It was always going to be a difficult season for Burnley having come up last campaign and spent very little on experienced Premier League talent. The biggest downfall was the lack of goals mustered by the Lancashire side in the league. Scoring just 28, they managed the least out of all the clubs and failed to score in 47% of their league games, a record matched only by Aston Villa, who famously went 11 games without a goal. In the 7 games that they did win, all of the victories came by just a one-goal margin; this clearly highlights their area of weakness.
Defensively Burnley were much better. Conceding 53 goals isn’t ‘amazing’ but for a side that people thought would struggle in the league, that’s not bad. Some of their key players came in the form of Jason Shackell and Tom Heaton in the back five, who both performed to a relatively consistent level this season, with the latter earning himself a call-up to the England squad earlier this month.
If Burnley can keep hold of some of those experienced players, it may not be long until we see them back in the Premier League. The Burnley fans however can be very proud of what their side achieved during this campaign. Many people, including a number of Burnley fans, as well as the media expected them to go down, but just as the last time they were in the Premier League, they didn’t go down without a fight and it looks like the Turf Moor crowd love the hard-working, gritty performances that they were given week in, week out. It all began on the opening day of the season when they put up a stern test against the eventual Champions. Taking the lead there set an agenda and the standards for the claret and blue side.
Key Player – Danny Ings
Burnley struggled in front of goal for the majority of the season, scoring just 28 goals, but take out Danny Ings and that number drops to 17. His 11 goals have seen Liverpool secure the services of the 22-year-old as he chose not to return to the Championship with Burnley.
It was hard to pick anyone out as a real stand out player for Burnley this season purely because their whole squad, despite being relegated, have been fairly consistent in their performances, however Ings was the only Burnley player with any real attacking threat. The comparison between Ings and the rest of the Burnley strikers shows just how influential he has been, or just how poor the others have been. Combined, the other four Burnley strikers have just five goals (all from Ashley Barnes), four assists (the same number as Ings), 44 key passes (just 13 more than Ings) and 122 shots (just 25 more than Ings). They went down anyway, but without the Liverpool-bound forward, Burnley would’ve been relegated at Christmas.
Most Improved Player – Kieran Trippier
Coming back into the Premier League after a superb Championship season, many wondered whether or not the former Manchester City man could reignite himself into an established Premier League right-back. Burnley had to fend off a number of offers for him last summer, but after the season he had, I’m sure they’re going to have to fight off a few more this time around after Trippier rivaled all the best right-backs in the league in this campaign.
Statistically Trippier had an incredible season, as you can see from the graphic above. Nearly doubling the other three’s chances created, Trippier became one of Burnley’s biggest attacking threats and the number of blocks, interceptions and clearances show he is comfortable defending and is very effective at it. Obviously you can’t trust these stats exactly. He hasn’t been the best right-back in the league, but he has been one of the very few Burnley players who have improved as the season went on. Compared to other sides that get relegated, they haven’t conceded a huge amount of goals, so a defender at least deserved a mention!
Fans’ View – Tony Scholes (Editor of Clarets Mad)
Burnley’s second Premier League season ended just as the first had, with relegation back to the Championship, but we gave it a real go and it was just the difficulty in scoring goals that cost us. We scored just once in the first six games but, after what appeared to be a glut of goals either side of the New Year, it all dried up again with only three scored in the last twelve games although all of them won us three points.
Defensively we were generally very good as the ten clean sheets show. We were very competitive and only once all season, at West Brom back in September, were we soundly beaten, but all too often we came off the pitch not having won as many points as perhaps our performance had deserved.
Despite the relegation, the season certainly had its highlights. Draws at Manchester City and Chelsea were fantastic results as was the win against City at home when George Boyd scored the goal of the season to win the game for us. Relegation was confirmed two weeks before the end of the season but the squad going down is a strong one. We’ll lose some players but generally we look strong enough to bounce straight back.