikers took Monday night as the perfect opportunity to remind the rest of the league just how dangerous and nuggety they can be, both scoring in the 2-1 victory over Wolves.

Barnes was on the Burnley scoresheet for the first time in 394 days, having endured a dip in form and fitness issues. It was clear to see what the goal meant to him as he wheeled away after giving his side the lead against the run of play.

Wood had a quiet first half but reminded us all why he is one of Burnley's best players. The striker, signed from Leeds back in 2017, doubled his side's lead by slamming home from James Tarkowski's nod down with plenty of bodies around him in the box.

Barnes and Wood have now scored 32% of Burnley's Premier League goals, showing just how important the duo are to this modern Clarets side.

Wood scored his third league goal of the season against Wolves
Wood scored his third league goal of the season against Wolves / JON SUPER/Getty Images

However, this season has been a real struggle for all of Burnley's strikers.

Even after Monday night's victory, Burnley remain the league's joint bottom scorers alongside Sheffield United with just eight. Wood is responsible for three of those, though as mentioned Barnes has only just joined the party.

Jay Rodriguez runs himself into the ground but his best days were back in 2013/14, while Matej Vydra has always struggled to assert himself in the Premier League, with the step up from the Championship still a little too tough.

Wolves evidently weren't comfortable dealing with the duo on Monday night, with Max Kilman, Conor Coady and Romain Saiss dragged all over the place at the back. Barnes was aerially dominant, winning six duels to Wood's two, while Wolves' back three managed just two between them.

Barnes ended a lengthy goal draught
Barnes ended a lengthy goal draught / Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Burnley's style is certainly a throwback, with the physical pair up front capable of causing destruction against any team on their day. But now the challenge comes in replicating this performance more often than not before the end of the season.

Sean Dyche's side may have escaped the bottom three just in time for Christmas but they're obviously still far from safe. They're still a point behind Arsenal, which is a real cause for concern.

Monday night was a good throwback and reminder of how bothersome Wood and Barnes can be. Now they've just got to pull those performances out regularly to keep Burnley out of any trouble.

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