The opening day of the Premier Leauge season saw Burnley travel down to face Chelsea. Not the best way to start their season, until it was. A stunning 3-2 win over the defending champions set the tone for one of the greatest seasons in the clubs history.
Burnley Setting New Standards
With spending in the Premier League hitting ridiculous levels, Burnley continued with their own plans. Spending just £31m in the summer they cashed out two of their own high priced talent. Michael Keane left for £25m, heading to big-spending Everton, and Andre Gray joining Watford for £18m.
Despite these big names leaving, Burnley carried on where they left off last season. Well organized at the back and physically challenging teams for the whole 90 minutes. It got them off to a great start to the season as they lost just 2 of their opening 10 games. Draws at both Liverpool and Tottenham, and of course, the away win at Chelsea among that good start.
As they faced the middle pack of the table, they went on a run of 6 wins in 8 games to head into Christmas. They went through a bit of a rough spell through Christmas, January, and February, securing just 6 points in a 12 game winless run. But the character instilled by the manager shone through as they would then win 5 in a row to push Arsenal for the 6th spot. Finally settling for 7th, Burnley secured their highest finish in the Premier League era.
The Top Up And Coming English Manager
Sean Dyche further enhanced his reputation as he took one of the smallest teams in the league to new heights. Even without the relative struggles of Eddie Howe, he has proven himself to be the most promising English manager for many years. His ability to consistently put together good seasons in the Premier League on such a small budget is unmatched.
Burnley will play in the Europa League next season which will put an added pressure on their squad. The physical style of football Burnley play and their relatively small squad size may make this very challenging. It will be interesting to see if they try to compete or merely use it as a learning experience. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few seasons it’s that you never under-estimate Burnley.