Burnley 2019/20 Review: End of Season Report Card for the Clarets

28 July 2020 03:36

After the longest Premier League season in history drew to a close on Sunday, one set of fans who will have been upset to hear the final whistle is Burnley's.


With the underdog stories of Sheffield United and Wolves taking centre stage, Burnley's band of hard-working if unglamorous men were somewhat overlooked. The Clarets only finished behind Chris Wilder's Blades on goal difference, yet it's the Yorkshire side who have claimed all the plaudits.


Dyche and Wilder both overachieved with their clubs

Sean Dyche's side's almost constant overachievement has become the expected norm. Their seventh-placed finish in 2017/18 may be almost impossible to replicate on their shoestring budget but somehow the former Watford boss pushed them close to European football once again.


Here's a closer look at a campaign that once again overdelivered.



League Performance


Premier League - 10th


Burnley finished in a strong mid-table position

Marvellous, if unspectacular. There seems to be a bit of a theme building here. Tenth position - bang on mid-table - would signify mediocrity for most clubs but with all respect to Burnley, this indicates a fabulous campaign.


The club is run on one of the smallest budgets in the Premier League and you only have to look at the names on the team sheet to hazard a guess at how their wage bill lies in comparison to some of their more affluent competitors. But Burnley's sum is far greater than the value of their individual parts.


A difficult start to the season saw Burnley secure just one victory from their first five matches but wins over Norwich and Everton either side of a draw at Villa Park eased any early fears. Dyche's men struggled with consistency throughout the campaign, failing to put a run of three consecutive league victories together all year.


Burnley have lacked consistency this season

The Lancashire club saved their best form till last after returning from the lockdown in excellent condition.


An initial 5-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City was soon brushed off by consecutive 1-0 wins against Watford and Crystal Palace, which started a seven match unbeaten streak before Brighton saw them off on the final day. A disappointing end to an otherwise delightful performance.



Domestic Cup Performance


Carabao Cup - Second Round


League One Sunderland shocked Burnley to reach the Carabao Cup third round

While the Carabao Cup may not be the top of Burnley's priority list, a second round exit at Turf Moor to League One Sunderland was embarrassing nevertheless.


Dyche may have rotated his squad but the starting XI still contained some big names such as Joe Hart, Danny Drinkwater and Dwight McNeil. The League Cup was Burnley's best chance of a good cup run and the supporters will have been upset to see such an opportunity squandered so early on in the season.


The home defeat was a low-point but at least they gave the long-suffering Sunderland fans something to cheer about.


FA Cup - Fourth Round


Norwich defeated Burnley on their way to the FA Cup quarter-finals

Things slightly improved in England's more prestigious domestic trophy, but not by much.


A visit of another League One side in the shape of Peterborough wasn't enough to knock Burnley off their stride this time as the Posh were defeated 4-2 following a Jay Rodriguez brace. This was as good as it got though for the Clarets, who last won the competition in 1914.


Another winnable home tie was the club's reward as Norwich City travelled to the north west in the fourth round. The Premier League's basement side were there for the taking but another host of changes allowed the Canaries to sail into the hat with a 2-1 victory on a run that took them all the way to the quarter finals.


Whether Sean Dyche stays or goes, the Burnley fans will surely want to see a bit more ambition from whoever is in charge next season. The club is without a trophy since the 1973 Charity Shield, a drought they'll be keen to end.



Best Player


Nick Pope finished the season with 15 clean sheets

It wasn't an easy choice given the level of performance from almost every member of Sean Dyche's squad. 14 goals for Chris Wood is a very good return for a striker playing for a middle of the road side.


Dwight McNeil continues to make headlines for his dazzling displays too. The 20-year-old winger notched up six assists to accompany his two goals as the former Manchester United academy player continued his development in impressive fashion.


James Tarkowski was a rock at the back again, featuring in all 38 league matches as he enhanced his reputation and chances of a place at the delayed Euros next summer.


But it was goalkeeper Nick Pope who was the real standout performer. He looked set to pick up the Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets, only for Manchester City's Ederson to steal it from the England international on the final day of the campaign.


The 28-year-old has seen off fierce competition for the number one jersey in the shape of Tom Heaton and Joe Hart and will now have Jordan Pickford firmly in his sights when it comes to the national team.



Worst Player


Danny Drinkwater's disastrous loan-spell only last six months

It wouldn't have been unfair to choose any Burnley player who made a valid contribution on the pitch, given their lofty final position so one that made little to no impact got the nod.


Danny Drinkwater's disastrous loan spell saw him make two appearances and play just 59 minutes in the Premier League. The former title winner at Leicester was helpless in the defeats to Sunderland and Manchester City and a 3 month-spell on the sidelines following an ankle injury that was the result of an incident outside of a nightclub saw the Chelsea man's time at Burnley cut short.


Ben Gibson and Hart were other notable mentions for similar reasons. The pair moved to Turf Moor with big expectations but, like Drinkwater, have been unable to make the impression they were hoping for.



The Manager


Dyche has become a cult hero at Burnley

Every Burnley fan up and down the country will be hoping the rumours linking Sean Dyche with Crystal Palace are false. The club showed faith in him when they were relegated from the Premier League under his stewardship back in 2014 and they'll be hoping similar loyalty will be shown in reverse.


Dyche has since led Burnley to the Championship title, into Europe and avoided real relegation scares in all of their top-flight seasons upon their return. Another top half finish will go down as a huge achievement for the Englishman but perhaps he has taken the two-time English champions as far as they can go.



Overall Grade - B+


Not much room for improvement here. Keeping Dyche will be Burnley's biggest task over the summer break.


Source: 90min