Burnley 0-0 Norwich: Winless race continues, so are Sean Dyche and Daniel Farke under pressure?
A goalless draw between Burnley and Norwich is not only incredibly rare, it is literally a once in a lifetime game.
Saturday was the first time in their 44 encounters that the game ended 0-0 – a result that did little to both sides’ immediate hopes of climbing the Premier League rankings, but which , both clubs hope, can trigger a recovery after a poor start to the season.
Both teams remain winless after seven games, but Burnley’s point at least meant they made sure their start to the campaign is slightly better than at the same stage last season, while Norwich ended a streak of 16 defeats in the Premier League.
Daniel Farke’s Canaries are heading for the second international break of the season at the bottom of the standings, with Sean Dyche’s Clarets just two places and two points above them.
A battle for survival on both sides seems likely, so what are their chances of avoiding relegation and will managers have time?
‘One step forward’
A brief league-winning stint last season unfolded between what has been a grim run for Norwich in the Premier League.
A 2-0 loss to Everton on September 25 was their 16th in a row in the top flight. The longest winless streak in Premier League history – a record held by Sunderland – is 20 games.
Six straight league losses at the start of this season had likely left many Norwich fans worried that their side would soon take that unwanted title from the Black Cats.
“The point and the clean sheet will help a bit in the board but even more with the mood and confidence,” said Farke.
“It’s a first step. It’s not as if this point will guarantee that we will stay in the league. Many more steps are needed but it’s a good first step.”
Surprisingly and encouraging for Norwich, two teams over the past decade that had just one point or less after seven games have managed to stay put.
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Burnley was in a worse situation … and survived
It’s familiar territory for Burnley as they were also winless after seven games last season, but finished 11 points ahead of relegation.
That puts their current tally of three points into perspective and their performance this season, despite the results, is also an encouragement.
The Clarets’ area of concern is to keep a lead on the first goal. Previously, if a team first conceded against a strong and disciplined Burnley side, they knew getting something out of this game would be a tough task.
In four of their seven games this season, they scored the first goal only to concede and subsequently drop points. The draw with Norwich also extended their winless streak at home to 14 league games, dating back to last season.
But like the Canaries, it was their first clean sheet of the season and, while the cost of improved defensive performance was a lack of bite in front of goal, Dyche has full confidence that his team are heading in the right direction.
“We will find a way to score goals,” he said. “We had a slow start last season and picked up and had a strong middle and end.
“It’s important that we do it again. I believe in the way the players play, but we have to find that advantage.”
Are the fans keeping the faith?
Norwich has been rewarded for remaining loyal to Farke following his relegation from the Premier League two seasons ago with a league title, but another dismal high-profile campaign could test fans’ patience.
However, one must take into account their difficult beginnings. A coronavirus outbreak disrupted their preseason as two games were called off, while 11 members of their first-team squad were sent into self-isolation.
Many who braved the wind and rain to make their way to Lancashire on Saturday had an encouraging performance, although more similar performances are needed, especially after unconvincing outings in the recent losses to Watford and Everton.
“We had the first four games so tough that we expected to run out of points after that,” said Nick Hayhoe of the Along Come Norwich podcast. “Then came the Watford game and it was such a bad performance it got people worried.
“But Daniel Farke is almost considered a god in Norwich for what he’s been up to for the past two years. For Norwich fans to turn on him, something would have to be done.”
Like Farke, Dyche has a lot of credit in the bank.
Saturday’s game was his 400th in charge of Burnley and in his nine years at the club he has always been able to overcome tough times.
“I don’t think the pressure is on him because he’s a Burnley legend and just signed a new contract at the club,” said Jonny Bentley, Burnley supporter and podcaster.
“We have played fairly well in every Premier League game so far this season. The most worrying thing would be that the performances were not there.”
For now, the two managers seem to have the confidence and patience of the supporters of their clubs.
But that doesn’t change a simple fact: For Burnley and Norwich, that elusive first victory can’t come soon enough.