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Football News: Burnley Season Review

Burnley Season Review
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Burnley Season Review

The common feeling is that Sean Dyche has performed a minor miracle just to get Burnley into the Premier League, let alone keep them there once more. There is certainly some justification for that, though it is more due to hard work than luck. Hard work from all involved within the club, who have recovered from near-bankruptcy and having to sell their best players to survive to stand in their current place, all under the reign of Dyche. In many ways Dyche is a bit of a footballing dinosaur, with his 4-4-2 and direct football, but in so many other ways he is constantly looking to the future.

When the profits from their first spell in the Prem arrived, he sat down with the chairman and together they came up with a plan to spend the money improving the club's infrastructure. Rather than Dyche being like so many other managers and demanding a huge portion for transfers, instead he looked long term and tried to do what was right for the club. That is an admirable trait, one which very few modern day managers possess. Most would rather get the chequebook out than spend the hours on the training ground improving the players to get more out of them.

However there are a fair few reasons to criticise Dyche, as well as lots to praise him for. His sometimes bizarre comments regarding other, foreign, managers, which are clearly based on him being irked to be ignored whenever discussions of top managers come about. The style of play of his team is lacking in excitement to watch, it is very similar to Tony Pulis, physicality over quality, which is not the most pleasant on the eye. Also his inability to get results on the road, despite the Clarets being so good at home, is a major problem.


Sean Dyche

How on earth do you mark Dyche for that last season? On the one hand there was a very good home record, keeping Burnley in the Prem on a budget that is a fraction of the opponents and with facilities most Championship clubs would laugh at. On the other hand there is that woeful away record, the style of play and the odd public outbursts, which bordered on EDL-style rants about foreigners. In so many respects there is a lot to like about Dyche and the job he is doing, but there are so many aspects that lessen the respect he gets, many purely of his own making.

Dyche needs to stop worrying about what the media say about him and start concentrating on putting together a team, and style of play, that can win away games and entertain the fans. What does it matter if the media talk more about other teams? Why does he keep needing to make it into a foreign v English thing? Clearly that is not the issue or Eddie Howe would not get so much hype and recognition. So remove that chip off your shoulder and get on with your job, rather than whining please Mr Dyche.

Marks out of 10: 5


Lukas Jutkiewicz

The striker made a couple of late sub appearances before moving on to Birmingham City on loan on transfer deadline day in August. The move was made permanent in January.

Marks out of 10: 0


David Jones

The central midfielder started in the opening day defeat against Swansea City, then promptly moved on to Sheffield Wednesday on a free transfer.

Marks out of 10: 0


Jon Flanagan

Flanagan joined on a season-long loan from Liverpool, as first team opportunities were difficult to come by there since a long term injury saw him miss a season. It was little easier at Burnley, as he struggled to break into the side there, showing little sign of being back to the level he showed when he first burst into the Liverpool team. It was not a successful season for him.

Marks out of 10: 1


Patrick Bamford

Came in on loan from Chelsea, but was sent back in January after failing to make a meaningful impression on the team with a handful of late substitute appearances his sole contribution. Quite frankly, Bamford looked utterly out of his depth in the Premier League.

Marks out of 10: -2


Tom Heaton

The goalkeeper has come a long way since joining Burnley on a free transfer from Bristol City. From a Manchester United reject struggling to make his way in the lower leagues, Heaton is now captaining a Premier League side and a full England international. In his 35 Premier League appearances, Heaton managed to get 10 clean sheets and made himself a very highly regarded keeper. You have to wonder where the Clarets would be without him.

Marks out of 10: 8


Nick Pope

A back up keeper who was Burnley's cup keeper last season. The FA Cup run only came to an end when he was dropped for club captain Heaton.

Marks out of 10: 4


Paul Robinson

Robinson is Burnley's experienced back up keeper, something which is very much in vogue in the Premier League. Every team seems to have a veteran 3rd keeper, one who expects to do little more than sit on the bench each week. Robinson did manage the full 90 minutes in 3 Premier League games, all of them defeats.

Marks out of 10: 0


Michael Keane

Since joining from Man Utd, Keane has really started to build a name for himself. Keane has built a solid partnership with fellow Burnley centre back Ben Mee, one which has given the team a platform to pick up some surprising results, particularly at home. Despite him having no outstanding qualities, he is decent on the ball, decent in the air, fairly strong, fairly quick, decent reading of the game and decent positioning, his performances in the Burnley team have attracted attention from bigger clubs.

While he does have no outstanding qualities, he also has no glaring weaknesses for opponent's to exploit. That makes him a good partner for just about any other centre back, as he can adjust to fit to their game.

Marks out of 10: 7


James Tarkowski

Brought in from Brentford last season to be injury cover for first choice centre half pairing Mee and Keane, but he usually ends up as a late sub in defensive midfield as extra cover. He did manage to get a run at the end of the season to add to playing in the cups, meaning he was part of their run to the 5th round of the FA Cup.

Marks out of 10: 4.5


Kevin Long

The Irish defender is 4th choice at the Clarets, as such he got very little first team football, just 4 appearances in total.

Marks out of 10: 2


Ben Mee

Mee joined Burnley after graduating from Manchester City's youth academy and has now had six seasons as a Clarets player. While known best as a left back, last season he was used only at centre back, where he excelled, most Burnley fans believing he was the best centre half at the club.

Marks out of 10: 7.5


Stephen Ward

One of the reasons Dyche can claim to have performed a miracle by keeping Burnley in the Prem is Ward's position as first choice in the team. While a regular in the Republic of Ireland team, Ward is barely good enough in the Championship, in the Prem he is completely out of his depth. Tall and strong but lacking in quality and ability, they desperately need an upgrade at left back.

