Horror for Heaton

This was a bitter-sweet afternoon for Burnley. The highs of a battling victory moving the Clarets up to seventh in the Premier League were punctured by the sight of Tom Heaton leaving the action 10 minutes before half-time with a shoulder injury.

After the match Sean Dyche confirmed what everyone feared at the time, that Heaton had dislocated his shoulder and was set for months on the sidelines.

If you were to compile a list of players Dyche would least like to lose for a lengthy period Heaton would be near the top, if not at the very top. He has been magnificent for Burnley in recent years and as captain sets the tone on and off the pitch.

It has also come at a terrible time for Heaton himself, at the beginning of a World Cup year when he is battling with Jordan Pickford and Fraser Forster for the third goalkeeping berth in England’s squad for Russia.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Heaton will miss October’s final World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania as well as the November internationals, which are likely to include a couple of friendlies.

Hopefully Heaton will be back for the next international break in March, but he could have ground to make up in the battle for a World Cup place.

Pope’s time

One man’s loss is another’s gain, and while Pope was hugely disappointed to see Heaton come off injured, it has presented him with a golden opportunity to impress in the Premier League.

When the captain missed three games through illness and injury last year it was top flight veteran Paul Robinson who filled in, but his retirement has opened the door for Pope to become number two, and he will now get his chance.

The 25-year-old is still relatively inexperienced in terms of games played and his first Premier League appearance on Sunday came after just 33 Championship outings.

But Dyche has regularly spoken of his trust in Pope and the former Charlton man believes his game has improved since arriving at Turf Moor before the start of last season. Now that theory will be put to the test, starting with a daunting trip to Anfield on Saturday.

Defour’s fitness

The switch to a 4-4-2 system for the first time in this league season was a test for the renewed fitness and fight of Steven Defour, and it was one the Belgian passed.

Last week assistant manager Ian Woan said that the staff couldn’t really rely on Defour to do the work expected in a two-man midfield last season, but to his immense credit the 29-year-old buckled down in pre-season and he now looks ‘Dyche fit’.

Lancashire Telegraph:

He lasted over 80 minutes on Sunday and although he and Jack Cork were outnumbered in midfield Defour was a thorn in Palace’s side, winning the ball back on several occasions and denying the opposition time on the ball.

Defenders who defend

Dyche regularly speaks of his desire to have defenders who can do the basics of the art correctly, something which he believes has fallen out of the game in recent years.

In James Tarkowski he has another who looks to be capable of doing just that. Tarkowski is comfortable on the ball, and was guilty of overplaying on at least one occasion against Palace, but in the second half he was a rock at the back.

In the right place more often than not, the £3million man made block after block as the pressure increased and won the physical battle with Christian Benteke, something few centre halves can claim to have done.

End of the road for de Boer

Chris Wood’s third minute strike looks to have been the final straw for Steve Parish and Palace, with Frank de Boer reportedly sacked on Monday morning.

That seems a remarkably harsh decision based on their performance at Turf Moor. As Dyche admitted after the game they were the better team and they were certainly playing for their manager.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Instead de Boer’s reign has lasted just four Premier League games, and his instruction to change philosophy at Palace has quickly been abandoned in south London.

Dyche was in the frame for the job when de Boer was appointed in the summer, but it looks like Palace will quickly turn to Roy Hodgson this time, which will at least save the Clarets from more speculation over Dyche’s future.