Burnley have been lucky this season. It’s something plenty of people have suggested, what with their expected stats suggesting Sean Dyche’s men should’ve been in a relegation battle and not fighting it out with Arsenal for a sixth placed finish.
But the Clarets deserve their seventh placed finish. They deserve their place in next season’s Europa League.
The style they’ve adopted under Dyche makes them tricky to break down while the attacking unit the former Watford boss has pieced together causes problems for a number of top flight teams. It’s a perfect storm and something very few could ever replicate. There’s no luck to that.
However, the team have been fortunate when it comes to injuries – with the exception of Tom Heaton.
The surprise package of the season have been able to name a fairly consistent starting XI throughout the campaign, with five players appearing in over 2,700 minutes – two of which have played over 3,000 minutes in the Premier League. The Clarets also have ten players who amassed over 2,000 minutes in the English top flight this term.
Dyche has been able to pick from a settled group of players for the most part. Continuity and familiarity undoubtedly plays a part in momentum, and Burnley have benefitted because of this.
They have had no significant injury problems and no performance issues, but next season will be different. With European football on the cards, the pool of players Dyche picks from will have to swell. That is if they want to be competitive in both the Europa League as well as the Premier League.
It means the 2018 summer will be the most important one in the club’s history.
Not only will he have to bring in extra bodies, they’ll have to ensure their recruitment team manage to identify players of a certain quality so Dyche is able to rotate without their being a drop-off in performances – just as they did during the 2017/18 transfer windows.
Can those in charge of pulling the strings at Turf Moor manage to bring in players to have a similar impact to the aforementioned ones, but on a mass scale? Because that’s what they’ll need next season if they’re to get close to this season’s heroics.