Burnley 1 Wigan 3
Published 26/10/2009 | 00:59
Their footballing philosophies may differ but Burnley are already looking at Stoke's blueprint for Premier League survival as a method for establishing themselves among the elite.
Beaten at home for the first time since February, Burnley have recognised that their fortunes at Turf Moor will be instrumental in deciding whether they remain in the top division.
Stoke's brand of football rarely receives recognition from purists, but their direct style claimed all but 10 of their 45 points last season at the Britannia Stadium, enough to ensure they survived relegation by 11 points. Burnley may be more pleasing on the eye, but their continued membership of the Premier League will depend on them emulating that sort of record by scrapping out victories on home soil.
Despite Steven Fletcher's fourth minute opener, Burnley struggled to recover from losing goalkeeper Brian Jensen to an ankle injury after he slipped to allow Hugo Rodallega the first of two goals. Wigan, by contrast, adapted brilliantly to full-back Maynor Figueroa withdrawing with a knee injury mid-way through the first half, and dominated the rest of the match. After outstanding victories at Turf Moor over Manchester United, Everton and Sunderland it was a major setback to Burnley's ambitions, particularly as they are yet to secure a point on their travels, having conceded 18 goals in their five Premier League matches away from home.
"If you look at Stoke as an example, I think that's why they did so well last season because they didn't let their disappointing days get to them, they put them to bed as soon as possible and they bounced back. They came back and now they are looking like an established Premier League team," explained Burnley captain Steven Caldwell.
If Burnley are to emulate Stoke's achievement, however, they will need to perfect defending which allowed Rodallega too much time to drift in and power a low drive to put Wigan ahead with his eighth goal in his last 15 outings. Emerson Boyce was also allowed to arrive in the box unmarked to finish off the match from Rodallega's corner.
"Hugo told me on my first day that he wanted to score 15 goals this season and I told him if he did that I didn't think I'd be able to work with him for very long," enthused Wigan manager Roberto Martinez. "At the start of the season we won at Aston Villa and he scored an amazing goal and sometimes things like that are key moments."
Burnley (4-5-1): Jensen (Penny, 15); Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan; Elliott, Alexander, Bikey (McDonald, 82), Blake (Nugent, 67), Eagles; Fletcher. Substitutes not used: Duff, Gudjonsson, Thompson, Guerrero.
Wigan (4-5-1): Kirkland; Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa (Gomez, 27); Thomas, Scharner (King, 78), Diame, N'Zogbia, Rodallega; Scotland. Substitutes not used: Hee-Cho, Koumas, Pollitt (gk), Sinclair, Kapo.
Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).
Booked: Burnley Carlisle, Alexander.
Man of the match: Rodallega.