16th position. Relegation avoided. Decent. All phrases associated with Burnley’s 2016/17 Premier League season where they finished six points above the relegation zone, winning eleven, drawing seven and losing 20. Fast forward to this season and already after 32games they have surpassed  last season’s total number of wins, having already won 13 games three more than they managed last season (9).The Clarets, as fondly regarded by their supporters, currently find themselves sitting pretty in seventh with 6pionts behind Arsenal and also on contention for Europe .

   Giving a broad review of Burnley sides, how they have fared this season, it is safe to say they have drastically improved this season under, as ever, the excellent tutelage of Sean Dyche.

It is a testament to the resilience of this Burnley team with their defensive setup, discipline and their set piece mastercraft. Amazing when you consider they finished last season with a goal difference of -16, scoring only 16 goals so far. Chris Wood has provided the main threat, up top, scoring 8 goals to date in the premier league and 9 in total .

The real mastermind, though, is Dyche. Affectionately referred to by fans as the ‘Ginger Mourinho’, it’s not hard to see why the comparisons are made. The rigid defensive style he employs is Mourinho-esque and makes Burnley an incredibly tough team to break down. It’s a credit to Dyche, that even following relegation in the 2014/15 season, he was able to ensure his team bounced back to the premier league ranks at the first time of asking, finishing second in the championship.

Since then, it can only be said Burnley have enjoyed an upward trajectory from a 16th place finish last season, to their current position of 7th. 

    Liam Rosenior heaped praises on the performance of the Sean Dyche lead team. 

  "The credit must go to Dyche, who has built a team who mirror his footballing identity and philosophy: hardware work and organisation coupled with outstanding quality in forward areas and with players who have been identified and recruited to fit in with the club’s overall plan", Rosenior stated .

 Burnley’s style of play to the letter with Dyche himself directing and shouting orders from the touchline to his younger players as the game went on.

"It's odd day as you could hear the builders and machinery rattling around the pitch as the training ground was being further developed. And I got the sense that the football club had a plan in every area and knew in which direction they were heading. Regardless of the short-term results of relegation, there was a belief that investing in the infrastructure on and off the pitch would lead to success in the long term", Liam Rosenior added. 

     Danny Ings, Kieran Trippier and Michael Keane have all left Burnley for bigger clubs but their trajectory has consistently been upwards in the same period because of the fact that when entering the transfer market they look at players who would fit, not only into their style of play seamlessly but also understand the hard work and selflessness despite the low transfer budget at his disposal .


TACTICS.

Dyche's side will be viewed by many as nothing more than 4-4-2 merchants who also play in a direct manner.

That ignores the subtle adjustments Dyche makes depending on the opposition and the conditions. This season he has cracked out that 4-4-2, played with a deeper striker and also used three men in midfield.

Sometimes he uses traditional wingers, sometimes he inverts them.


BURNLEY IN NUMBERS.

£33m - Burnley's wage bill for the 2016-2017 campaign. Arsenal's was at some £234m, with Manchester United the highest at £264m.

20,136 - Burnley's average home attendance from Premier League matches at Turf Moor.

£14.76m - Burnley broke the club record transfer fee to bring in forward Chris Wood from Leeds, while Manchester City laid out a cool £51.75m for Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy.

£30.64m - The amount of money Burnley spent during the 2017 summer transfer window. Tottenham, meanwhile, spent a total of £61.4m while cashing in on defender Kyle Walker, who moved to Manchester City in a £45m deal.


OPTA STAT THIS SEASON. 

On average Burnley score 0.97 goals and concede 0.88 goals per match. 41% of this

Burnley's matches end with both teams scoring and their average total goals per match is 1.

Burnley scores a goal every 93 min

• Burnley concedes a goal every 102 min. 

• Burnley scores an average of 0.97 goals every game. 

• Burnley concedes an average of 0.88 goals every game. 

     While 7th position may be absolute dreamland for Burnley supporters, any finish in the top half European may come a-calling for this impressive Burnley side, this season .

 OLADUJI TOFUNMI