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Football News: Team Review - Burnley

Team Review - Burnley
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Team Review - Burnley

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League Position: 15th

 

Goalkeepers:

Nick Pope
Bailey Peacock-Farrell
Will Norris

It was only a couple of seasons ago that the Clarets boasted three England internationals as their goalkeeper strength, the lack of investment since then is most evident in the weakness of this season's trio. While Pope is an excellent shotstopper, he is very suspect positionally but well suited to the way Burnley play. The other two are a worry, Peacock-Farrell has some potential, but shows little sign of ever pushing Pope and Norris looks a long way from Pope's level. They are definitely in need of a keeper to at least push Pope.

 


Defenders:

James Tarkowski
Ben Mee
Kevin Long
Jimmy Dunne
Richard Nartey
Charlie Taylor
Erik Pieters
Matthew Lowton
Phil Bardsley

A solid, uninspiring bunch of defenders, with age not on their side in the main. They desperately need to upgrade if they are to avoid another relegation battle next season. In particular the Clarets need one centre-back good enough to play regularly as Mee is ageing and injuries are becoming a problem. At right-back Bardsley is well past it (and was only good enough to be back up at his best), while Lowton has looked like a player whose legs are going for a couple of seasons now. With both in the 30s, they will have to look to do something at right-back too. The lack of quality in there also restricts badly their ability to try a different style of play.

 


Midfielders:

Jack Cork
Ashley Westwood
Josh Brownhill
Dale Stephens
Robbie Brady
Dwight McNeil
Johann Berg Gudmundsson

They desperately need an infusion of fresh legs in there and an increase in quality. It is a very workmanlike group and, other than McNeil, another ageing bunch. If the new owner fails to deliver some investment in this squad, you have to wonder how much longer Dyche can keep this team in the Premier League.

 


Forwards:

Chris Wood
Ashley Barnes
Jay Rodriguez
Matej Vydra

Three solid Championship-level forwards and one destroyed by injuries in Rodriguez. The only good thing about their forwards is that they have four of them, which enables Dyche to play two up top each week. With the lack of quality in the team in general, that allows them to simplify things by throwing the ball into the box at every opportunity, knowing that at least one forward is likely to be in there to try and get on the end of it. Once more the age of the players has to be a worry.

 


Manager: Sean Dyche

The more I look at this squad, the more my admiration for Dyche grows. It is a miracle that this team is able to survive in the Premier League year after year. The style of play does leave a lot to desire as a spectacle but I see little option but to play the way he does. The only real quality you could say of his midfield and full-backs are their ability to deliver good quality crosses into the penalty box. Sometimes you just have to play to your strengths and forget about everything else.

 


Conclusion:

Unless the new owners invest significantly into both the first team and improving the infrastructure, then this is a club that is only fighting against the inevitable. The decline of the squad over the last couple of years is quite shocking and it is almost miraculous the job Dyche is doing. In fact I would have to say, ensuring Dyche stays and is happy for the long term should be the club's number 1 priority, over and above anything else. Without him, this is a team that would be lucky not to be fighting against relegation in the Championship.

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Written by Tris Burke March 22 2021 07:01:01