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Well, we have a thread about has the bubble burst for Wolves & Chelsea's Sarri so what about Burnley, they were in the top four last Christmas and finished 7th in the EPL and qualified for the EUROPA, look at them now.

    

By Simon Stone

BBC Sport

1 hour ago | Burnley

On 13 December last year, Burnley beat Stoke to briefly move into the Premier League's top four. If they fail to beat Brighton this weekend, they will spend the same date of 2018 in the division's bottom three.

It is a dramatic change in fortune for Sean Dyche's side, who spent only one week in the bottom half of the table during the entirety of 2017-18 en route to securing a place in the Europa League by finishing seventh, their best performance since 1974.

With their European campaign over before September, the Clarets have won just two of 15 league games in 2018-19, with only Fulham - the team currently propping up the top-flight - having conceded more than their 32 goals.

So, just what has gone wrong at Turf Moor?

What's the problem?

Burnley were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool in their 15th game of this season on Wednesday. They also lost the equivalent game of last campaign, to Leicester at the King Power Stadium. However, as they had won four of the previous five, the damage wasn't too great and they remained in seventh.

They then beat Watford and Stoke to climb into 6th, above Arsenal and level on points with Tottenham and Liverpool. They had won nine games out of 17. Since then, they have won seven out of 36.

The root of the problem initially appears obvious. In their first 15 games last season, Burnley scored 14 goals, exactly the same number as this season.

But, in their first 15 games last term, Burnley kept six clean sheets and conceded 12 times. In 15 this season, they have managed three clean sheets and conceded on average more than two goals a game.

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They are also conceding possession in dangerous areas more often. The number of times per game an opponent wins the ball off the Clarets 40m or less from their goal and produces a shot has risen from 0.7 to 1.2.

In short, Burnley are facing better chances more often this season, so it should be little surprise they are conceding more often.

Victim of their own success?

Dyche has previously said Burnley were suffering from a 'success hangover'.

The theory of 'success hangover' is that there is a natural regression after reaching a peak - which last season may well have represented for many of the Clarets' players. Added to that, individual players have not performed to the same standards, exacerbated by the demands of Europe.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart said on Tuesday a European hangover could not be used as a reason why Burnley's results are poor now.

However, Dyche feels the effects of that Europa League campaign, which started in July, ended in August, included trips to Aberdeen, Istanbul and Athens and travel of more than 9,000 miles, was a contributing factor to Burnley getting just one point from their opening five games.

"We didn't exactly have a flying start," he said. "We have had to work our way back to get the number of points we have got."

Burnley had a phenomenally well-drilled squad last season. Their defence in particular took up strategic positions aimed at reducing the size of their goal, making it easier for goalkeeper Nick Pope to keep all those clean sheets.

For the opening four league games, instead of having five full days to prepare, given the travel requirements around European games, the match itself and recovery time, this was reduced to one-and-a-half.

Did they strengthen properly in the summer?

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All three of Burnley's summer signings arrived late in the transfer window.

Dyche wanted to sign five or six players in the off-season, both to increase the quality and depth of his squad, which he did not believe was strong enough to cope with the twin demands of domestic and European competition.

In particular, he wanted a wide player to provide opportunities and exploit the aerial threat of strikers Chris Wood and Sam Vokes.

Sadly for Dyche, the wide player never came. Burnley signed three players, central defender Ben Gibson from Middlesbrough for a club record £15m, goalkeeper Joe Hart from Manchester City for £3.5m and striker Matej Vydra from Derby for an undisclosed fee.

Gibson is yet to play in the Premier League after having a hernia operation in September. Vydra - last season's Championship top-scorer - has started three Premier League games and made a further four substitute appearances, coming on for the final seven minutes against Liverpool on Wednesday, scoring once.

Hart is an ever present in the league but his arrival is not without controversy as the former England keeper was signed when first choice Nick Pope suffered a shoulder injury against Aberdeen in July and popular England international Tom Heaton was suffering from a minor calf strain.

In November, former Manchester City head of acquisition Mike Rigg was brought in as technical director to act as a buffer between Dyche and chairman Mike Garlick, who conducts the majority of Burnley's transfer deals.

"It is a myth we don't want to sign players," said Dyche. "We are constantly looking. We don't have masses of money so we have to be more detailed and tailor the market to your needs.

"We are behind other clubs. It takes financial input, it takes bodies. Mike Rigg is not going to do that overnight. Can he add to it? Yes. Can he add to it instantly? Let's wait and see. That role is longer term."

