Admit it, after the lacklustre opening day game against Stoke City, you simply couldn’t see Burnley picking up anything from their next 2 games with Everton and Manchester United visiting Turf Moor. They were tough games, that most established Premiership sides wouldn’t be relishing to have back to back so how the Clarets fans must have felt, I can only imagine. However, a quick look at the league table shows the facts. Played 3, won 2, drawn 0, lost 1, Scored 2, Conceded 2.
What a delightful surprise Burnley have been already and I’m delighted to see just how well they’ve done. Of course, Manchester United bossed the game, but they couldn’t score. Chances came and went, a penalty was saved by the Beast in the Burnley net. Brian Jansen will break opposition strikers hearts throughout the rest of the season but it’s edifying to see Turf Moor rocking so early in the season. No one wants to see promoted teams hammered so soon but Burnley are loving it so far.
Of course, the knockers will be queuing up to get the pessimism in as quickly as the pints of Moorhouse were probably going down yesterday around the town. Many a fan will have awoken fighting the effects of a Pendle Witches hangover, but still smiling like a Cheshire Cat. When you’ve just beaten the defending League Champions and then the most consistent side outside of the top 4 over the last 5 seasons, this feeling will take some beating.
No-one, other than Blackburn fans I suspect, would have taken any satisfaction if Burnley would have been hammered in the first 3 games. As Hull City showed last season, winning the play offs seems to see you hit the ground running when the season kicks off. Burnley are living the dream, teams like the Clarets aren’t supposed to get in to the top tier but thankfully football will always throw a spanner in the works.
Whilst Hull City beat Arsenal last season, the size of Burnley’s achievements shouldn’t be understated. Manchester United don’t lose to teams like Burnley, they always fashion something to save their skins but they couldn’t manage this time. The easy money was on Everton steam rollering Burnley after the opening day hammering Arsenal handed them at Goodison. That didn’t happen either.
I know people were saying this was going to be the most open Premiership but I don’t think anyone anticipated the start Coyle’s men have had. When the fans see the newly published fixture list in June, they all cast their eyes and begin to work out where the points will come from. I find it hard to believe that any fan of the Clarets would have gone for the last six points in a month of Sundays.
The addition of Andre Bikey adds a bit more steel to the backline, but this is no team of mugs. A smattering of experienced heads, fearless youth and canny international players gives Burnley more quality than people want to admit. Martin Patterson had Everton’s defence on the run and Wade Elliott has a classy range of passing. Tyrone Mears didn’t spend a year at Marseille for a laugh and Coyle did well to get him in.
Of course Burnley are going to have a blip, though god forbid it’s as bad as the one Hull City have finally put to bed. Of course, they rode their luck against United but they deserved the points against Everton. Yet this is what being a fan is all about. A visit to Chelsea beckons this weekend and it will be interesting to see just how they’ll hack it before they visit Anfield. Even with two defeats in the next two games, a return of 6 points from those first five fixtures will stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season. Keep smiling Clarets fans, I think more happy hangovers beckon this season.