Ben Mee

Burnley match-winner, new dad Mee salutes NHS workers

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Here’s Ben Mee, fully prepared to make you cry.

The Burnley skipper, 30, scored a rare goal Monday to lift the Clarets into eighth place in a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Monday. He was seen mimicking rocking a baby in his arms while patting his heart.

Mee won a lot of admiration for his brave and angry words against the “White Lives Matter Burnley” banner flown above the Etihad Stadium last week.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

On Monday, he touched another strong emotion when he discussed what’s been going on with his family.

While the National Health Services in England have been celebrated alongside their international colleagues in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve helped the Mee family in a different way.

“We had a little baby born in May and she was 16 weeks early. It’s been an emotional time for us as a family but she’s growing stronger each day and she’s six weeks today and it’s nice to celebrate that as well.  Family watching back home, which is nice. She’s growing well and the NHS has been fantastic for us. It’s going to be a long road but hopefully it’ll be okay.”

Burnley’s official site says Olive Grace Mee is still in the hospital but obviously doing better.

It’s an incredibly challenging time to give birth in a hospital during a pandemic before even considering the dangers that are inherent with premature birth.

This seems like a good place to link the Players Together “Shirts For Heroes” raffle going on in the UK.

Burnley wins at Palace, boosts Europa hopes

Crystal Palace - Burnley recap
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Burnley’s in the thick of another Europa League race after beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Monday.

The undermanned Clarets found their winner from a surprising source, as captain Ben Mee headed a classy Ashley Westwood kick home in the second half.

CRYSTAL PALACE – BURNLEY FULL MATCH REPLAY

Burnley’s 45 points are level with seventh-place Tottenham and eighth place may be good enough for the Europa League this season thanks to Man City’s European ban.

Palace stays on 42 points, well clear of the drop zone.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]


Three things we learned

1. Second half surge? Burnley and Palace are the two-lowest scoring first half clubs in this season’s Premier League, combining for only 19. No. 20 wasn’t even a glint in its father’s eye over the first 45 minutes.

2. Sean Dyche is a marvel: Burnley is again in the race for European football despite its small size and errors in contract talks leaving Dyche with very little depth in a super congested period. We’re not sure Sean Dyche is ever going to win the masses via clever football, but he’s improved upon the Tony Pulis scrappy recipe and is winning matches without the ball. This man will work until he’s ready to retire.

3. Rare match-winner: Ben Mee’s won plenty of points for Burnley by virtue of terrific tackles and clearances alongside fellow star center back James Tarkowski, but goals have been a rarity.

The 30-year-old captain has scored just seven times in 321 career appearances for the Clarets, and his headed winner Monday was his first goal in 112 matches dating back to Jan. 2, 2017. He played 90 minutes in all but one of those contests, and it feels even better after his inspiring response to last week’s ugly incident at the Etihad Stadium.

Man of the Match:

Dwight McNeil — The 20-year-old Burnley star was very good, again. McNeil was stuck into myriad duels, completed four-of-five dribbles and four-of-four long balls.


Crystal Palace – Burnley recap

Wilfried Zaha was active early in his return to the lineup but Burnley saw the first real danger.

The Clarets’ 19th-minute corner kick from Ashley Westwood nearly defied Vicente Guaita before Burnley star Dwight McNeil sailed the rebound over the bar.

Jordan Ayew spun a shot to force Nick Pope into a stooping collection before halftime.

Ayew was at the center of a long VAR review in the 50th minute that concluded with his escaping discipline for a forearm to the face of Josh Brownhill.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Mee put Burnley in front with an excellent header off Ashley Westwood’s free kick, Guaita slow-to-react and getting just a piece of the ball on its way off the post and into the goal.

Burnley lost mainstay midfielder Jack Cork to a leg injury in a hit to its depth it can hardly afford.

Pope made a fine save in stoppage time after he flubbed a parry attempt and Kevin Long blocked the rebound to keep Burnley in front.

Burnley’s Ben Mee fumes at ‘White Lives Matter’ banner (video)

Ben Mee comments on racism
AP Photo/Shaun Botterill,Pool
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Burnley Football Club apologized for the plane flown above the Etihad Stadium carrying a “White Lives Matter Burnley” banner on Monday.

The plane appeared moments after players from both Burnley and Manchester City, including Clarets captain Ben Mee, took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

[ RECAP: Man City 5-0 Burnley ]

Mee was one of several players to point out the banner to officials during the game, and said there was some indication something may happen before the game.

He was fuming after the match.

“I’m ashamed. I’m embarrassed that a small number of fans have decided to put that around the stadium. They completely missed the point of what we’re trying to achieve. These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves.”

“It’s not right. I totally condemn it. I’m embarrassed and this misses the point.”

Mee went even further when pressed on how he felt seeing the banner so soon after he and his peers had taken a knee.

