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What we love about Burnley

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Burnley is one of the truly inspirational stories of the Premier League.

Currently sitting 10th in the league table while the football world waits for the coronavirus to pass, the Clarets are a model for true steady growth. While they haven’t burst to the top like Leicester City has, the club is still a fascinating story

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While the history of the club is a story in and of itself, the Clarets are also currently a club to study, with both a chairman and manager who present positive ideals and embody the identity of the club itself.


Sean Dyche with his Premier League Manager of the Month award for February (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for Premier League)

Sean Dyche: The Burnley boss, the second-longest serving manager in the Premier League just 18 days behind Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe – the man he succeeded – is a model for consistency, mentality, and hard work. In fact, his rise to the managerial position itself is a perfect representation of what he brings to the club. After being unfairly sacked by Watford during an ownership change, he joined the England U-21 setup as a temporary backroom staff member, saying at the time of the ability to have a step back, “When you are in a job, sometimes you can get so into it that you forget what’s going on in the wider world. It’s nice to have a little window to go and reflect and look at others, share stories and practices and get a visual on it.”

That step back lasted three months. With Howe leaving for Bournemouth, he signed on at Burnley and has guided the club to steady growth ever since. His first full season saw Burnley record its best start to a league season in club history, and it was all uphill from there, promoted that same season with a second-place finish despite ridiculous financial constraints that saw the club spend just $500,000 on one player the previous summer, forcing Dyche to use just 23 players the entire campaign.

“The main thing you have to get right as a chairman is to pick the right manager,” said Burnley chairman Mike Garlick upon his hire. “If you do that you are halfway there at least. Sean has been key.” Words have rarely been more prophetic. Having just won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for February, it’s likely that Dyche will eventually leave for a bigger job, he has already given his all to this club and Burnley will forever remember what he brought to the team.

Home grown, working class mentality: The Clarets are the embodiment of the working class Premier League fans, a truly homegrown club. Take this quote from the chairman.

“I was born in the town, about 400 yards from the club. I went to school there, then went to uni and came to London to seek my Fortune. When I was 18 I told my dad I wanted to be chairman of Burnley one day. He said: ‘You must be bloody crackers son.’ It was a lifelong ambition to do this. I think one of the reasons we do so well is that myself and the other directors are all fairly local and we all really care. We are not there to pick up a wage. No director gets paid. You get a night in a hotel paid for but that’s it. I proudly state that I am the Premier League’s poorest owner. Everyone else is a billionaire, virtually. But I am proud of that and what we have achieved because we have had to sweat every asset both on and off the pitch to get the best from it.”

The club is truly local from the top down. And they don’t take anything for granted, not even the recent success and growth. When asked what it means to be established in the Premier League, Garlick said, “No such thing.” They are aware of the season-to-season volatility and the possibility that at any moment all the years of building could be torn down with one bad stretch of games. That’s truly the club of the working class.

Burnley chairman Mike Garlick alongside manager Sean Dyche (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

To rock bottom and back up: Burnley nearly didn’t make it out of the 1987 season alive. A founding member of the Football League in 1888, Burnley was relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time in club history in 1985, having suffered five relegations in a fifteen-year span. With newly-introduced promotion and relegation from the semi-pro ranks and the professional levels, it was thought that dropping out of the Fourth Division and into the Football Conference could be devastating for a club to the point where it could cause some to dissolve. With that in mind, after a horrid season that saw the club knocked out of both Cup competitions in the first round, only victory over Leyton Orient on the final day of the campaign plus a loss by Lincoln City saved the club from dropping out of the professional ranks altogether.

That game lives in club lore, as does support of the fanbase around that famous day. The listed attendance for the game is over 15,000 fans at Turf Moor, nearly 5,000 more than any other game that season and only the second time the club recorded a five-digit attendance figure for any league game.

After five more seasons in the Fourth Division, they would win the league and earn a promotion that would set off a period of growth still being experienced today.

