Not many football fans around the globe expected to see Burnley in the Premier League’s top six after seven games.
The fact they are where they are, considering the fixtures Sean Dyche’s men have had is remarkable. The Clarets were in 18th place in the Premier League net spend table come the famous ‘slamming’ shut of the transfer window. In a market that is becoming crazier by the minute, the start the Lancashire club have made is all the more impressive, and a testament to the man hailed as ‘Ginger Mourinho’ by his own.
Burnley have see-sawed between the Premier League and Championship in recent years, but you get the feeling they are well on the road to establishing themselves in the top flight. When the word relegation inevitably gets thrown around at Christmas time, or now in Crystal Palace’s case, it’d be a surprise if Burnley’s name was one thrown into the mix.
The North West outfit are the perfect model for any club that gains promotion to the top flight, Dyche has gone about his business admirably, not only this season but in seasons gone-by too.
The 2014/15 season was the club’s first season back in the big-time for five-years. How many managers would throw the promotion money all at once, or on talent from all around Europe? Not Dyche. He spent practically nothing and kept faith in the squad he had worked with in The Championship.
Sure, they fell down a league at the end of the season, but a tight-knit dressing room is what the Kettering-born manager has instilled since he was appointed. The club cashed in on Danny Ings, and after a year found themselves back in the Premier League, this time as title-winners.
In the 2016 season, the chequebook was used a little more, however, Burnley making a profit of over £15 million this season makes up for money spent, as well as a successful campaign last season.
The Claret’s away form was a weakness, and the results Dyche’s men have achieved so far this season shows the work that has been put in over the summer to address a clear issue. Just seven of the teams’ 40 points in the league last season were claimed away from home, to put that into perspective that’s 17.5%.
Everyone at Burnley didn’t just accept that they were going to have to rely on Turf Moor being a fortress this season again. In fact, the total points claimed away from home last season has already been surpassed by Burnley just seven games in. That statistic is all the more impressive when you take into consideration that their away games have been against Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Everton.
When Michael Keane departed for £30 million in the summer, many wondered who would fill the void. Instead of splashing the cash, Dyche turned to James Tarkowski, the centre-half has been immense and was rewarded with a man-of-the-match award last time out.
The football that is employed at Burnley can sometimes be put under the ‘effective’ label, but make no mistake, this team can play easy on the eye stuff too. Jeff Hendrick’s goal at Goodison Park last match is a prime example.
Ian Wright has also praised Sean Dyche on Sky Sports’ debate programme, he said: “”But there’s no reason why Burnley cannot finish up the table. He’s cementing his club as a Premier League team, not a yo-yo team, and the more money they make in the Premier League, the more solid they are going to become and I would think that would be Burnley’s main goal.”
The former Arsenal striker describes them as solid, and that is exactly what they are. The big boys in the league will go into games against certain teams in the league and will be confident of victory, or at least finding the net, but with Burnley, they have shown time and time again that they aren’t a push-over for anybody. That all comes from the manager, his trust in the squad and astute work in the transfer window has formed a squad that is fearless and believes in itself.
Dyche has his squad well-drilled, and every signing he makes you can picture fitting in perfectly to his system and the way Burnley play their football.
We had the fairy tale of all fairy tales with Leicester, and although no-one expects Tom Heaton to have his hands on the trophy come May, it would excellent for the league to have a club like Burnley high up the table.
What was previously the ‘big four’, has evolved into a ‘big six’ and with Everton’s spending this season, possibly a ‘big seven’. The divide between these clubs and the rest of the league is getting greater and The Clarets should carry on exactly how they are because it would be a more-than-pleasant sight to have them at least knocking on the door of the top-six.