Every season sees a team who was widely tipped to struggle get off to a flying start and confound expectations by competing with the big guns for a spell. The difference with Burnley this time out is that we’re now in December and they’re still there, proudly sitting in sixth spot looking down on Spurs and only a point adrift of Liverpool. They continue to defy the odds and you can too at Netbet Sport if you believe Burnley’s fantastic run is not yet over.
If it was to end this weekend however with a loss away at Leicester followed by a sustained slump in form it would still represent a tremendous campaign for the Clarets come May. That though would be looking at things entirely negatively and Burnley simply don’t do pessimism.
Their astonishing first third of 2017/18 has ignited not only the club but the town and better yet there is cause enough to believe that this might just be the start of something special.
Dyche is king of all he surveys
An oft repeated footballing axiom is that is pays to keep faith with a manager and longevity is key to foster a consistent vision. In Dyche they certainly have that with the gravel-voiced gaffer now celebrating five years at Turf Moor. In that time he has twice got them promoted into the top flight and now knows every strength and weakness that the club has, from its foibles to the outstanding work of the behind-the-scenes staff.
It’s not just Dyche’s superb marshalling of a squad to over-achieve that is serving Burnley so well, it’s his familiarity with the tealady that means they’re on first name terms.
They have goals in their locker
It has rightfully been pointed out that Burnley’s well-organised back-line is one of the chief reasons why they presently reside at such heady heights but even though they have scored half of Liverpool or Arsenal’s tally so far they still have the capacity to hurt opponents where it matters.
In Chris Wood they boast a targetman who has now found his feet following his summer move from Leeds and should the New Zealander hit a rich vein of scoring form – as his fourth of the campaign last weekend suggests – then Burnley will benefit hugely. Last season the tall forward banged home 27 as the Championship’s leader marksman.
They have infinitely more than just spirit
Team-spirit and fighting qualities are a must for any side with financial limitations who aspire to a top ten finish and there’s no question that Burnley have each by the bucket-load.
However, to diminish their fine achievement so far by exclusively putting it down to showing plenty of heart would be a great disservice to the excellence of Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, and Steven Defour. These trio is particular have sparkled this term and in possession the Clarets have played some wonderful football as their opening day shock at Stamford Bridge proved from the get-go.
They hardly concede
The reason why Burnley have the third best defence in the league is very simple – in Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, and Ward they have a well-drilled quartet who give nothing away cheaply and make opposing strikers work so very hard for their weekly paycheck.
That this has been achieved even after the substantial loss of Michael Keane is a huge testament to Dyche’s training ground nous while additionally their fortitude at the back affords their strikers an off day.