How Burnley missed an opportunity to secure safety
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley Reading during the Premier League match between Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion at Turf Moor on February 06, 2021 in Burnley, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

This weekend Burnley faced West Bromwich Albion in an uninspiring 0-0 draw that rounded off a disappointing two weeks for Sean Dyche

Before that, the Clarets drew with 1-1 with Fulham in a match that slipped between their fingers. Dropping points against two clubs in the relegation zone has pulled Burnley closer to the drop zone. 

It gets worse for Burnley as their next four games are against Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Arsenal, and Everton, where they could potentially take no points from a possible 12. 

  • Fulham 1-1

Starting XI:

Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Long, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Barnes, Rodriguez.

It was a quiet first half, with both sides failing to create anything clear cut. Burnley dominated for 25 minutes and looked certain to go ahead before halftime. However, a lack of creativity up front was the major reason for the Clarets not going ahead. 

It got worse for Dyche's men when the visitors took the lead through Ola Aina in the 49th minute. The goal seemed to wake Burnley up, though, as they equalised thanks to Ashley Barnes just three minutes later. 

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The reliable striker slotted one past Alphonse Areola in the 53rd minute giving the Clarets the momentum to go on and win the game, which is something that they failed to do.  

Fulham, on the other hand, have been on a string of good results, with wins against Sheffield United and Everton and the draw over the Clarets in their last three games. This run has helped them close the gap between the two sides to just six points in the fight for survival.

  • West Bromwich Albion 0-0

Starting XI:

Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Brownhill, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Rodriguez, Vydra. 

This tie was a chance for Burnley to kick back and respond with a win after dropping points against Scott Parker's men. However, Dyche's side couldn't do that, arguably putting in a worse performance than the week one in midweek. 

It all started well from Burnley's point of view, and the dismissal of Semi Ajayi gave them an opportunity to push on and win the game. It was a dominant performance from the home side, but with little movement or creativity in the final third, it allowed Sam Allardyce's side to remain competitive in the battle. 

With no Ashley Barnes or Chris Wood up front, it meant Burnley's main route of attack wasn't there since Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra struggled to hold the ball up or finish crosses.

The former had the best chance of the game after a low cross was drilled into the area. However, Rodriguez, who slid in to finish the move off, missed the ball by inches, which left Burnley fans baffled as to how they hadn't scored yet. 

  • Not over yet

Two points from a possible six against sides fighting for survival is not what the Clarets needed considering their upcoming tough run of fixtures.

Although it's unlikely Dyche and his side will go down, it's important to understand that the season isn't over just yet. If other teams start picking up points when they aren't expected to, Burnley fans may look back at these two fixtures and think about how they could have virtually secured safety with a pair of wins instead. 

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