Burnley well poised for survival

Burnley FC [Image from flickr by Adam Haworth]
Burnley have punched well above their weight in this Premier League campaign. In their last two spells in the top tier of English football they managed a surprise win over Manchester United in 2009, and have now held both sides to draws this season. By Christmas, many expected the side to be bottom and beyond redemption, a replica of Paul Jewell's Derby side which was well off the pace in the Premier League. At the halfway mark they lie 19th and have won over a number of fans and credit must go not just to Sean Dyche but to a unified squad, the board for sticking by the manager and their passionate fans.

Fellow promoted sides Leicester City began the big time on a roll and were impressive before a sharp decline that is facade by the win over struggling Hull. They lay bottom and look like the favorites to finish at the base of the table. Burnley are joint on 16 points with Crystal Palace who recently sacked Nigel Warnock and Queens Park Rangers who have a woeful away record but impressive at home. It will be tough to survive and despite being among the three favorites to get the drop the draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium having been two goals down displayed their character and never say die attitude. Chelsea would be the first to be grateful for this result which keeps their three point buffer at the top. The gaffer was ecstatic with the result and lauded the side's spirit. Spearheaded by Danny Ings, Jason Shackell, Ashley Barnes and George Boyd the side could conjure up a miracle. What we know is the fight will go down to the wire. Burnley are brave, are the hardest working side on the pitch with an average distance of 115.1 km. They look the fittest side in the league and have outrun 16 opponents. They lie sixth on the number of clean sheets (5) which is impressive. Burnley will need to amass more points than they achieved in the first half. Can they do it? Consistency and sharpened finishing will take them to another season in the Premier League.

Poor finishing, horrendous defending on set pieces and their inability to keep possession has been their Achilles heel. With the turn in fortune of Danny Ings, Sam Vokes' return and the turn for the better of Ashley Barnes bodes well for the side. Soon to be capped by Austria Barnes has risen to the challenge banging in three goals in four including that thunderous strike against Manchester City. With the transfer window on the horizon Sean Dyche will do well to add a few players hopefully a Center Forward and a midfielder. Burnley have turned a corner lately with three wins in their last and nine games. 12 points haul from a possible 27, as they will look to continue their surge up the table on New Year’s Day at Newcastle's St James' Park. A return that has surpassed fellow strugglers QPR, West Brom, Leicester City, Hull and Crystal Palace. The fight goes on…

Article contributed by: Benedict Chanakira

Twitter: @bchanakira2

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