Marks out of 10: 2.5


Matthew Lowton

The right back is very much first choice in the Premier League, with an excellent ability to deliver a cross into dangerous areas. That is his main strength and it is used extensively by the Burnley side, who have a forward pairing that thrive on crosses.

Marks out of 10: 6


Tendayi Darikwa

Very much used in the cups but unable to break into the Premier League side. Needs to improve his final ball.

Marks out of 10: 2.5


Ashley Westwood

The much maligned Westwood left Aston Villa, where he was far from a favourite of the fans, to join the Clarets in a late January move. The midfielder is a tidy passer, but is often criticised for taking the safe, easy option on the ball, a legacy of his schooling in the academy at Crewe Alexandra. Westwood does mostly sit deep, looking to regain the ball and play it quickly, very rarely looking to get forward and do the things which excite fans, such as through balls, crosses, dribbles and shots. That is probably why he got no assists or goals last season.

Marks out of 10: 3.5


Jeff Hendrick

A big money, for Burnley, signing that provides industry and energy in the midfield since his summer move from Derby County. The Irish international is usually a box to box midfielder, who loves to drive forward at every chance, but his role has been a little more restricted in the Clarets system. Hendrick was pretty much ever present in the league and his workrate enabled Burnley to play two up top.

Marks out of 10: 6.5


Steven Defour

When Burnley broke their transfer record to sign the Belgian midfielder (a record that they have already broken a number of times since), it seemed like a major coup for the Lancashire club. With over 50 caps for his country, and a past that saw him coveted by the likes of Man Utd boss Alex Ferguson before injuries blighted his career, it seemed like a transfer that could not fail. However fitness issues and struggles to settle in England have meant it was not the big success expected. The odd promising appearance has not been enough to cement him a regular place in the starting line up.

Marks out of 10: 2.5


Joey Barton

After his Scottish adventure with Rangers ended in unpleasantness and acrimony (pretty much the distasteful story of Barton's career), Barton returned to Burnley on a free in the January window. The return was little short of disastrous. Even looking past the idiotic actions in an FA Cup match with non-league Lincoln City (when he was shown up as the petulant bully he is), even if you forget about the ban, his form was nothing short of dreadful. Burnley were effectively playing with a man down in every game, worse as his midfield partner was having to carry him each time.

For all his vileness, stupidity and violence, both on and off the pitch, Barton can usually be relied upon to be a fairly decent Premier League standard midfielder. Which is why he is free to walk amongst us decent human beings, instead of being caged up like he should be. However it seems his off pitch issues have caught up with his on pitch ability, at long last.

Marks out of 10: -10


Dean Marney

Marney is one of those midfielders who are more noticeable when they are out of the team, as the work they do is the graft that often goes under the radar and does not show up on Match of the Day or YouTube highlight packages. Marney has been one of the unsung heroes of this Burnley team, so it was a huge blow when he suffered an ACL injury in January that ended his season early.

Marks out of 10: 5


George Boyd

Boyd covers every blade of grass, but very rarely seems to have a positive effect on a game, despite constantly charging forward at every opportunity. Perhaps his wayward final ball shows that Nottingham Forest were right to cancel his transfer, when they tried to sign him from Peterborough United, due to a failed eye test! That lack of quality has held the team back from having the success their effort deserves.

Marks out of 10: 4.5


Robbie Brady

Brady became Burnley's record signing when he joined them from Norwich City on deadline day in the January window. With a lovely left foot which provides excellent delivery of crosses and from dead balls, his lack of positional sense has held him back. Very much a lower end Prem player, he just lacks that bit of intelligence to his play or physicality which would enable him to make the most out of his left peg.

Marks out of 10: 3


Scott Arfield

The Canadian international midfielder is very much of the style Dyche loves in wide areas. Industrious, always willing to track back, never stops running, but Arfield does lack that final bit of quality, like so many others in the Clarets squad. Scotland-born Arfield had never been to Canada before getting his international call-up for the country, oddly enough.

Marks out of 10: 5


Michael Kightly

The winger struggled badly for form and fitness, only making one start and 4 substitute appearances before being sent out on loan to Burton Albion in the January window. He was released on his return at the end of the season.

Marks out of 10: 0


Johann Berg Gudmundsson

At Charlton Athletic last season and then during the Euros with his country Iceland, Gudmundsson had attracted a lot of attention with his performances, but Burnley were the ones who picked him up. However, he struggled with the change from Championship to Premier League and from Charlton to Burnley. Injuries did not help his transition and he was not as effective as hoped.

Marks out of 10: 1.5


Andre Gray

Gray offers extreme pace and power, of a kind very few others possess, while still being a very decent footballer. He certainly does not look out of place in the Premier League in terms of ability. Allied to his determination and hard work, Gray has been another in a string of excellent forwards that the Clarets have had in recent years. His big problem is not that he has not scored enough, though 9 goals is not the best return, it is that his lack of goals comes from a desire from him to get back and help out defensively.

Marks out of 10: 6.5


Ashley Barnes

A big, bustling old style centre forward target man who has worked his way up from the non-league ranks to be a regular in the Premier League. Barnes, a youth international for Austria's U-20s, offers an aerial threat and brute strength along with an extremely high workrate. Like Gray and Vokes, his willingness to track back and help out defensively does affect his goal return.

Marks out of 10: 6.5


Sam Vokes

Vokes is a very similar player to Barnes, though a little more technical and a little less powerful. The Welsh international does have the same struggle to provide a genuine goal threat as his forward partners, though he did end the season as top scorer on 10 goals.

Marks out of 10: 7

Written by Tris Burke June 26 2017 05:41:26