20 Days of the Premier League is back with Burnley, who finished one spot above the drop in 17th place.
A seventh-place finish three years ago seems like a lifetime ago, as the Lancashire faithful have fallen to 10th and 17th since their magical journey to the Europa League. This coming season could be cruel to Burnley, who has a massive test ahead of them.
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Burnley’s Narrow Survival
Burnley never rose above 14th in the table last season and spent 11 of the 38 matchdays in 17th, where they finished. They scored the second-fewest goals and conceded the fifth-most goals and were relatively lucky to survive in the top flight; a win over Fulham, who finished 18th, in the final month of the season proved decisive and helped them stay up, though not by much.
Chris Wood led the club with 12 goals in 33 appearances, while nobody else on the team managed over three goals; Burnley also underperformed their expected goals mark, which is quite hard to do given how low the total was and shows just how terrible they were in attack.
Frequently lining up in a 4-4-1-1, Burnley played a low block and sank their central midfielders towards the defensive third and attempted to clog up the field and avoid losing rather than taking the game to their opponent and going for the win.
The club also only managed to steal four points off of top-six finishers, three of which came in a 1-0 win over Liverpool.
A Lack of Transfers
Burnley was not incredibly active in the transfer market this summer, only luring one player away from their former club to join them; this individual was Nathan Collins, a 20-year-old center-back from Stoke City that cost them $15.4 million.
Fortunately for the club, they did not lose any of their featured players and will be able to seek revenge with a familiar group of faces. They also returned a lot of players from loan spells, who can now be used in the regular eleven.
Sean Dyche will return as the longest-tenured manager by a Premier League team, having been with Burnley since 2012. He has achieved promotion two times and had a successful campaign to European football, but a relegation could spell the end of his near-10-year service to the club.
PRE-SEASON | The Clarets will now take on Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park this Saturday, replacing the cancelled Nottingham Forest fixture ⬇️
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) July 29, 2021
Burnley To Avoid the Drop?
Based on last year’s run of play, Burnley is expected to finish near the bottom of the table. Normally, the last of the three promoted Championship teams is favored to finish last, but with the newcomers all being competitive sides and Burnley having a lifeless attack and porous defense, they could very well finish in 20th this year.
The team will be tasked with tightening down the gaps in their defense while also supplying more service and support to Wood up front, who did all that he could down the stretch last year to guarantee their survival.
The lack of real transfer activity this summer signifies that the club is not expecting much out of this campaign and is ready to plunge down to the championship, where they could then spend some money and challenge for promotion again.
The Premier League is the home of the unexpected, but Burnley does not look like a threat for anything other than relegation.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.