Will Burnley go down?

SkySports.com SkySports.com
Jamie Smith April 17, 2013
Kevin Robinson
Hear hear! 2 years ago

Successive defeats has left Burnley in the mire, writes Jamie Smith.

It’s funny how quickly things can change.

After beating Bristol City 3-1 at Turf Moor just ten days ago, there were hints at some positivity around the Club. But back-to-back 1-0 defeats at Blackpool and Leeds United have left us in 17th place, only three points clear of the drop.

Burnley could have gone ninth with a win at Blackpool on Saturday, such is the topsy-turvy nature of life in the Championship.

Manager Sean Dyche admitted in his post-game comments that the Clarets are “looking over our shoulders” and have to prepare for a “battle” in the remaining three matches.

Promoted Cardiff City are the visitors to Turf Moor in a televised match early on Saturday, with Malky Mackay’s side able to wrap up the Championship title with a win. The Clarets then travel to fellow scrappers Wolves before hosting Ipswich Town on the final day.

Two wins in the last 15 matches have left Burnley on the brink of falling into the third tier of English football after over a decade in the top two divisions.

Recent months have seen Burnley sleepwalk towards the drop and last night in the 1-0 loss to Leeds we couldn’t even manage a single shot on target.

Charlie Austin is out for the season and though we coped well without him in January, the 28-goal man’s heroics in front of goal will be missed. Sam Vokes has struggled for much of the campaign and Martin Paterson and Danny Ings cannot be relied upon for goals either.

The Clarets find themselves wondering where the points that will ensure survival will come from. Examining the fixture lists of the teams below us in the table makes painful viewing. Burnley are still highly likely to survive, but it could well come down to the last day.

Thank goodness for Lee Grant’s penalty save in the 3-1 win against the Robins at Turf Moor. It could have changed the course of that match and left us in even more danger had the penalty gone in to make the score 2-2.

Burnley should have enough about them to stay up, but there are serious questions about a lack of fight in this team. Leadership is also in short supply from the very top of the Club to on the pitch.

We’ve slipped into trouble so quickly that fans were even cheering Derby’s equaliser at Oakwell late last night. Barnsley dropped back to 23rd with that goal, four points adrift of Burnley.

Successive wins for Blackburn Rovers have eased them away from trouble and with a game in hand on those around them, it looks like Gary Bowyer will keep them up. Rovers have Watford and Millwall away before hosting Crystal Palace, with a trip to Birmingham City on the last day.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have also won four of their last six matches after looking doomed and have found some decent form at the right time, beating promotion hopefuls Hull City at home last night. Wolves travel to Brighton on the last day and have Charlton away at the weekend. Momentum is on their side.

Huddersfield Town are in serious trouble, lying 22nd in the table. They’ve only won one of their last five, but have picked up victories at Turf Moor and Elland Road this year. They host Millwall at the weekend before travelling to already relegated Bristol City and Barnsley at home on the last day. On paper, their fixtures all appear to be winnable.

Barnsley’s match against the Terriers seems likely to send at least one of the two Yorkshire sides into League One. The Tykes have to go to Nottingham Forest at the weekend before hosting Hull City. They could be gone before the final day.

Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough United looked doomed a few weeks ago but an incredible run of form has seen them climb out of the bottom three. They’re unbeaten in ten and even inflicted a rare defeat on Cardiff City last month. They should be safe, with a trip to safely mid-table Derby County up next.

Sheffield Wednesday are level on points with Burnley on 54 and they’ve won three of their last six to ease away from danger. A home game against already safe Ipswich Town offers them the chance to climb the league further on Saturday.

Assuming everyone with 55 points or more is already safe, Burnley are fighting with Sheffield Wednesday, Peterborough United, Barnsley, Huddersfield Town, Blackburn Rovers and Wolves to avoid the last two spaces in the drop zone.

Burnley’s form is the worst of the lot. The Championship has been chaotic this season and more shocks are likely before the end of the season. But the Clarets will be hoping the teams below them can’t collect the points they need to get to the 55 points that seems likely to mean safety and a place in next year’s Championship.

Will the Clarets stay up? Comment below.

  • Chris stanworth

    We might need 56 – did that BBC predictor thing before the Leeds game and had us 22nd going into the Ipswich game :(

  • Michael Connell

    I wasn’t seriously worried about us going down, until I read this…

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Michael Connell

      I wasn’t seriously worried until I wrote it! Everyone else is picking up wins and we aren’t, apart from beating bottom of the league.

