Burnley have minerals to make it third time lucky in survival bid
The first time Burnley wore the Premier League badge back in 2009/10 they were found badly wanting defensively, whereas in 2014/15 offensive bluntness was chiefly responsible for dragging them down. There’s reason to believe 2016/17 should have a happier ending though.
Given the briefness of their two prior stints in the top flight, the Clarets are 3/4 second favourites to be relegated six games into the campaign.
Yet slightly paradoxically, Sean Dyche’s troops are now 19/20 to secure safety at the third time of asking.
It may be early days to make bold predictions, but following a convincing 2-0 victory over Watford at Turf Moor on Monday Night Football, the latter price regarding Burnley’s eventual fate seems the far more appealing.
As eluded to above, 82 goals conceded proved an anvil too heavy in ‘09/10, over a a season scarred by managerial instability, an issue highly unlikely to blight the Lancashire outfit this time around with Dyche at the helm and savvier for his ’14/15 experience.
With no bottom-half side shipping fewer than the eight the current crop have six matches in, the foundations certainly remain solid enough to keep the Clarets up.
It’s still debateable whether they will be sharp enough in attack to survive, as a meagre tally of five goals so far does raise concerns, albeit Bournemouth and Stoke have scored fewer, while Sunderland and Swansea have netted the same.
However, the forwards stable does look better equipped than two seasons ago, especially once last season’s top scorer Andre Gray returns from his four-game FA suspension.
Gray, who was the Championship’s leading marksman with 25 last term, in tandem with Welsh international Sam Vokes are both off the mark, while central midfield summer upgrades in the shape of Steven Defour and Jeff Hendrick have also chimed in.
The second-tier champions were the joint top scorers in the division last season also.
It’s vital that Dyche has his first-choice front two fit and available for the majority of the campaign, yet the 2-0 victory over a buoyant Hornets side fresh from roughing Manchester United up is a very positive sign the goals can be shared out.
Home form as usual will be imperative to survival and seeing as Liverpool have also succumbed to their north-western neighbours, Turf Moor looks like being a tricky place to visit this once again this season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing