You could forgive some Crystal Palace fans for forgetting about how much their side have struggled to defend set-pieces this season before kick-off at Turf Moor on Saturday.
After all, successive clean sheet victories over Wolves and Man City followed by the November international break meant it had been almost a month since Callum Wilson scored an overhead kick from a corner at Selhurst Park for Newcastle.
Those memories came flooding back in an all too familiar fashion against Burnley however, who scored twice in the first half from set-pieces delivered into the Eagles box.
Ben Mee first outjumped Cheikhou Kouyate to bury his header from a corner past Vicente Guaita, before Chris Wood was left unmarked from a free-kick and directed his header into the net as well moments later.
This now means that of the 17 goals Palace have conceded in the league, eight have come from set-pieces – more than other team in the Premier League.
Marcos Alonso got things started with a direct free-kick for Chelsea on the opening day of the season, before Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita all scored for Liverpool after Palace failed to deal with corners at Anfield.
Alexandre Lacazette then turned in a late leveller at the Emirates after another corner before Wilson’s aforementioned acrobatics left the Eagles red-faced once again in October.
After that game against the Magpies, Patrick Vieira was asked whether the number of goals his side were shipping from dead balls was concerning him. The Frenchman replied “not at all” and instead complimented his side for dealing with set-pieces better in that game than they had earlier in the season.
Following the Burnley result football.london asked the Eagles boss once again if he was concerned by the increasing trend, and this time he was more pointed with his response.
“When you come to Burnley, you expect to suffer in the air, and we have to manage and deal with it,” said the Frenchman.
“At times we did it well [but] I think we need to improve that aspect of the game because, in the modern game, set-pieces are massively important, and we will need to spend more time in training to deal with those set-pieces.”
After the full-time whistle, Burnley boss Sean Dyche admitted that his side had been paying close attention to how the Eagles defended from set-pieces and said he had instructed them to try and make the most of those moments.
When confronted with this, Vieira said he and his staff will need to help the team improve by putting in more hours on the training pitch.
“Teams we will face will look at our strengths and weaknesses and prepare themselves,” added the Frenchman.
“We have to look at ourselves and work out how to improve that side of our game – what can we do to be better and stronger? We have to spend time and work on that.”
Palace will need to do just that as the games start to come quicker with the festive period upon us. The Eagles host Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on Saturday before facing a quick turnaround to play Leeds at Elland Road on Tuesday.
That’s then followed by a Sunday afternoon match at Old Trafford by which point the Eagles will be hoping a string of good performances keeps them in the top half of the table.