The 2020/21 season has felt a lot longer than it has been, here is the Burnley season review.
The Clarets have spent most of their time in the Premier League since promotion in 2015/16 with the aim of keeping their status in the league.
However, this season, in hindsight, staying up was among one of their easiest tasks yet – with rivals Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United up there with the worst combined trio to go down in recent memory.
Still, Burnley made hard work of avoiding being the worst of the rest and failed on that part, finishing 17th, falling one point below of the traditional 40-point safety mark, though finishing 11 clear of Fulham in 18th.
Burnley Season Review: Premier League Status Intact
Dismal Start Not Helpful
Burnley started the season poorly, taking eight games to get their first three points on the table – a win over Crystal Palace in November – having lost five of their first seven games.
They followed that Turf Moor victory over Palace with a 5-0 loss at the hands of eventual champions Manchester City. However, in typical Burnley fashion, by December they had picked themselves up, having their best month of the season. Burnley lost just once and picked up 11 points over the festive period – the same amount that kept them in the division.
The end of the season was just as fruitless as the start, with Burnley winning just three of their last ten fixtures – losing the other seven.
Stopping the Rot: That Night at Anfield
Whilst the Burnley faithful will not have the 2020/21 season down as a campaign to remember, they will look fondly on the side’s trips to Anfield and the Emirates in January and December, respectively.
Burnley won both games 1-0. Perhaps more significantly, the win over Liverpool saw Burnley become the first team to win at Anfield, which has become a fortress in recent seasons, in 68 games. Ashley Barnes‘ 83rd-minute penalty proved to be the match-winner, a goal that silenced the city of Liverpool.
Sean Dyche and his players will look at those performances with great pride, despite their 17th place finish.
Consistent Chris Wood: Burnley’s Top Performer
Chris Wood managed to strike on 12 occasions in the Premier League during the 2020/21 season. Wood has consistently delivered 10+ goals a season since joining the Clarets in the top-flight. The New Zealand-born forward reached 50 goals for the club when scoring v Fulham on May 10, 2021. His goals are key to Burnley, especially with none of his teammates hitting the net on more than three occasions in the league all season.
Wood picked up three of the club’s annual end of season awards – Player of the Year, Top Goalscorer and Players’ Player of the Year.
Domestic Performance: Focus Was on the League Again
Burnley’s domestic cup performance in 2020/21 represented improvement on the previous season but nothing spectacular either.
They managed to go one round further in both the League Cup and FA Cup, falling short against Manchester City in the fourth-round and Bournemouth in the fifth-round – both at Turf Moor – in the respective competitions.
Burnley picked up three more points on the road than they did at Turf Moor in the Premier League, perhaps easily explained by the absence of fans during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in a completely different experience for the players over the 38 games.
The Burnley Verdict
Burnley have fallen behind this season after a tenth place finish in 2019/20, however the primary target is to secure their Premier League status and they have done that. Of course, they will want to climb the league down the line, but with safety secured – the priority – they can now build on that and go again next season.
They have ridden their luck at times – as they have previously – with prolonged bad spells. With limited funds compared to those higher-up, the stability shown to continue to stay in the league over the years is admirable.
Despite Chris Wood’s consistency, the Clarets are going to need other players to step up and take responsibility on the goalscoring front if they are to improve next campaign.
Nobody really looks forward to going up against Burnley and as long as Sean Dyche is in charge, that is not going to change. They just need to find more goals over the season – which will bring more points.
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