Having won 8 of their last 12 meetings in all competitions against Burnley FC and drawing the remaining 4, many could be forgiven for thinking Manchester City’s recent home fixture against the Clarets was game over at half time with the Blues 2-0 to the good. But that’s not the spirit and determination Sean Dyche has instilled into his Burnley side and a goal a piece from George Boyd and Ashley Barnes meant the Premier League newbies left the home of the champions spoils shared. Even with the strong mentality last year’s Championship runners up behold they still find themselves 2nd bottom of England’s top division will an almighty task to remain there next year, so can it be done?
The result meant that City failed to record a record 10th successive victory which would have placed them just 1 point behind league leaders Chelsea who also dropped points with a 1-1 draw away to Ronald Koeman’s impressive Southampton outfit. In form David Silva gave the host the lead on the 23rd minute mark with a smart turn in the box accompanied with an accurate near post finish that beat ex Manchester United youth Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal, after some intricate passing down Burnley’s left side.
Fernandinho then grabbed the goal of the game with a wonderful right-footed effort from the edge of the away team’s D that curled expertly into the top corner and in off the crossbar giving City a 2 goal lead with just over half hour gone. Dyche’s men hit back promptly after the break albeit rather fortuitously when George Boyd got a faint but crucial touch on to Danny Ings’ cross-come-shot whilst straying into an offside position. Neither side netted again until 9 minutes from time when the increasingly impressive Ashley Barnes hit the games second screamer past Joe Hart with a pot-shot from just inside the box, no less than the dogged relegation favourites deserved. There had been 37 goals scored in the last seven meetings prior to Sunday’s game, with the last 4 meetings seeing at least 6 goals scored in each. Despite Pellegrini throwing Frank Lampard on for the 600th league appearance of his illustrious club career, not even the veteran goalscoring midfielder could find his adopted club a late winner.
Burnley currently sit in 19th position in the EPL on 16 points joint with 18th and 17th placed teams Crystal Palace and Hull City respectively, 3 points adrift of bottom club, and last season’s Championship winners Leicester City. January is set to be a pivotal month in the Claret’s season as both QPR (currently 15th) and Crystal Palace both visit Turf Moor in what are already relegation 6 pointers. January is also set to be a crucial time as the transfer window re-opens. Who Burnley can attract and bring in will be essential to their second half of the season as most would admit some extra quality is needed, although manager Sean Dyche will be looking for the right type of character to fit in at Turf Moor.