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Why Burnley Are Doomed for Relegation

02/10/2014 17:17 BST | Updated 02/12/2014 10:59 GMT

If Burnley's return to the Premier League only had to last 15 minutes it would have been glorious. 1-0 up against the might of Chelsea at home, the start of their first game back in the big time was reminiscent of the upset they caused almost exactly five years previous when they defeated Manchester United by that result.

However as everyone knows, football matches, not to mention Premier League seasons, last a lot longer than quarter of an hour. And for Burnley and their fans it's only going to get a lot longer. Since Scott Arfield smashed one past Chelsea in their opening fixture, The Clarets have gone five games and 526 minutes (almost nine hours) without scoring. True, they've kept three clean sheets in that time, including one against Manchester United again, but as a wise man once said: "you don't win anything with draws."

It seems obvious but teams that fail to score many in the Premier League are often relegated. Last season Cardiff and Norwich both fell short of the 40 goal, let alone points, target and were duly relegated. Before that QPR managed a paltry 30 goals in the league and ended up 14 points adrift from safety. The only team that have scored very few goals yet remain relatively comfortable has been Stoke, thanks to consistently winning games by narrow margins and having a fairly tight defence.

Until last weekend Burnley could have taken solace in their respectable defensive record. Letting in four against West Brom ruined that though, and more worryingly showed that when they go behind they seem to have few ideas of how to get back in the game.

Currently playing with a lone striker limits their attacking options and until last season's goalscoring machines Danny Ings and Sam Vokes return to action (they bagged 41 goals between themselves in the league) it doesn't look likely to change. Even then, both are unproven in the Premier League and at the moment aren't expected back until November, by which time they'll have missed over a quarter of the season.

There's more to why Burnley already look unlikely to be playing Premier League football next season than just lacking much up front. Their approach of keeping games tight, with a fairly defensive formation, and trying to snatch a win late on is understandable given their squad. However, they can't expect to keep 38 clean sheets so when they do go behind they need some fresh ideas and someone to initiate them.

Without the finances of the likes of QPR, most of Burnley's summer business involved loans, free transfers and picking up players from the lower leagues. If they were hoping to replicate the success of Hull and Crystal Palace from last season they should maybe have studied their transfer business a little closer. While neither side spent Sheikh like amounts, Hull bagged Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore and later Nikica Jelavić as Crystal Palace secured Dwight Gayle, Jason Puncheon and Joe Ledley to name a few. Each had a big impact on their sides staying up.

Both teams acquired a range of players with Premier League experience and exciting young talent, whereas Burnley have not. George Boyd, Steven Reid and Matt Taylor have experience but if they weren't needed by fellow clubs aiming to avoid relegation it's not a good sign for Burnley.

When Burnley first entered the Premier League back in 2009 they may have been relegated finishing 18th, but at least Turf Moor became somewhat intimidating as they won their first four fixtures at home. So far two draws and a defeat hasn't set them up anywhere near as well as for that season, and they went back down then!

It's not been a great start, but then again, who would have thought Crystal Palace would survive at the same point last year?

Their next two league games are crucial as they face Leicester and West Ham, needing one victory to restore some hope for the players and fans that they can make an even better attempt at surviving in the Premier League this time round. Considering they've got Southampton, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City to play in the space of two weeks over Christmas, many fans will be asking Santa for an early present of plenty of goals (and points!) before then.

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