Friday, December 15, 2017

Burnley should not be underestimated this season

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 2 Oct 2017

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Burnley recorded a 1-0 win at Everton on Sunday and kept up their superb away record in the Premier League this season. A lot of the talk after the game revolved around whether Toffees boss Ronald Koeman is the man to help the Merseysiders progress.

However, there are no such worries for opposite number Burnley’s Sean Dyche. The former Chesterfield boss has done a fantastic job in Lancashire.

Dyche’s teams are supremely organised

One feature of Burnley under Dyche has been their organisation, especially defensively. Every player knows their job and every player buys into what their boss wants from them. The fact that key players can be replaced with other players shows just how much the Burnley players believe in Dyche.

Centre-back James Tarkowski is a case in point. The defender was a bit part player at Burnley last season. However, since the summer sale of Michael Keane to Everton, he has stepped up and been magnificent at the heart of the Clarets defence.

England goalkeeper Tom Heaton is currently out of action through injury. However, deputy Nick Pope has slotted in almost seamlessly in-between the sticks.

The Clarets are so well organised that it means they are very hard to break down, as Sunday’s game illustrated perfectly. The team from Lancashire do not have the best players in the world. However, as a team unit, they play better than the sum of their parts. That is largely down to Dyche and his managerial ability.

Some sceptics have rather harshly labelled Burnley as ‘boring’ or a team that do not play attractive football. However, the winning goal against Everton was a superb team goal, involving 24 passes. It was certainly not a goal scored by a load of ball-merchants.

Clarets shrewd in the transfer market

Burnley have been very shrewd in the transfer market in the last season and a half. The Clarets have built slowly but surely by bringing in players that fit into the team’s way of playing and players of a certain character type.

The Clarets have brought in players who are hardworking and determined. One of the latest signing, New Zealand international striker Chris Wood is a prime example. The giant striker was prolific for Leeds United last season in the Championship.

Since he has joined Burnley, he has dislodged Welsh striker Sam Vokes from the main striker role and is a major nuisance to opposition defences. Apart from a giant frame and threat in the air, Wood seems to be a player willing to work his socks off for his team.

The striker has already scored twice in his four Premier League appearances. He looks to be another shrewd signing from the Lancashire club, whose financial management has exemplary in recent years.

Top-ten finish is not unrealistic this season

For a portion of last season, some believed that the Clarets were relegation candidates. However, for me, they never looked in any danger of suffering relegation. Their home form last season was a major positive, as they struggled on their travels.

Dyche and his coaching staff seem to have put their poor away form to bed now. Wins at Chelsea and Everton, coupled with draws at Liverpool and Tottenham suggest that the Clarets will pick up far more away points in the top-flight this season.

If they can regain their home form from last season, then Dyche’s team could prove to be one of the surprise packages of the season. Their odds of 5/2 to finish in the top-ten of the Premier League look tempting right now.

Sunday afternoon showed perfectly what Burnley are about. The Clarets did not need many chances to score and they held their own at a stadium only Liverpool and Tottenham have won at as visitors in the last 13 Premier League games.

People can say what they like about Burnley. I very much doubt that anybody connected with the club cares. The club from Lancashire are now an established Premier League outfit. It also did not take £150million to achieve their objective.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is doing a fantastic job. I would argue that for the resources he has at his disposal, he could be one of the best bosses in the Premier League.

The Clarets are certainly moving in the right direction. Everybody connected with the Lancashire club will be immensely proud of their teams displays so far this season.

Could Burnley finish in the top-ten of the Premier League this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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