By 90Min
December 21, 2017

Two sides could hardly be further apart in every aspect and detail of a football club than Burnley and Manchester City, yet Clarets boss Sean Dyche is going toe-to-toe with the league's heavy hitters and usurping them in the process. 

Prior to the start of the season any comparison between the two clubs' managers would likely result in a psychological evaluation, yet Dyche and Pep Guardiola are drawing similarities for their respective sides' impressive seasons to date. 

However, the mountain the Burnley manager has climbed to guide his side to sixth place in the Premier League table after 18 games, merely two points off top four, is a greater achievement than Guardiola's unbeaten league season.

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Burnley are owned by a number of shareholders, with Mike Garlick holding the majority share, and they work with a relatively small transfer budget in relation to the expectations of modern football. Summer arrival Chris Wood demanded the highest transfer fee in the club's history following his £15m move from Leeds United.

Whereas, City are owned by Sheikh Mansour, worth an estimated £17bn, who is deemed to be one of football's wealthiest owners. Kevin de Bruyne is their record signing after his £66.6m move from VfL Wolsburg in 2015 - a clear disparity of the spending power each manager has at their disposal.

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Dyche has been at Turf Moor since 2013, he led the Clarets back to the Premier League after a four-year absence, his side then got relegated but he once again guided the club back to the top flight at the first time of asking. 


He has been backed by the board to stamp his authority and mark on the club for the long-term, a no-nonsense approach which values hard work, organisation and dedication to the cause. A united stance from the top of the club to the bottom has Dyche firing on all cylinders as his side follow in his every footstep. 


With little room to manoeuvre in the transfer budget, Dyche is unable to pick any player of his choosing from the leading leagues across world football, unlike his counterpart Guardiola, and must therefore identify cost effective targets who show promise and the ability to slip seamlessly into his philosophy. 

He so often relies on British and Irish talent - with at least 18 currently in the squad -  a rare approach in a league which is dominated by foreign talent - whilst City have just four players from England who feature regularly. 

Pound for pound in the league the results Burnley are achieving this season are incredible. Recording a victory against reigning champions Chelsea and earning draws against Tottenham and Liverpool have finally cast the spotlight on the club. 

The 46-year-old has scaled his side exceptionally, building his squad from back to front creating a stable and organised defensive mindset which has recently been touched up with attacking flair, which the Burnley faithful have a long illustrious history with.  

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Conceding just 12 goals to date, behind only City and Manchester United, the Clarets have proved hard for the opposition to open up. Despite being pragmatic in their approach offering little to suggest a derailment, many thought the Burnley bubble would have popped by now. 


The fact it hasn't is a testament to the management of Dyche. Arguably his toughest test, however, will come in the latter stages of December to early January when his side face five games in two weeks, which include league clashes against United and Liverpool, and City in the FA Cup. 

The depth of Burnley's squad will come to light in that time and we will then know if their second-half of the season is likely to be as impressive as the first. But if their ability to effectively cover the departures of key players in Danny Ings, Kieran Trippier and Michael Keane is anything to go by, than the Burnley train shows no sign of stopping. 

Whilst the Clarets will continue to be subjected to questions challenging their ability to maintain their meteoric rise up the table, Guardiola seems to steam rolling his way to the league title. 

The former Barcelona boss has a plethora of top quality players at his disposal, players who are expected to be a success and to win silverware. It is still no easy feat to be currently sitting 11 points clear at the top of the table. 

But, ask yourself this question. Would Guardiola be as successful with the players at Burnley's disposal as he is with City's? There is no doubt he has proved to be one of the greatest managers but when he has millions and millions of pounds to fork out, you expect that of him.

Many expected City to be the leading team in England this season, with Guardiola at the helm and the players he has to choose from you would be foolish not to think that. 

But Burnley had the expectation of another season in mid-table or even in the relegation discussions, yet Dyche has so far proved that he can mix it in the upper half of the table and get the best out of the players who the top clubs would not have even considered buying. 

It is why Dyche's achievements with Burnley to date trump that of Guardiola's with City. 

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