Saturday, April 13 is beginning to look like the crucial date in Burnley’s season. Cardiff City visit Turf Moor that day, and should Sean Dyche’s side fail to win, then a season that began in the Europa League could well finish with a drop to the Championship.
Victory over Tottenham Hotspur three weeks ago appeared to have pushed Burnley to the brink of safety; they were eight games unbeaten, and six points clear of the relegation zone. Yet the exertions of effectively ending Spurs’ title chances have arguably had a knock-on effect. Dyche’s side lost to Newcastle United and Crystal Palace, and defeat by 10-man Leicester City was their fourth in a row. They are now just two points above the bottom three, having played a game more than Cardiff, the team immediately below them.
Worryingly for Burnley, they face Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal in the final three weeks of the season. Before then, they host a Wolverhampton Wanderers team who have just knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup, and visit a Bournemouth side with one of the best home records outside the top six. With so little margin for error, slipping up at home to Cardiff next month is not an option.
“We’ve got two weeks now until the next game,” Burnley defender Charlie Taylor said. “So we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got seven games to stay in this league.
“The Tottenham performance is the standard we want to get to. If we play like that, then we’ll be OK.”