Burnley news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.
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Okay, time to focus on the Clarets…
2019-20 finish: 10th (15W-9D-14L, 54 points)
Head coach: Sean Dyche
2019-20 PL top scorer: Chris Wood (14 PL goals)
ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Burnley: A crossroads season for Burnley
Can a club like Burnley — given its modest resources and stadium limitations — establish itself as a perennial top-half side in the Premier League? Since coming back up to the PL in 2016, Burnley have managed finishes of 16th, 7th, 15th and 10th — that’s half their time spent in the top half, and half spent battling relegation. Sean Dyche has worked miracles, but the the longest-tenured manager in the PL is clearly, and understandably, growing more and more dubious over his long-term future at the club.
Earlier this summer, he had the following to say regarding the club’s ambition and strategies: “As long as I know what the challenge is, I’m happy to manage. As long as I know what the guidelines are I’m expected to work under — it only starts getting tricky when those guidelines start getting blurred or they start getting stretched, and they’re not stretched in the right direction.”
Burnley news: The current situation
Much of Dyche’s complaints center around 1) the club’s failure to re-sign current key players to long-term contracts and secure their future at Burnley; and 2) the club’s hesitance to supply Dyche with the funds he feels he needs to strengthen the team in the transfer market. Dyche has been at Burnley for nearly eight years (October 2012), and he’s managed to do more with less the entire time. At a certain point, a manager will run out of patience and wish to challenge himself at a higher level. Perhaps Burnley could be that club which takes Dyche to a higher level, but it can no longer be Dyche singlehandedly dragging the club to new heights with little or no help.
Key Burnley news, season objectives
- Burnley matched their best-ever PL campaign last season, tallying 54 points to match their haul in 2017-18, though they finished three places lower in the table in 2019-20.
- Star center back James Tarkowski is once again linked with a move away from Turf Moor, as West Ham United reportedly line up the 27-year-old England international. Losing Tarkowski would be a massive blow to Burnley, and could ultimately be the final straw for Dyche.
- Burnley lost just two of their final 16 games last season, a time in which the rumblings of Dyche’s dismay were beginning to go public.
ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Burnley in 2020-21
If history repeats itself, Burnley are due for another relegation battle this season. After surviving the drop, they have twice jumped up to mid-table seemingly out of nowhere, only to fall back into the bottom few places the next season. Couple that with the discontent between the manager and boardroom, and it could be a tough season for the Clarets.
It’s difficult to say whether or not they’ll be near the relegation battle or fully immersed in it until their transfer business is done — presuming there will eventually be some new players brought in. Two or three solid signings should see them land somewhere between 12th and 14th, but failing to do so will almost certainly see them fall into the bottom half-dozen places where anything can — and likely will — happen.