James TarkowskiA player who could have left the club for a bigger job on multiple occasions, the 27-year-old defender continues to quietly prove himself one of the best in the Premier League. His best season was the 2017/18 campaign, earning himself a pair of caps for the England national team in pre-World Cup friendlies. This season, he is the fifth-best central defender in the Premier League according to WhoScored.com. Tarkowski makes his hay with a large workload of thankless defensive contributions, among the top 10 in the Premier League in both  clearances and blocks per game. A hard worker with little recognition, Tarkowski is another who embodies Burnley’s mentality under Dyche.

Burnley defender James Tarkowski during a February match against Bournemouth (Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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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.

Watch Live: Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur

Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur live stream and lineups
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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.

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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

LINEUPS

Burnley

Tottenham Hotspur

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.

Newcastle cannot find way past Burnley

Newcastle v. Burnley recap and video highlights
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Wasteful Newcastle United drew Burnley 0-0 at St. James’ Park on Saturday

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The Magpies enjoyed a rare day of superior possession and out-attempted Burnley 21-8, but sit six points behind the ninth-place Clarets.

Newcastle is seven points clear of 18th-placed Aston Villa, who has a match-in-hand.


Three things we learned

1. Two dull sides fail: Newcastle and Burnley entered this game with horrific stats. Burnley entered the game passing at under 70 percent, with Newcastle the closest team to that 20th-ranked number. On the flip side, Burnley had been kept off the bottom of the possession table by Bruce’s packed-in Magpies. Newcastle showed a superiority, but the Clarets will happily take an away point.

2. Burnley block party a success: Newcastle’s more attacking system worked well in the first half, with the Magpies out-attempting Burnley 10-3. But Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope only had to make two saves and a couple of collections because his players got in the way of so many Newcastle bids. That defiance is what’s helped Burnley well clear of the drop zone despite what’s detailed in our first thing.

3. Gayle busy but sloppy in rare start: Magpies manager Steve Bruce has promised to make a proper run in the FA Cup, and sat star forward Allan Saint-Maximin as well as January signings Valentino Lazaro and Nabil Bentaleb. It would’ve worked well, but surprise started Dwight Gayle took one too many touches time and again to deprive breaks of their flow.

Man of the Match: Almiron. The ex-Atlanta United playmaker was everywhere with four key passes on the day. He beats Burnley keeper Nick Pope and center back James Tarkowski.


Newcastle deployed four at the back for the first time in months, and also reinserted both Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle into the lineup.

Gayle almost had a terrific chance when Nick Pope slipped while racing to meet the striker’s heavy first touch, but Pope recovered to collect the ball.

Phil Bardsley blocked another Gayle effort in the 18th as Newcastle grew into possession against a Burnley team who rarely cares for it.

Newcastle continued to control the ball, Shelvey having two shots blocked and Almiron dribbling into the box to have a low shot caught by Pope.

Ritchie missed with a back post header in the 32nd.

A series of Newcastle corner’s saw the Magpies threaten goal. First a training ground corner led to a James Tarkowski block before Jay Rodriguez got in the way of a Ritchie drive.

Almiron then led a break to set up Gayle for a shot saved by Pope.

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Shelvey’s 50th-minute free kick from 25 yards sailed over the bar.

A beautiful bit of interplay allowed Javier Manquillo to earn a corner, and Shelvey was saved by Pope on the ensuing set piece. Gayle soon flubbed a promising play as. Newcastle continued to knock.

A horrible back pass from Danny Rose sent Jay Rodriuguez on goal, but the striker somehow mailed it into the cheap seats.

Gayle missed an overhead kick attempt after a delightfully-chipped pass from Almiron. And Ritchie hit a laser wide of the far post with 10 minutes to play.

Substitute Allan Saint-Maximin hammered a shot into Pope’s lap in the 86th.

Almiron led a drive into the right of the box, but saw his shot blocked out for a corner, and Ritchie saw a stoppage-time effort blocked as well.