  • Andy Devanney

    interestingly last season 41 points would have been safe. 43 20010/11, 48 2009/10 and 47 2008/09. But 53 was needed 2007/08. But that is the highest in the last ten years. Being relegated on 54 would be statistically highly unlikely. However, we should never ever have got in this position. At least our fate is in our own hands. If by some stroke of misfortune we do end up being relegated then Mr Dyche may end up being Bond-esque and I don’t mean James.

  • Chasey

    Our run of recent results has meant the fans are rightly worried..
    One shot on target in two games is also worrying…
    Teams below us are picking up points with regularity.
    I hope we can defy the odds and win on Saturday…to end the fears of relegation

    • James Birdin reply to Chasey

      We had three shots on target against Blackpool at least.

      • Vincein reply to James Bird

        That’s alright then…

  • paulh

    I was at the match last night and I thought too many burnley players looked to be carrying a bit of weight.

  • Sean Cole

    Funny how you see everyone else’s fixtures as winnable, but not ours. As usual you want to focus on negatives, but don’t even look at positives. We have the best goal difference of the lot and considerably better than some. You mention Sheff Wed playing Ipswich at home as if it’s a foregone conclusion, but don’t apply the same logic to others.

    Barnsley are likely to have to finish with 2 wins from 3 to finish above us now, from very tricky fixtures.

    Wolves will probably beat us at home, but if they don’t would have to take 4 points from 6 from 2 away games including a difficult trip to Brighton.

    • Michael Connellin reply to Sean Cole

      “As usual you want to focus on negatives, but don’t even look at positives. We have the best goal difference”

      If that is the best positive you can come up with then it says a lot about the state of the club.

      • Sean Colein reply to Michael Connell

        The piece above is about whether we will go down or not, not about the overall state of club. I’d say when talking about that situation that a superior goal difference and 3-4 points on most of the clubs below us, that’s a pretty big positive.

        If you want to do state of the club though, for a club that has only 4 sides with a lower average attendance, I wonder exactly what state you realistically expect the club to be in? Maybe we should be in the state of Wolves or Bristol City with wealthy benefactors and far more resources. Below us in the table though aren’t they.

        • Michael Connellin reply to Sean Cole

          I don’t expect anything in terms of league position, points or even the level of football we’re playing at. What I do expect is the manager to consistently put out a coherent side, the club as a whole to have some degree of focus and direction and for ticket prices to be affordable. I don’t think the club ticks any of those boxes currently.

          • Kevin Robinson
            Kevin Robinsonin reply to Michael Connell

            Hear hear!

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Sean Cole

      Sean – we’ve won twice in 15 games and are the worst form team of those fighting to stay up. Where are the positives? Our GD is potentially worth another point but that’s clutching at straws in the extreme.

  • Nobby2

    As a Leeds fan I really hope you stay up, you are a proper club. The best Leeds have played in months last night – Dyche was right, so you could consider yourself a little unlucky playing us at the wrong time. As we, at Leeds know things change quickly (we had fewer points than Burnley 2 games ago), so hope you can do the same as we have done and look forward to playing a proper club again next year..

    • John Smithin reply to Nobby2

      It doesnt look good for us!
      We dont seem to know how to break teams down.
      Do we have any fight left in us, the blackpool game would return a firm NO.
      Our midfield has been static.
      Sean needs to earn his dough and lead us to another win which would see us through…but.
      Our eyes do not decieve us, we simply are not that good.
      Very unhappy about Charlie, so somebody needs to step up….and soon.
      SD needs to drop the cautious tactics when drunken cardiff come to town.

      Come on you clarets!

      • Makin reply to John Smith

        Why has Ings been discarded? Pato and McCann have not performed all season. We have messed about with wingers, played an average central defender in midfield. We have made several tactile errors. The back 5 are settled. With no Austin, steel in midfield needed marney and Bartley maybe, Wallace and stanislas wingers, ings and either vokes or pato.

  • Vince

    Whatever happens, we need to let Dyche go. When will his apologists accept this man is not a good manager? You only have to look at the rate of decline under his stewardship to see the direction he is taking the club. I think we will survive this season, but are nailed on to go down with him at the helm next season, bearing in mind some of our best players will leave in the summer and Dyche is likely to sign long-ball duffers to replace them. Desperate times, with an idiot steering the ship…

  • gonzo ul haq

    burnley were terrible and are no good anymore. i need a drink

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