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2016/17 - A Season To Remember: Part II

Continuing our look-back at the Clarets' memorable Premier League campaign

31 May 2017

The Clarets’ 2016/17 campaign will go down as one of Burnley's best in recent times, as Sean Dyche’s squad successfully maintained their Premier League status. Every day this week we are remembering how the story unfolded.

October

Dramatic late goals were to be a recurring theme but the Clarets were on the wrong end of one as they kicked off October with a gut-wrenching 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal.

Burnley looked like they had done enough to earn a point against a Gunners’ side firing on all cylinders at the time during a run which would bring them 12 wins and two draws from a 14-match stretch.

Michael Keane looked like he had almost won it with a header against the crossbar. But then in stoppage time, Arsene Wenger’s men snatched victory in controversial fashion.

There was some debate as to whether the decisive corner should even have been taken as injury time elapsed.

And then when Laurent Koscielny did bundle the ball over the line for the winner, it came via the arm of the Arsenal defender.

The Clarets had two weeks to lick their wounds due to another international break, and when they did return to action it was hardly memorable.

Tom Heaton’s breath-taking save from former Burnley striker Charlie Austin was the highlight of a poor afternoon at Southampton, where Sam Vokes claimed the Clarets’ first away goal of the campaign from the penalty spot.

But by then Sean Dyche’s men were already 3-0 down with the predatory Austin twice getting on the scoresheet.

Back at Turf Moor, the Clarets remained a different proposition, though, and a thrilling 2-1 victory over Everton got the campaign firmly back on track.

This time the late drama went in Burnley’s favour as Scott Arfield’s first goal of the season completed a Merseyside win double for Dyche’s never-say-die troops.

Everton were eyeing a top-four spot as they came to town on the back of just one league defeat under Ronald Koeman.

The Toffees went behind when Sam Vokes tapped in just before the break but came storming back in the second half.

And after Yannick Bolasie had drilled in the equaliser, the visitors scented possible victory.

But the Clarets refused to buckle and, with time running out, struck to grab a priceless three points.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson was unlucky to see his fine strike come down off the bar, but Arfield’s reaction and cool finish were of the highest order as the re-called midfielder calmly volleyed past Maarten Stekelenburg to spark joyous scenes around Turf Moor.

Burnley had once again proved they would be no pushover and that message was loudly enforced on a famous day at Old Trafford when the Clarets put their first away point on the board.

It was a game that will forever be labelled ‘Heaton’s heroics’ as the former Manchester United goalkeeper refused to be beaten on his return to his first club.

The Clarets’ captain made a catalogue of outstanding saves as Burnley avoided defeat at Old Trafford for the first time since 1974.

And his ‘starfish’ save from Zlatan Ibrahimovic went down as one of the iconic moments of the season as even the super Swede was unable to deny Burnley a landmark result.

November

The Clarets faced Crystal Palace at Turf Moor on Bonfire Night and this time the fireworks came from substitute Ashley Barnes in another barnstorming finish.

One of the games of the season ended 3-2 in the Clarets’ favour with Barnes ending his injury heartache in thrilling style.

Dyche’s men had cruised into a 2-0 lead through Vokes and Gudmundsson’s first goal in English football in a repeat of the start they made against Palace the last time they had visited in the Premier League.

On that occasion, the Eagles went on to secure a 3-2 win, and when they hit back to level in the second half through Connor Wickham and a Christian Benteke penalty it looked as though lightning might strike for a second time.

But this time the Clarets managed to stand firm and then in the fourth minute of added time break clear to grab a sensational winner.

Barnes had come off the bench to provide fresh legs and had the energy to launch a counter-attack which saw him swap passes with Gudmundsson before burying a shot into the roof of the Palace net to give him a first goal in 20 months.

From a high to a low as the Clarets then lost 4-0 at West Bromwich Albion with their worst performance of the season on a chastening Monday night in the West Midlands.

And the month ended with another defeat. But this time, the Clarets again went close to matching one of the best in the business before narrowly going down 2-1 at home to Manchester City.

Paul Robinson made his Burnley debut in place of the injured Heaton and rolled back the years on his first Premier League appearance since May, 2012.

The former England goalkeeper showed he could still cut it with a fine early save from Sergio Aguero.

But after Dean Marney’s stunning strike had given the Clarets the lead, it was Aguero who had the last word with a goal in each half – neither a classic but enough to give the master poacher 15 goals for the season.

City went third in the table and, as winter approached, the Clarets were 12th and in great shape for a pivotal phase of the season.


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