Burnley’s 4-0 win at Molineux not only practically secured their Premier League status but also typified exactly what a Sean Dyche team can do. Burnley, so often poked with the stick of being ‘boring’, ‘well-drilled’ or ‘a threat from set pieces’ absolutely tore Wolves to shreds in a scintillating first half display.
Chris Wood, who is the leading marksman of this Burnley side, hit an astonishing first half hat-trick but in truth, Dyche’s side should have scored five or six. They were that dominant, and it wasn’t the direct football usually associated with his club. The opener came after the New Zealander pounced on a Willy Boly mistake before controlling the ball and firing past Rui Patricio from a tight angle.
Six minutes later another Wolves mistake allowed Dwight McNeil to break clear and he squared the ball along the six yard box to Wood, who was never going to miss from close range. He claimed his hat-trick with a close range header from a corner and was a constant thorn in the side of a woeful Wolves defence, who showed absolutely nothing for the entire game.
Matej Vydra had a goal disallowed by VAR in the second half for offside as Burnley played on the break, but Dyche’s side showed just how solid they can be defensively as they limited Wolves to potshots from range. Burnley would make it four late on as that man again Wood, ran across the Wolves backline before teeing up Ashley Westwood who fired in from outside the box.
This was simply the perfect Premier League away performance from a side who simply do not get the credit they deserve, perhaps because they have an English boss, perhaps because they stick to their 4-4-2 system. But against a Wolves side who have won so much praise over the past 24 months, with their Portuguese flair and expensive signings, Burnley and Dyche taught them a lesson.
By the time September rolls around, Dyche will have been Burnley manager for an astonishing nine years. He is currently the third longest serving manager in English football and In this day and age, for a Premier League manager to hold his post for so long is something spectacular. With two promotions on his CV, and with this season marking Burnley’s fifth successive season in the top flight, the question must be asked, where does Dyche go from here?
He’s achieved all he can at Burnley, he even led them to Europe last season - but is he ever going to be offered a job at a ‘bigger’ club? Certainly not at one of the ‘Shameless Six’ and clubs like Everton and Aston Villa are likely to have loftier ambitions than appointing the Burnley manager.
Dyche is, for some inexplicable reason, remains an unfashionable manager. Apparently getting consistently good results and exceeding expectations with one of the smallest budgets in the league is unfashionable - whatever that means. Burnley are a stable Premier League club who will not get relegated while Dyche is at the helm. In turn, perhaps Burnley are as good as it gets for the English boss, but that might not be a bad thing for either party.
Stability in football in the modern era needs praise, as does succeeding on a small budget and Dyche remains at the top of the class in both of these categories.