Burnley securing promotion from the Championship on May 3rd delivered their third season in the Premier League. The first two, in 2009/10 and 2014/15, both resulted in an immediate relegation back to the Championship. The 2016/17 season will give Burnley another opportunity to cement their place in the league. In order to stay in the Premier League past the 2016/17 season, there are several key areas that will decide the fate of the Clarets.
"“It’s great to back in the Premier League and we’re all relishing the challenge ahead.” – Sean Dyche"
The manager has been in charge since 30th October 2012 and has overseen one Premier League campaign already. A charismatic leader, Dyche is key to success for Burnley. Should the season not start as well as hoped, the club or Dyche could decide that his tenure has no further merit. Burnley have achieved success based on consistency and any major change at the helm could unsteady the ship.
Winning at Home
The critical success factor for any club is winning games at home. In 2009/10, Burnley managed to win 7 out of their 19 home games (37%). In 2014/15, this dropped to only 4 games won at Turf Moor (21%). Last season, Burnley only lost two games at home all season and they must take this “fortress” attitude into the Premier League. The first three home fixtures will be Swansea City, Hull City and Watford so they must target these has winnable games.
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Start the Season Well
It would be difficult, before the season starts, to measure what a good start to the season would be. Three winnable home games are interspersed with trips to Liverpool, Chelsea, reigning champions Leicester City and Arsenal. Any points picked up on their early road trips could prove invaluable in determining their survival in the Premier League.
At the start of the 2014/15 season, it would be 8th November before Burnley would pick up 3 points. At that point, Burnley had managed to accumulate only 4 points from their first ten games resulting in being anchored to the bottom of the league table. A repeat of that start would not augur well for maintaining their Premier League status.
Be Difficult to Beat
The accumulation of points despite difficult opposition will increase confidence at Turf Moor. This lesson was learned during their debut season in the Premier League. Burnley had picked up good wins against Manchester United and Everton and were sitting in 9th place just before the end of November 2009.
However, Burnley would only win three more games from the last 25 games of the season and they finished in 18th place. It would only be five points that separated Burnley from safety. Had Burnley converted 6 of those losses into draws then it would have been West Ham who were relegated. Eight of those defeats were by a single goal so it could have been achieved.
Burnley are masters of their own destiny. With an excellent manager, a fantastic team ethic, loyal fan base and a desire to succeed, Burnley are geared up to make 2016/17 their best season in the Premier League. Having seen Bournemouth and Watford more than just survive last season, Burnley are just as capable of repeating this success. It won’t be easy, bookmakers already have them odds on to be relegated straight away, but Burnley just might prove the doubters wrong this time.