sean dyche

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Burnley’s indefatigable Dyche ready for Chelsea

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Burnley boss Sean Dyche is often mentioned along with Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe as targets for open managerial slots at bigger Premier League clubs, given their status as successful young managers who have kept their teams in the top flight against the odds.

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea v. Burnley ]

Dyche’s star was never higher than this time last year, when the Clarets stunningly qualified for the Europa League. The competition helped Burnley start very slow this season, however, which may be skewing the perception of just how good Burnley’s been since Boxing Day.

Since then, as Sky Sports points out, only Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal have collected more points than Burnley’s 27. That total includes wins over Tottenham and Wolves, and a draw at Manchester United.

So finishing 7th with this bunch is a bit more rewarding than finishing 7th with West Ham or Everton. From Sky Sports:

“We have a financial framework that is very difficult. We have just posted record profits but within that is a wage bill that’s bottom three in the Premier League. … There are some obvious realities to what we are trying to achieve here. We never kid each other. We have always been honest about our situation. Last season there was the marvel of qualifying for the Europa League but this has been a more reality-based season, which is what I was expecting. I wasn’t expecting anything other than a challenging season. Maybe not as challenging as it has been, mind you.”

Dyche’s work has been exemplary. Many, including me, figured Burnley a drop candidate before the season he led the club to the UEL, and the Clarets looked certain to stay in the Bottom Three for the early part of this year and then a candidate to return to it just weeks ago.

Don’t doubt the Royal Dyche.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Burnley

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Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea can climb third in the Premier League with a defeat of improved Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are the first team to play their 35th match in the group of four Premier League clubs vying for third- and fourth-place this season.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Burnley meanwhile knows a win would seal its already-likely place in the Premier League for 2019-20. Even a draw would probably do the trick given Cardiff City’s immense disadvantage in goal differential.

It’s really a must-win for the Blues’ Top Four hopes, because Chelsea will want cushion given a four-match PL, Europa League run of Manchester United, Eintracht Frankfurt, Watford, and Eintracht Frankfurt again.

What they’re saying

Chelsea boss Sarri on the Europa-PL schedule congestion: “It’s not easy for us, we have to play only four matches but we have to try. I think in the last four matches it will be difficult for every team involved in fighting for the top four, not only for us. And so we can see some very strange results in the last part of the season; we have to fight and to see at the end.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on transfer rumors for young star Dwight McNeil: “His worth to the team I’m more interested in, and that’s the way he’s delivering performances. I like his assuredness, he’s quiet, he’s calm, but there’s a toughness in there, particularly to have the ball. That’s something that can come and go with players, but he’s certainly got that desire to grip a game with the ball, ‘give me the ball, I want to do something’. That’s a powerful thing.”

Prediction

The Clarets will put up a good fight, but the extra day’s rest will be plenty for Chelsea, who may just claim a Top Four place and the Europa League… if it can deal with a tricky finish to the season. The tough run of fixtures means the Blues know at home to Burnley is a must-win. Chelsea, 3-0.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v. Burnley

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  • Magpies won at Turf Moor on Nov. 26
  • Series 1W-1D-3L since 2014/15
  • Burnley leads all-time 42W-20D-41L

Newcastle United and Burnley are both coming off important wins as they stage the latest relegation six-pointer of the Premier League season (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Home at St. James’ Park again, the Magpies beat 10-man Huddersfield Town comfortably behind a star performance from Miguel Almiron; Burnley surprised Tottenham Hotspur to the tune of 2-1.

Both managers, Rafa Benitez and Sean Dyche, are deflecting questions about links to the open Leicester City job.

Burnley hasn’t lost since a 5-1 blowout defeat to Everton on Boxing Day, a run of five wins and three draws which has catapulted the Clarets from 18th to 13th.

Newcastle, meanwhile, has lost just once in five matches to move from 18th to 14th. A win over the visiting Clarets would send the Magpies ahead of the visitors.

What they’re saying

Rafa Benitez on Newcastle leaning on last season’s experience“We did well at this stage last year and we know how difficult Burnley will be. We approach this game with no complacency. We had control against Huddersfield, which is not just about possession, and we created chances. I hope we can do that again and carry on.”

