Burnley rescued a last-gasp point to secure a draw against Wolves yesterday evening and mathematically maintain their chances of Europa League qualification, although results elsewhere realistically leave that ambition a tall order.
The match at Turf Moor was something of a slow burner but it caught fire in the final 15 minutes with two goals. The first fell to Raul Jimenez, who crashed a magnificent volley beyond Nick Pope, and the second arrived courtesy of a contentious stoppage time penalty when Matt Doherty was penalised for handball and Chris Wood converted the resulting spot kick. [via Sky Sports]
Less pleasing for Sean Dyche was the injury-enforced withdrawals of Charlie Taylor and Jay Rodriguez during the game, with Ben Mee, Jack Cork, Matt Lowton and Ashley Barnes already sidelined for the Clarets (as per Lancashire Live). However, one man who has benefitted from that injury list stood tall for Burnley yesterday.
Kevin Long had to wait until this month to get his first Premier League start of the season, coming in at centre-back after Mee got injured at the start of July. The Clarets are unbeaten since the Irishman came into the side and he put his best foot forward with his performance against Wolves.
The 29-year-old won all four aerial duels that he contested and five out of six duels in total, as well as winning one tackle and making one block and one interception (as per Sofascore). He came in for plenty of praise from Burnley fans on Twitter during and after the game and his display was also heralded by some reporters afterwards.
Lancashire Live‘s Alex James said that Long “continues to impress in the heart of the Burnley defence”, while Burnley Express reporter Dan Black wrote that “Wolves had little joy through the middle as Long, Tarkowski and company protected the edge of their penalty area resolutely”. He added that the Irish defender “stuck a boot in when needed, stopping Podence in his tracks in the second half”.
Could Kevin Long keep his place in the starting XI even after Ben Mee returns?
With Mee set to miss the remainder of the season, Long will almost certainly start the final two matches, despite needing brief treatment on his ankle during the match before resuming his place. The Irishman might drop back down to the bench when the skipper returns but Dyche can now feel very assured that, in the 29-year-old, he has a hugely reliable centre-back deputy for Mee and James Tarkowski.
Burnley fans, how impressed were you with Long’s display against Wolves and his form recently? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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