Clarets fan Peter Davis takes a look back at Saturday’s match at the Stadium of Light and analyses whether there are positives to be drawn from the 0-0 draw.
A disappointing result or a decent outcome? Now the dust has settled from the madness that ensued on the #twitterclarets tag Saturday evening, let’s take a look at the positives.
Firstly, an away clean sheet – only our 2nd away this season and 7th league shut-out overall. Yes, they’re bottom of the league but as a team we’re still very much ‘learning’ about the Premier League and for me – as I’m sure is the case with most if not all Burnley fans – had someone had said to me that after 29 games we’d be sat 8 points clear of the bottom three, we’d have snapped their hands off. The draw at Sunderland moves us a point up and a game down. Yes we’d have loved three points, but so would they! With us having arguably dominated the first half, they came back at us in the second and had the better chances in the second 45, I think a draw is a fair result over the course of the 90 minutes.
Secondly, not to quote Dyche too heavily, but we’re not looking a million miles away from that elusive first away win this season. We’re growing in confidence and just seem to lack that rub of the green. Although I understand some fans’ frustrations, we’ve got to be seen as improving steadily and have come a long way from our last squad in the Premier League 2 seasons ago. There’s no disgrace in not winning away from home if we – as is looking increasingly likely – stay up. Would we take enough points over the season to stay up and have no away wins all season over not enough points and winning one away game like we have previously? Of course we would. There’s nobody in their right mind would change our league status for having an away win. Yes, it’s frustrating, yes the pundits and ‘experts’ fie digs at the lack of an away win. Who cares? I’d rather be us than Sunderland or Middlesbrough right now.
Next, as previously touched upon, it’s a point up and a game down – and perhaps as important, none of the sides below us have really made up any ground on us. Looking ahead to the next round of fixtures, there’s some fixtures that may do us a favour or two. For example, Watford face Sunderland – a win for the home side may go a long way to condemning Sunderland to the drop. However, a win for the Black Cats doesn’t change a great deal. Two wins for Sunderland still wouldn’t bring them out of the bottom three, even if the other sides fail to pick up points. Elsewhere, Southampton host Bournemouth, Hull face West Ham at the KCOM, Palace travel to leaders Chelsea and Leicester take on Stoke at the King Power. The big fixture at the foot of the table this weekend comes on Sunday as Swansea face Boro. However, so long as we can perform at our best on Saturday, against a Spurs side challenging for the top two, picking up anything this weekend is a huge bonus for us. There are more big fixtures in the midweek following – hopefully come mid-April we can be edging towards a level of near certain survival. We head into the spring international break hoping that come our next league fixture that our collection of senior international representatives leaving us on their respective nations’ games that they return to us unscathed and ready for battle against Tottenham.
One final mention goes to all the players of our club representing their respective nations in the upcoming round of international fixtures. It shows how far our club has moved forwards in recent years to have so many of our team being recognised as current senior internationals – although from an England/Burnley fans’ perspective there’s particular hopes for Tom Heaton and Michael Keane making appearances for England in the games versus Germany and Lithuania this week.