No surprises where Burnley must improve over second half of the season

Only eight Premier League sides have conceded fewer goals than the Clarets so far this season.
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And Burnley’s defensive record is the best in the bottom half of the table.

Yet Sean Dyche’s side find themselves propping up the division, albeit with up to five games in hand on some of the teams above them.

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Burnley have shipped 27 goals in their 18 league games to date, and the goal-less draw at Arsenal shows just how water-tight they can be at the back.

Sean DycheSean Dyche
Sean Dyche

The Clarets were much more like their typical selves, well-organised, brave, putting bodies on the line, in a defensive masterclass.

The issue, however, is at the other end of the pitch, where they have netted just 16 goals in those 18 outings.

Six-goal top scorer Maxwel Cornet has been away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

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But after him, Burnley’s top league scorer is captain Ben Mee with two, from centre back.

The club are desperate to bolster that area of the pitch in the remainder of the transfer window, especially after Newcastle United triggered Chris Wood’s £25m transfer release clause.

Burnley have long been a side that have done well when they, to add a Dyche-ism, have come out on the right side of the tight margins.

And they will have to get back to that over the second half of the campaign, regardless of who comes in before 11 p.m. on Monday.

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Dyche said: “We’ve always been a team that has to get on the right side of moments in games, and we haven’t done that this season.

“When we’ve been beaten, it’s been a soft moment for us defensively, and we haven’t taken our moments in attack – it’s been that kind of season.

“I don’t think we’ve been far away this season at all, but the facts are the facts, we’re bottom of the league and that’s the truth of it.”

Arsenal was a good start point, with the side going back to basics, keeping things tight defensively, and looking to carve out an attacking threat when possible.

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Burnley had a few moments at the Emirates Stadium that they couldn’t quite capitalise on, particularly two counter attacks at the death through Dwight McNeil, while their set pieces caused keeper Aaron Ramsdale problems throughout.

And Dyche added: “We can’t keep looking backwards, we have to look forwards, and the Arsenal game was back to us doing what we do, being very organised, playing strong, fair, playing with a front foot mentality and given everything physically that it takes to win Premier League matches.

“If we can do that, and the belief is freer, because results build confidence, that’s what we’ll look to do.

“It’s down to hard work, and the players worked very hard at Arsenal.”