Burnley’s Sean Dyche on links to Leicester City job: “I am still here. I have been here approaching six and a half years. I have had speculation in the past and it always flattering from any club. At one point, I always say this, for good or bad reasons things change but they haven’t changed on six and a half years so far so I just get on with my work here.”

Prediction

A cagey affair. A mistake or conceded penalty might be the difference here, but we could be in for 1-1 at SJP.

Fans who want to try their hand at predicting PL games can down the NBC Sports Predictor app, with a chance to win up to $50,000 each week. Download it on iOS or Google Play.

Premier League preview: Brighton v. Burnley

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  • Burnley has never lost a top-flight match to Brighton
  • Brighton has not at home to a PL side outside the top 4 this season
  • Burnley ended a 67-match PL penalty-less streak last time out

A critical relegation battle takes place at Falmer Stadium on Saturday as Burnley travels to Brighton & Hove Albion at 12:30 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Burnley sits in 17th position, just two points and one place above the relegation zone. Brighton is in a safer position, sitting 13th but just three above Burnley in a tight bottom third of the table. The Seagulls started the season brightly, but have not won in league play in 2019, leaving them vulnerable as the teams at the bottom battle for points.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The hosts will be without striker Florin Andone, who was suspended three matches for violent conduct after throwing a wayward elbow in the 0-0 draw with Watford last time out. Dale Stephens also left the Watford match with a hip problem and is questionable for this weekend, but Jose Izquierdo is reportedly out despite having returned to training from a knee injury.

For Burnley, Steven Defour nears a return from a calf injury that has cost him over two months of this season, but this weekend appears too soon for his return. Matt Lowton has a slightly fractured toe, but will still give this match a try, while defenders Matt Lowton and Kevin Long are looking more likely to play after returning to training. The Clarets are on a good run of form, unbeaten in their last six, coinciding with the return of Tom Heaton in goal who has helped hold opponents to just five goals in that span.

What they’re saying

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on Brighton: “They’re on a tough run and they’ll be wanting to correct that, for sure. We’re on a good run, we’ll be wanting to continue that. It makes for another good game.”

Brighton striker Glenn Murray on poor run of form: “We are absolutely fine behind closed doors, no matter what people are saying. We feel confident. We are happy with the way we are playing. We felt as though we dominated the game on Saturday at home to Watford in the Premier League. Again [Wednesday in the FA Cup] we felt as though we put a good display on and won the game.”

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Prediction

Brighton comes into this match in poor form, and Burnley needs the game more. With the Clarets’ good results of late, they have something to build on, and pulling themselves further away from the relegation scrap is a motivation that can have the team truly rearing to go. Burnley grabs a valuable road win in a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

Dyche hammers officials after penalty kick drama

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Burnley received their first penalty kick in 68 games on Saturday, but their manager Sean Dyche was far from happy. 

He wanted two spot kicks.

Ashley Barnes dispatched a 94th-minute spot kick to snatch a 1-1 draw with Burnley’s relegation rivals Southampton, however Barnes looked to have been fouled in the first half by Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy but nothing was given.

Barnes was booked by referee Anthony Taylor for his anger at not getting a penalty kick, and the officials were booed and branded cheats by Burnley’s fans throughout the game.

Dyche didn’t go as far as calling them cheats, but he admitted it was “impossible” that his team weren’t awarded two spot kicks and didn’t win the game.

“Had we come away with nothing today you’d struggle to believe what was going on. The first decision baffles me,” Dyche told the BBC’s Match of the Day. “I am outspoken when people go down too easy. Ashley Barnes had no other choice as the keeper takes the legs away and yet Ashley comes away with a booking.

“But we just kept knocking at the door. We were relentless in our attitude again and that is coming back into our play at speed. The least we deserved was a point. I can’t be any more clear in my idea. That first one was just a plain, simple penalty. I will be amazed if strikers in the studio say it wasn’t a penalty.”

Barnes backed up Dyche’s comments by adding that they “should have won” the game, but there was a hint of luck about their last-gasp penalty kick. Jack Stephens handled the ball as the cross came in, but Peter Crouch was all over him and Crouch did head the ball on to Stephens’ arm from close range.

A draw was probably a fair result in this game, but Saints will no doubt feel that Taylor and his officiating crew were keen to even things up after missing a clear penalty kick in the first half.