'˜We're up there on merit' - Arfield
Burnley are sixth in the Premier League on merit, says stalwart Scott Arfield.
The Clarets face Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, looking for a seventh win in nine games, having earned a place in the Champions League places on Tuesday night.
They slipped down to sixth on Wednesday after Tottenham’s 2-0 win over the Seagulls at Wembley, and Liverpool’s goal-less draw at home to West Brom, but, with almost half the season gone, Sean Dyche’s side have showed remarkable consistency so far this term.
And they have done so despite a number of injuries, some serious.
They lost skipper and England keeper Tom Heaton in September to a dislocated shoulder, while Robbie Brady is out for the season with a knee injury.
They have also been without Jon Walters, Matt Lowton and Ben Mee with knee problems, while Nahki Wells and Dean Marney have recently returned to fitness, though both are still to kick a ball for Burnley this season.
Arfield has recently come back into the side after Brady’s injury, and scored the winner against Watford on Saturday before claiming an assist as Ashley Barnes scored a late decider against Stoke City on Tuesday night.
And he said: “It’s unbelievable. We’d be lying if we said we’d thought we’d be in this situation at the start of the season, but we knew as soon as we got momentum, and after the first few games, we thought something good was going to happen.
“It was up to us to keep that momentum going, and we’ve managed to do so and hopefully the fans are enjoying it.”
Asked if it was no fluke, he added: “Not at all. We’ve played all the top six almost all away and we’ve done really well and got some big results, and we’ve got them all to come back here.
“Over the Christmas period it’s going to be special for everyone and it’s up to us to keep that momentum going.”
Six of Burnley’s nine wins so far this season have been by a 1-0 margin, and Arfield was delighted with the manner of the victory against Stoke: “It was the best of the season for different reasons. Everyone knew how hard it was going to be before the game, but the conditions just added to it.
“It was a late goal, they’re so sweet, it was brilliant. You can win in so many different ways but this is the way you would choose to, goals in the last five minutes and snatch and grab. Whoever scored the goal was going to win the game.”