“You hear the plane above. The lads came together and said this is what we want. We want equality in everything whether it be race, religion, gender, the LGBTQ community. The players want to take a stand.”

Man City boss Pep Guardiola was very angry and offered strong words after the game.

“Everybody knows that white lives matter. They need to be convinced that black lives matter, too.”

Burnley, Spurs split spoils at Turf Moor

Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur recap and video highlights
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Chris Wood and Dele Alli scored as Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur split the points at Turf Moor on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Burnley is now unbeaten in seven Premier League outings and sits 10th on 39 points.

Spurs are two points clear of Burnley, but will finish the weekend at least four points back of the top four.

Tottenham gets its first result in five outings with the draw.


Three things we learned

1. Lo Celso changes the game: Tottenham was absolutely dreadful in the first half, and Burnley’s lead was well-earned. Jose Mourinho took out a pair of center midfielders and introduced Giovani Lo Celso, who was very good from Moment No. 1 and drove the play that led to Spurs’ penalty.

2. Burnley bolsters UEL hopes: The Clarets have a point or better in seven-straight league matches. While they failed in a bid to leapfrog Spurs, Sean Dyche‘s men are three points back of the top seven. Could tiny Burnley really make two European runs in three seasons?

3. Lucky Dele: Jose Mourinho again deployed Dele Alli as a center forward, and the player struggled in the first 45 minutes. Dele’s pass completion rate was barely above 50 percent and he lost all of his nine duels. His penalty finish was cool, though, and may jumpstart his stagnant month ahead of Bayern Munich.

Man of the Match: Burnley’s Dwight McNeil was consistent and thrilling on the wing, producing the match’s lone assist.


Chris Wood rocketed a 17-yard shot over the bar early to send a warning to Hugo Lloris and Co.

A Jay Rodriguez header off from the back post led to an unholy scramble in the box minutes later, but Spurs again cleared the danger.

It was all foreshadowing; Burnley went ahead when Dwight McNeil got two chances to send in a cross that bounded to Rodriguez. His laser was saved by Lloris but Wood pounced on the rebound for 1-0.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs got a chance to level the score as Lo Celso paid immediate dividends. The Spanish midfielder stole the ball and played a wonderful ball to Lamela, who was cut down by Ben Mee inside the edge of the box.

Dele Alli strode to the spot and stroked the ball past Nick Pope for his 50th Premier League goal.

Burnley had a strong chance when Matej Vydra was slid into the box, but Eric Dier intervened to push the ball away from danger.

Lo Celso then led a 60-yard charge upfield that fell apart when Dele couldn’t get the ball through traffic.

Wood then thumped a shot to Lloris, who was wise to the bounce. Vydra then knocked down a ball for Wood that the Kiwi hit to Lloris in the 81st.

Lo Celso came close to bending a shot inside the far corner a minute later.

A funny bounce forced Lloris to make a prime save of Vydra after the latter’s shot took a turn off the bottom of Toby Alderweireld‘s boot.

Premier League Preview: Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur

Burnley v. Tottenham preview
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Tottenham Hotspur looks to steady its wobbly top four hopes against surging Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Spurs sit seventh with 40 points and have lost four-straight matches across three competitions.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Burnley, meanwhile, has a six-match unbeaten run including four wins and two draws. The Clarets are two points back of Spurs.

Spurs beat Burnley 5-0 in the reverse fixture but four of the five goals were scored by players who will miss Saturday’s encounter.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE


Injuries/suspensions

Burnley: OUT — Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Matthew Lowton, Ashley Barnes, Ben Gibson. QUESTIONABLE — None.

Tottenham Hotspur: OUT — Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Heung-Min Son. QUESTIONABLE — Ryan Sessegnon


Probable lineups

Burnley: Pope, Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Bardsley, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Hendrick, Rodriguez, Wood.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Davies, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Tanganga, Winks, Ndombele, Gedson, Lamela, Lo Celso, Bergwijn


What they’re saying

Ben Mee on Burnley’s team commitment: “I think you can work together on the pitch even if you’re not that close off it, but I think as a group as a whole we chat a lot and we are a close-knit group. There’s a British and Irish core to it and we all have the same mentality. Even the boys that have come in from other places feel really at home with the warmth of the group and the welcome they get. It’s credit to the coaching staff and the environment they create and the culture.”

Jose Mourinho on the squad’s injury problems: “Imagine my team playing – Lucas, Kane and Son. And Lucas and Son, minute 70 they are tired. Let’s go. Lamela and Bergwijn. We have the squad for that. Midfield players – you are feeling the team is going a little bit down. You feel the players are a little bit in trouble – change one and get another one. We have a squad for that. It’s not like I’m saying our squad is not good. The squad is good. In this moment we are in trouble. It’s so simple as that.”


Prediction

It seems just as unlikely that Spurs’ struggles would continue as Burnley defy the statistical odds and stretch its unbeaten run, but Tottenham will have an eye on RB Leipzig. Call it 2-1 to Spurs.