Burnley 0-4 Leeds United: The Warm Down

Fine margins create big divide 

4-0 might seem like an annihilation but it was a scoreline that slightly flattered Leeds United

Burnley were in control of segments within the match, moving the ball forward quickly and physically imposing themselves on the Leeds players.

In the second-half, Illan Meslier made two huge saves to deny Matej Vydra and Johann Berg Gudmundsson in one-versus-one situations. James Tarkowski also blazed a late effort over the bar from point-blank range. Three big chances for the hosts. 

Those saves from Meslier were game changers. The Vydra chance was only minutes before Leeds went 2-0 ahead. Rodrigo sealed the game shortly after the goalkeeper foiled Gudmundsson. Nick Pope, who was injured in this match, is no stranger to pulling off some crucial stops in key moments of matches. 

A lack of ruthlessness in attack and some excellent saves from Meslier invariably extended a two-goal margin to a four-goal demolition. 

Harrison masterclass

Leeds were excellent when they got into their stride and Jack Harrison was at the heart of their efforts. 

A modest man with a lot of quality, Harrison thrived against a passive Burnley midfield and he always looked capable of creating opportunities. Leeds will want to have another summer of big investment to help take their team forward again, and this man should absolutely be on the list. 

The 24-year-old is on loan from Manchester City and the Yorkshire based club will be absolutely desperate to keep hold of the midfielder. This is actually the third consecutive season that Leeds have taken on loan but perhaps this is the time to make him a permanent asset. 

Investment needed for Burnley

It has been an unprecedented season for every football club. At Burnley, it was made even more challenging with the lack of investment before the start of the campaign. 

Dale Stephens was brought in for £750,000 and the former Brighton & Hove Albion man has barely played a minute of football. Jeff Hendrick departed and he featured heavily under Dyche. As opposed to standing still, there is an argument that Burnley actually weakened themselves!

Some Burnley fans believe that Dyche has outdone himself this year. He has kept his playing squad motivated whilst remaining calm when injuries started to pile up. The management has been first-class and the players have worked incredibly hard; nobody can really complain if the standards do slip a little in these final matches. 

New chairman Alan Pace will need to be more active on summer recruitment than his predecessor was. You cannot keep taking this division, or manager, for granted. Nobody should be expecting a £100-million splurge, but sensible investment is absolutely essential if this club is to keep its top-flight status. 

Sky is the limit

It's tough to see Leeds suffering from second-season syndrome: the idea that a newly promoted team is relegated from the Premier League in the following campaign. 

Sheffield United are a prime example of this ideology. The Blades were a breath of fresh air in the 2019-20 season, surprising everybody with their swashbuckling style of play. It has been quite the contrast in the past eight months! 

With Leeds, they are actually getting better as the season goes on. Their record against the bigger teams has dramatically improved and their ability to manage games has also grown astronomically. They have started to shake off the naivety that they initially played with and it just screams sustainability. Rather than thinking about relegation, Leeds should be looking to gatecrash one of the seven European spots.

The caveat to all of this is Marcelo Bielsa. He is at the centre of this football club but the experienced coach never signs lengthy contracts with his employers. Bielsa is out of contract in the summer and, while he is widely expected to sign an extension, there will always be a nagging worry that he could unexpectedly depart. 

Bielsa to Leeds is what Dyche is to Burnley.