Football Season Review

№10: Burnley

The Clarets defied the odds once again to achieve an unexpected and somewhat puzzling top 10 finish. In serious trouble early in the season, they spent most of September and October in last place. However, they improved around mid-January and lost just 2 of their last 16 league games (W8 D6) bringing them to their high table position. A clear game plan, a united squad of players and an amazing goalkeeper between the posts were the main strengths that saw Burnley overachieve. Goalkeeper Pope kept 15 clean sheets - a major achievement considering that only 4 other teams faced more shots than Burnley. The main weaknesses included a serious lack of squad depth and indiscipline from their old-fashioned and physical centre-backs Tarkowski and Mee. Burnley were the most booked team in 2019/20, but on many occasions sending offs were spared and the lenient officials definitely helped them achieve what they did. Coach Dyche might be using very old-fashioned, boring and frankly ugly tactics, but this has been working for him for some time and he deserves praise for excelling in what he’s trying to achieve. Young McNeil had a very good season, but none was better than shot-stopper Pope, who singlehandedly prevented at least 6-7 more defeats throughout the campaign. With a very small squad, an owner refusing to commit more than £7 million for summer transfers, likely stricter use of VAR when it comes to harsh sliding tackles and undoubtedly a COVID-impacted schedule, Burnley's prospects for next season don’t look very good.

Player of the Season: Nick Pope