What happens now - and is Dyche under pressure?

With trips to Arsenal and Tottenham to follow, Saturday's home game against Brighton has taken on huge significance.

If they do not win at the weekend, there is a chance the Clarets will be bottom of the table on Christmas Day. In the history of the Premier League, only four sides have avoided relegation from that position. The most recent was Swansea in 2017.

There have been some murmurings against Dyche from fans who feel, after introducing a more expansive style last season, mainly thanks to the midfield influences of Jack Cork and Steven Defour, Burnley have regressed this season, not only in their results but the manner in which they have been achieved.

The vast majority of fans remain solidly behind the manager though, as do the club, just as they did when Burnley were relegated from the top flight in 2015, bouncing straight back as champions 12 months later.

Appointed to replace Eddie Howe in October 2012, Dyche is the fourth longest serving manager in England. For the majority of that time, Burnley have been a success story.

"For five and a half years out of six, the fans have had a lot to enjoy," he said. "We have hit a tough time and it is not fun.

"I love football, the bad stuff and the good stuff. But I am pretty secure in my thinking. When there is outside noise, it sometimes gets a bit cloudy. Our job is to clear the clouds."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/46468688

 

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The problem is that they're basically shite and last season they had a peak year which usually would have led them to finish a safe and impressive 10th or so, but due to the absolutely shite standard of Everton, Leicester and co last season it became a surprise run to 7th.

Their performances this season are about what you'd expect from Burnley, it just looks worse because they finished so high last season.

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I think @RandoEFC has basically taken what I was going to say. I don't say it to sound bitter at all because they were there on merit and I actually wanted them to do well in Europe, but the standard of the league was abysmal last year (and I don't think it's much better, if at all this year either) and they were the best of a bad bunch. I don't think there's a huge difference between all of the bottom 14 in all honesty. I'm not exaggerating when I say 7th is probably nearer to 20th than 6th in terms of ability (although Manchester United's shocking showing is distorting that, and it's probably harsh on Everton too this year).

Burnley went on a run of 11 games without a win last year and went from 8th to 7th in this period of time. That kind of qualifies what I'm getting at.

Leicester had it there for the taking with our run in but totally fucked it at home, we played about 7 home games all against bottom half sides and didn't win a single one of them.

Everton panicked into Sam Allardyce last season which kind of tells you how their season was going, and they still managed to get 8th out of it.

It is quite clear though that Burnley have lost a lot of their defensive resilience. Is Hart really a problem? He seems to be bad luck, but is he bad luck or is he just crap?

They're having a shocking season and they really could drop.

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17 minutes ago, Dan said:

Is Hart really a problem? He seems to be bad luck, but is he bad luck or is he just crap?

Both :rofl:

I feel sorrier for poor old Hart than Dyche if Dyche does get the bullet some other club will grab him but Hart, from Manchester to Tranmere, Blackpool, Birmingham, Torino and West Ham all on loan, finally gets a deal with Burnley, they will more than likely get relegated and the next manager that takes Burnley on in Championship will say to Hart "Sorry, I don't want you, goodbye". xD

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I think Hart's been one of the few people who've actually performed well for Burnley.

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They have a style of play based on extremely fine margins of chance. They concede a lot of chances but last season made a lot of blocks/saves, and took the few chances they created.

When you play that way, it only takes a tiny dip in your luck, or a tiny drop in concentration to see your results plummet. And luck has a way of evening-out over time.

I wouldn't say the overall quality of their play has dropped at all.

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19 minutes ago, CaaC - John said:

Both :rofl:

I feel sorrier for poor old Hart than Dyche if Dyche does get the bullet some other club will grab him but Hart, from Manchester to Tranmere, Blackpool, Birmingham, Torino and West Ham all on loan, finally gets a deal with Burnley, they will more than likely get relegated and the next manager that takes Burnley on in Championship will say to Hart "Sorry, I don't want you, goodbye". xD

I always thought Hart was a bit over-rated but his career has gone utterly pear shaped in the last two and a half years. It's been a disaster since the Euros.

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31 minutes ago, Inverted said:

They have a style of play based on extremely fine margins of chance. They concede a lot of chances but last season made a lot of blocks/saves, and took the few chances they created.

When you play that way, it only takes a tiny dip in your luck, or a tiny drop in concentration to see your results plummet. And luck has a way of evening-out over time.

I wouldn't say the overall quality of their play has dropped at all.

