It’s an opinion that pundits and fans alike will strongly disagree with – but Burnley will survive the drop.
But in order to achieve this, Burnley and Sean Dyche must spend wisely in the January transfer window, given how thin the squad already is and the injuries that will bestow them as the weeks go by. Concerning injuries, the Clarets two front men, Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, who were so lethal for them last season, are currently out and it is showing in the team’s performance.
Despite the negatives, the Lancashire club have shown that it’s not impossible to score without their two main strikers, as Michael Kightly and stalwart Ross Wallace helped rescue a point at Leicester. However, it is a concern to see that the two forward acquisitions that they brought in this summer, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell, have yet to find the net.
The Clarets have only scored three goals so far this season, the first coming from Scott Arfield on the opening day against Chelsea, with the team then failing to find the back of the net in their next five games, before a 2-2 draw against Leicester at the weekend. Dyche, however, was quick to hail Burnley’s attack after their result at the King Power Stadium.
He said, “We believe in the team and the team believe in each other. We created chances and looked a real threat.”
So after being written off by so many so early in the season (some even wrote off their chances of staying in the Premier League the moment that they were promoted), how can Burnley prove the footballing world wrong?
What needs to be done
Well, it is vital to have a lot of stability at the club, something relegation rivals Newcastle don’t currently have. Alan Pardew’s position on Tyneside has been under scrutiny for months now and the termination of his contract now seems a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.
However, Dyche is a man who is strongly backed by the club and its fans and it seems everyone is supportive of his ideas and philosophies. This is such an essential point, as pressure on the manager and uncertainty surrounding his future can affect the team on the pitch, and considering the few points that have separated mid-table from the relegation zone in recent years, 100% concentration is required in every match.
Secondly, Sean Dyche must use the January transfer window wisely. A decent signing could be the fine margin between finishing 17th and finishing 18th. The current squad, which is largely made up of the same players that served them so well in the Championship last season, has proven that it can hold its own defensively, having already picked up three clean sheets in their first seven games. In spite of their solid defence, their attack leaves a lot to be desired as they are the only team, along with Newcastle, who are yet to register a win.
However, Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Leicester will leave Dyche feeling positive that he can build on the result, especially as their next three of four games are at Turf Moor, meaning they will receive the same backing that they got on the weekend, when 2196 travelling supporters roared them on to a point away from home.
The Burnley boss was quick to praise the fans, following up on his comments about the team, he added, “All backed by a tremendous fan base today, I must say I thought they were absolutely exceptional.
“I’ve had some amazing times at this football club, as we all have, but I thought today the feel of the fans was immense.
“When Ross scored I was thinking to myself ‘that’s for you’ because they were top draw in the corner and their support was tremendous.”
Lastly, Burnley will simply need sheer grit and determination to help them stay up. Without certain players returning from injury or being brought in during the January transfer window, sheer spirit alone won’t keep them up, but with the right tools and tactics, they might just be able to grab an unexpected point or three here and there.
On the whole, it’s far too early to judge whether a team will be going down, staying up or claiming a Champions League spot. It’s immensely unfair when pundits and journalists condemn Burnley to relegation, considering they have put in some solid performances and haven’t looked out of place in the Premier League.
With Danny Ings looking likely to return from a hamstring injury before their next game, at home to West Ham, with Sam Vokes also a possibility, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic at Turf Moor. The sooner Burnley register their first win, the sooner they can kick on and start climbing up the table.