When the fixture list was released on the 17th June, it wasn’t exactly the ideal start for Burnley’s first ever Premier League campaign.
Stoke away it read. After the memorable Wembley win and the euphoria that followed, Stoke away was hardly the most anticipated fixture amongst the claret and blue faithful, it barely felt as though we had left the Championship.
Then the second fixture of the season was released, Manchester United at home. Brilliant, thats more like it! The fixtures carried on coming, Everton at home followed, then a trip to Stamford Bridge swiftly followed by a trip to Anfield, the favourites for relegation had welland truly been thrown into the Premier League boiling pot.
Stoke are, like us, one of the smallest clubs in the Premier League, but that wasnt the most dissapointing things about the opening day fixture. Stoke City truly are a formiddable force when they play at the Britannia Stadium, alot of teams fell to them at the Britannia last season and it will more than likely be the same this season, and that made the first Premier League fixture for the Clarets a likely defeat.
That defeat became even more likely when Burnley captain Steven Caldwell, Micheal Duff, and new signing David Edgar would be ruled out in the build up to the game due to injuries and suspensions, this gave Burnley massive defensive problems. Steven Jordan had to be drafted in to cover for the walking wounded, a player that barely featured last season.
The defensive frailties showed in the game as Stoke ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. Stoke played to their strengths and scored from two set peices, a Shawcross header and a Jordan own goal gave them the 3 points on this occasion.
Despite Stoke only losing 4 home games last season and Burnley having a lot of defensive injuries there were still alot of harsh words written about Burnley this weekend phrases such as “Burnley taught tough lesson by Stoke” and “If stoke can do this to Burnley, i dread to think what the top four will do”. By looking at these comments you would be forgiven for thinking that Burnley are the first team to lose at the Britannia Stadium.
Rumours have it that Reading centre back Bikey will be signing for Burnley on Wednesday morning. Soon, Caldwell and Duff will recover from injury, and Edgar suspension is now complete, and he can play against Manchester United on Wednesday. Coyleis obviously aware of Burnleyslack of cover in defence and its strengthening as fast as he can.
Regardless of the result on Saturday or Wednesday, the Burnley fans are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. Im still smiling, Im stillproudly wearing my Burnley shirt (complete with Premier League badges!), and i will continue to do so regardless of what happens this season,and regardless of what any ignorant journalists write.