Look at them yesterday, too. It's all well and good if you're very organised and can snatch a goal, but if the other side starts taking the game to you and brings on quality attacking players it's pretty easy for a match to go pear shaped on them.

I just think they aren't very good, tbh. They're disciplined and well organised, but they don't offer much in the way of creativity at all. So it's easy for them to be on the back foot in a lot of matches and as you say, it requires them getting lucky to get results because one mistake can utterly fuck them. And after they went behind yesterday, they left themselves so vulnerable to the counter.

I think they got very lucky last year by playing on those fine margins. Because I don't think they're a top 7 side at all offering so little on the ball and I don't think there's substantially much difference in how they set up or play this season compared to last season.

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43 minutes ago, Inverted said:

They have a style of play based on extremely fine margins of chance. They concede a lot of chances but last season made a lot of blocks/saves, and took the few chances they created.

When you play that way, it only takes a tiny dip in your luck, or a tiny drop in concentration to see your results plummet. And luck has a way of evening-out over time.

I wouldn't say the overall quality of their play has dropped at all.

When we played them away last season towards the end I was expecting them to shut us out with ease. They went 2-0 up very early on and I thought my god, we're going to get hammered by a side who is built on winning 1-0.

But from about 20 minutes onwards we pretty much outplayed them and we really should've gotten something from the game. That isn't me falling into the Burnley trap either, we had decent chances to score to my memory and only took the one. If I was a Burnley fan leaving that, I'd obviously be delighted but I'd admit we got quite fortunate.

It used to rile me when people called us lucky all of the time in 2015/16 yet I found myself having a similar thought pattern for Burnley at times last season, although of course the difference is our outcome and performance level were both significantly higher than what Burnley achieved.

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Last season was a fluke. 

Last season Burnley had 379 shots, only five teams had fewer shots. 

Last season Burnley had 127 shots on target, only five teams had fewer shots on target.

Last season Burnley conceded 562 shots, only Stoke had more shots on their goal. 

Last season Burnley conceded 164 shots on target, that was remarkably mid-table, ten teams conceded more shots on target. 

Burnley were clinical in front of goal. They scored 36 goals in the league last season and conceded 39, so found a way to defend that worked for them. The signs are kind of in those stats though, the number of shots on target they had is pretty low and the number of shots they had on their goal was only topped by a side that got relegated. 

They’re now back at a level that is more representative of their ability. 

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Their defensive woes wouldn't be so much of an issue if they had decent strikeforce to get them out of trouble but with Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood as your main men up front it really doesn't inspire confidence.

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1 minute ago, JJPWORTHING said:

Their defensive woes wouldn't be so much of an issue if they had decent strikeforce to get them out of trouble but with Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood as your main men up front it really doesn't inspire confidence.

Welcome to the forum @JJPWORTHING :bye:. Totally agree too, hardly a strike force that you would lose sleep over! There's a rumour that Jay Rodriguez could be coming back but don't know if he's the answer?

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4 minutes ago, Cannabis said:

Welcome to the forum @JJPWORTHING :bye:. Totally agree too, hardly a strike force that you would lose sleep over! There's a rumour that Jay Rodriguez could be coming back but don't know if he's the answer?

Rodriguez is doing the business in the championship but has never been clinical in the prem and I don't think it's worth the risk considering Burnley's position

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13 hours ago, JJPWORTHING said:

Their defensive woes wouldn't be so much of an issue if they had decent strikeforce to get them out of trouble but with Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood as your main men up front it really doesn't inspire confidence.

Would agree that those options are pretty dour, but their workrate and physical attributes are pretty crucial for how Burnley play though.

If Burnley had a player with a bit more about them technically up front, but who was less of a handful, would they even be able to get the ball to them?

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14 hours ago, JJPWORTHING said:

Their defensive woes wouldn't be so much of an issue if they had decent strikeforce to get them out of trouble but with Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood as your main men up front it really doesn't inspire confidence.

I agree. There's not much quality up top at all. But they do suit Burnley's style of play. More aggression and physicality and any technical quality.
Welcome to the forum by the way :) 

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Just now, Stan said:

I agree. There's not much quality up top at all. But they do suit Burnley's style of play. More aggression and physicality and any technical quality.
Welcome to the forum by the way :) 

Their style works in the Burnley system but at the moment it just isn't working and its getting to the point that Dyche may have to choose whether he wants to bend his philosophy for the sake of survival or stick with it and risk going down.

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