After an opening run of seven games without a win threatened to doom Burnley to a return to the championship, Sean Dyche managed to get his team to safety and ensure the survival of the Premier League for the fifth season in a row. While 39 points and 17th place were Burnley’s lowest record and last position since his return to the top flight in 2016, they ended up 11 points ahead of the deficit. Another job done. The culmination of an unspectacular season was ending Liverpool’s home streak unbeaten with their first win at Anfield since 1974.
Previous transfer window
Despite its recent takeover by US consortium ALK Capital, Burnley has yet to see any significant investment on the field – the £ 12m gain from Stoke’s Nathan Collins was their only major transfer. There have also been no significant departures despite rival Premier League clubs showing interest in wingers Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski – who has only 12 months left. Burnley is running out of time if they want to cash in the defender. “We are close, especially in the wide areas,” Dyche assesses his squad before the new season.
Sean Dyche is the Premier League’s longest-serving coach – but how much longer? The 50-year-old has entered the last 12 months of his contract and while he is a legend at Turf Moor and the club are ready to renew it, the fact that he is letting the contract expire bodes bad for Burnley. Dyche’s frustration, particularly with Burnley’s lack of progress in the transfer market, could lead him to listen to offers from other Premier League clubs after years of association with other clubs. “It’s an active situation,” was his latest comment on the talks.
While Chris Wood led the pre-goal lead with 12 Premier League goals last season (the second highest on the team was three), it’s usually because goalkeeper Nick Pope had an outstanding game between the posts when Burnley wins . No other Premier League goalkeeper had a higher savings rate than the England international (77 percent) last season and Burnley lost all six games he didn’t play in last season. After missing the EM because of knee surgery, Pope is fit again and will again be the key to Burnley’s hopes for survival.
What would success be?
Again, it’s survival. This is not due to a lack of ambition, but to the size of the club and the lack of resources Burnley has available compared to the rest of the league. After securing their Premier League status last season, the goal was simply reset and the 40-point race started all over again. Off the field of play, securing the futures of Dyche, Tarkowski and McNeil would be a success and would help stabilize the near-term future of the club under ALK Capital.
Opening of five games
(h) Brighton, Saturday, August 14th, 3pm
(a) Liverpool, Saturday 21 August at 12:30 p.m.
(h) Leeds United, Sunday 29 August at 2 p.m.
(a) Everton, Monday, September 13th, 8pm
(h) Arsenal, Saturday, September 18, 3 p.m.
Probable first XI line-up
(4-4-2) Nick Pope; Matthew Lowton, Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Erik Pieters; Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork; Dwight McNeil; Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes
Bookmaker ranking – 16th