Burnley maintained their push for European football next season with a 1-0 win away to West Ham on Wednesday evening.
Jay Rodriguez netted the game’s only goal seven minutes before half-time when he got on the end of Charlie Taylor’s cross to divert the ball past Lukasz Fabianski and into the net. The Clarets’ third win in four matches has taken them to 49 points, just three behind Wolves in sixth (as per Sky Sports).
Along with goal-scorer Rodriguez, goalkeeper Nick Pope was among the headline acts as he made a string of saves to achieve his 14th league clean sheet of the season, the most of anyone in the top flight. However, one of the players just in front of him also played a significant part in another fine result for Sean Dyche’s men.
Ben Mee’s injury absence has left James Tarkowski as Burnley’s only outfield ever-present in the 2019/20 Premier League and, based on what he showed at London Stadium, it’s little wonder that Dyche picks him every week without fail.
The statistics from the 27-year-old’s evening in east London indicated that he was his combative best at the back, winning nine headers and 14 duels in total as well as making 10 clearances, four successful tackles, two blocks and one interception (as per Sofascore).
Alex James of Lancashire Live gave Tarkowski a seven in his player ratings and wrote that he “organised the back four and showed moments of composure on the ball” – he completed 32 of his 46 passes for a 70% success rate.
Burnley Express writer Dan Black awarded him a rating of nine as he hailed “another phenomenal display from Tarkowski at the heart of the Burnley defence”, adding that he “starred in yet another clean sheet” and “made an important block to deny Yarmolenko in the first half”.
However, Tarkowski could perhaps count himself fortunate that he will get the chance to preserve his ever-present status for the trip to Liverpool on Saturday. In the second half yesterday, the Clarets defender was involved in a contentious incident when he raked his studs down the back of Jarrod Bowen on the far touchline.
Should James Tarkowski have been sent off for his tackle on Jarrod Bowen?
Referee Michael Oliver booked the 27-year-old, a decision which stood following a subsequent VAR review, and West Ham manager David Moyes was adamant afterwards that the Burnley man should have been sent off for the incident (as per Lancashire Live).
While that showed Tarkowski’s undesirable side, it does not take away from what was otherwise an outstanding defensive performance which proves just why Dyche sees him as an indispensable figure at Turf Moor.
Burnley fans, just how impressive was Tarkowski in the win over West Ham? Comment below with your views!
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