Category Archives: Burnley

The Battle for Premiership Survival!

The fight for Premiership survival has entered the business end of the season, and each game is slowly becoming increasingly more crucial for the teams fighting to avoid the drop.

With just 7 games to go, it looks beyond possible for both Huddersfield and Fulham to escape relegation.

Huddersfield have a mere 14 points and Fulham just 3 more than that. It looks impossible for them to catch up with Burnley who currently sit 17th with 30 points on the board.

Even if Huddersfield and Fulham were to win all of their remaining games, they would still only sit on 35 and 38 points respectively, which even then leaves both teams looking at relegation.

A Burnley win this weekend would bring the Lancashire-based side up to 33 points, virtually dooming the bottom two clubs, Huddersfield and Fulham, to the drop.

Cardiff still have a fighting chance of staying up, but their inconsistency this season means they find themselves in the relegation zone, but the current form table paints a hopeful story for the Welsh team.  Cardiff sit 12th based on recent form, having had 3 wins in their last 6 games.

Talking of 12th, looking at the present standings in the Premiership, that position is occupied by Bournemouth on 38 points, just 2 points away from the safety margin of 40 points.

When you look at the current form, then it makes dodgy reading for the Cherries, because with 1 win in the last 6, they currently sit 3rd bottom, suggesting that although they appear safe, there is still work to do.

In terms of consistency, Burnley find themselves in the same position in the current form guide as they do actual position, but you would back the clarets to find form at the right time, as seems to happen with them most years under Dyche.

Either way, it appears most clubs are entering the infamous ‘squeaky bum time’ of the season, and if you were a betting man, then you would probably get good odds on betting against the current bottom 3 being the ones to make the drop.

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Brexit: How will it affect the Premier League?

It comes without surprise that all 20 of the current Premier League clubs were against Brexit in the first place. With Britain set to leave the EU on March 29th, and a ‘no deal’ Brexit looming closer by the minute, what will happen to The Premier League and English football in the future? 

 

The first likely outcome of Brexit on English football is the restriction on the movement of players from Europe to the UK, and vice versa. Players will most likely have to acquire work permits when transferring from The UK to Europe. It is estimated that only 60% of all players in the top flight are UK nationals, so there is major potential of future issues within the league. The clarity of movements in the transfer market may be completely hindered, with it being harder for Premier League clubs to sign European talent, and harder for players with UK citizenship to move to European clubs. Furthermore, with the Champions League quarter finals set to take place just two weeks after the March deadline, and four out of eight teams being from the UK, how will the final three stages pan out?

 

Another potential issue Brexit may reveal regards the 1995 Bosman ruling. The Bosman ruling has made a vital development to football around Europe, allowing players to act as free agents once their contract with the club has expired. The ruling came after three separate legal cases between Jean-Marc Bosman and UEFA, The Belgian FA and Bosman’s club at the time – Royal Football Club De Liege. Bosman won his case at The European Court of Justice in 1995. With the UK departing European jurisdiction, and it no longer being a requirement to follow EU law, UK players could potentially be at risk from a lack of free movement. 

 

The FA has already made a pre-Brexit statement regarding all teams in the Football Leagues. Back in November, they stated that every roster must consist of a minimum of 12 players from a UK background. This could have a positive and negative effect on the league; forcing managers to train with a more ‘British’ based team, leading to further player development and possibly lead to a stronger English, Welsh and Scottish national teams. However, it could lead to a lack of European talent in Premier League teams. Talented players such as Van Dijk, De Bruyne, Sane and Hazard may aim to look at joining major clubs in Europe, to mitigate against the uncertainty that Brexit may bring. Premier League scouts will most likely put their focus on British talent, and the number of European players brought to the top flight could be dramatically reduced. Furthermore, more pressure may be weighted on football academies, as there is an increased need for young English talent. This would lead to the increased development of young English players, the likes of Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Callum Hodson-Odoi all generated their success through excelling in their respected football academies. Could Brexit result in a breakthrough for unseen flair?

 

The main question on everyone’s mind is “Can Britain beat Brexit?” Although the outcomes still remain indistinct, it is clear that it could be rough. Lets just hope that it doesn’t tarnish our league and restrict the luminous football we are all so familiar with. 

Bye Vokes and Barnes – Hello Deeney

Despite a run of seven Premier League games without a win, Sean Dyche’s side still sit 8th in the table, a remarkable feat that saw the Clarets boss rewarded with a bumper four and a half year contract.

Masterminding an early season charge for the European places, Dyche guided a group of players, deemed as ‘average’ by many, into the top four.

