I was at the eight-goal epic served up by Newcastle and Luton Town at the weekend. In the midst of the madness, left-back Dan Burn had another difficult match. I was also at Aston Villa during the week when he suffered a similar fate. Both Leon Bailey and Chiedozie Ogbene had the pace to burn Dan.
Eddie Howe spotted the danger early at Villa and changed the system, bringing on Tino Livramento and ensuring his towering full-back wasn’t isolated. It still took him 10 minutes to act and cost Newcastle a goal, but the game was safe with a 3-1 lead and the Magpies held out.
On BBC commentary duties against Luton on Saturday I suggested there might be a Bill Murray Groundhog Day moment looming just five minutes into the game.
It was a day late perhaps as the real Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania was the day before, but Howe had to sacrifice Burn quickly before history repeated itself. Amazingly, he didn’t.
I was convinced he would change it at half-time, but he still didn’t. By the time he did sub Burn, after the home crowd pleaded for him to do it, 2-2 had become 2-4 with both goals coming from the left. Why did he wait? Howe is a quality coach – he must have seen the problem.
Was it that rarest of things in the Premier League, a show of sympathy? To hook club stalwart Burn would be an embarrassment to him and everyone including me likes the honest big defender.
Sadly, there is no room for sentiment in elite competitive sport and I suspect Howe will never do it again. In any case, he wasn’t doing the player any favours leaving him out there to suffer.
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First appeared on www.bbc.com