However, since a 1-0 victory over Stoke in December, which saw the Clarets temporarily climb to fourth, Burnley haven’t recorded a win.

That said, the performances haven’t been bad and it has been a bit of a hard luck story, with a refereeing error preventing Burnley from all three points against Huddersfield and late, late goals against Manchester United and Liverpool saw them drop a further three points.

The main problem for Burnley lately has been scoring goals.

The Clarets have fired blanks in five of their last seven league games, but despite this, Dyche hasn’t entered the market for a striker so far this month.

One man who Dyche knows very well is Troy Deeney, and the Watford striker appears to be on his way out of Vicarage Road.

West Brom have been rumoured to have made a £16 million bid, with Watford holding out for around £20 million, well within Burnley’s parameters.

Premier League rivals, Crystal Palace, also in the market for a new striker, have earmarked Ashley Barnes as one of their top targets, with the Eagles willing to pay £11 million for the former Brighton man.

£11 million for Barnes is a lot of money and should an offer come in, Burnley shouldn’t hesitate to accept it.

As good as Barnes has been for the club, he leaves a lot to be desired at Premier League level, with his technical quality on the ball not the greatest.

The same goes with Sam Vokes, he’s been a great servant for the club over the last 5/6 years, but as the club moves forward, unfortunately, some players fall by the wayside, as they are replaced with players of a higher calibre.

This could be one of those situations, with the money raised from the sale of Barnes being put towards a move for Deeney, who offers more mobility, better quality and more of a goal threat than Barnes or Vokes.

Three signings Burnley should make to secure a European spot

The surprise package of the 17/18 season so far has been Burnley. Sean Dyche’s side sit in 7th place, five points off the last Europa League spot currently held by Arsenal. This transfer window could be pivotal if the Clarets are to finish in a European spot, so who should they target?

Theo Walcott- While it may seems unlikely Walcott would join Burnley, it seems very likely Walcott will leave the Emirates in this window. With a World Cup on the horizon, if he harbours any hopes of being on the plane to Moscow, a move to a team chasing European football where he would be guaranteed to start may be something he should consider. This transfer would highlight Burnley’s intent, and if Walcott could find his feet this move could be beneficial to all parties.

Yuto Nagatomo- Burnley remain a little bit light in the left back position, and Nagatomo would provide good competition for Stephen Ward. The Japanese international has a lot of experience with Inter Milan, winning a Coppa Italia and playing in Europe for the Nerazzurri. Nagatomo is an attacking fullback, capable of playing at wing-back and has interested both West Brom and Newcastle already this season. But with Burnley challenging at the other end of the table, they may be a more appealing offer for the 31 year old.

Jack Grealish- The young winger has shown glimpses of why he was one of the hottest talents in the country a few years ago, and it may be time he stepped up to the Premier League and was given a more important role than bit part role he played with Aston Villa. The 22 year old can play out wide or in a central role, and would be able to offer the Clarets a more creative spark in a team that is largely well structured but lacks a player who can create something out of nothing. Grealish could be the final piece in the jigsaw for Burnley, and could help take them to the next level.

 

Burnley’s two key players so far this season

A solid start to the season sees Burnley sitting seventh, with seven points from four games, which any Clarets fan would’ve taken in June when the fixtures were released.

A win at Stamford Bridge is the highlight, but a late equaliser at Wembley from Chris Wood was a close second.

Sean Dyche is a big believer in instilling a team ethic, but despite this, there have been some stand out performers in the side.

Jack Cork

A summer signing from Swansea City, Cork has been a revelation in the heart of the Burnley midfield, immediately securing himself as one of the first names on the team sheet.

The former Chelsea youngster has slotted seamlessly into the midfield, forging a partnership alongside Steven Defour that looks to be one of the strongest outside of the top 7.

Comfortable on the ball, Cork retains possession well and it is no coincidence that his return to the club has coincided with a change in the way in which the Clarets play, with a more possession based style being implemented.

Cork is also willing to work extremely hard in midfield out of possession and he is one of the leading players in the Burnley squad when it comes to winning the ball back.

Steven Defour

After a difficult second half to last season, which saw him sat on the bench for most of it, or utilised sparingly on the wing.

The Belgian missed a large chunk of the season through injury and his lack of fitness was evident, but after a full preseason, he has come back into the fold looking rejuvenated.

Defour has been instrumental in the heart of the Burnley midfield, pulling the strings in an attacking sense and being the heartbeat of the Clarets side.

The defensive side of his game has also come to the fore this season, his increased fitness has lead to his defensive stats being bumped up and he leads the way in the Premier League in terms of interceptions.