Premier League: Burnley move into top four after win against Stoke

Champions League qualification is a possibility for Sean Dyche’s side

Ashley Barnes Burnley Premier League
Ashley Barnes scores Burnley’s winner against Stoke City at Turf Moor 
(Image credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Might it be a trip to Burnley for Barcelona in next season’s Champions League? Don’t rule it out, after the Clarets’ 1-0 win over Stoke moved them into the top four of the Premier League.

Substitute Ashley Barnes struck two minutes from time to secure another three points for Sean Dyche’s men and the Burnley manager believes there is no reason why they shouldn’t qualify for Europe’s premier tournament next season.

“It’s a run of results and a start which the fans are enjoying and rightly so,” he said. “Football is about realities, but also about dreams. It’s a tough task for us winning games at this level, but Leicester blew the roof off dreams in football.”

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Burnley won’t emulate Leicester and walk off with the Premier League, but last night’s victory moves them above Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool. That could all change this evening, when the trio are in action, but for the moment, Burnley can enjoy the rarefied air of the Premier League top four.

In the last 15 years, Leicester are the only English club to appear in the Champions League outside the same old six of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham. So could Burnley join that exclusive cartel?

“We’re having a real go at what we can achieve this season,” said Dyche. “I’m not being negative. I’m a realist, there’s a lot of challenges coming our way… I keep reality because this division will eat you alive. We’re having a real go at what we can achieve this season.”

Next in Burnley’s sights are Chelsea, who are third, four points clear of the Clarets but still trailing Manchester City by 11 points, despite last night’s 3-1 win at Huddersfield.

First-half goals from Tiemoue Bakayoko and Willian gave the Blues a comfortable cushion at half-time and Pedro made it 3-0 five minutes into the second period. Laurent Depoitre headed a late consolation for the hosts, but Huddersfield were clearly second-best.

“It is very hard, now, to stop them,” said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, when asked if his side could catch Manchester City. “You must be realistic. I prefer to tell the truth rather than a good lie.

“Sometimes I can be too honest, but I like to speak honestly with my players and our fans. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to try to catch them.”

In the evening’s other Premier League fixture, Crystal Palace beat Watford 2-1 with a late goal from James McArthur to move out of the relegation zone for the first time this season.

“It’s wonderful to win but we’re still very close to the bottom of the table,” said Palace manager Roy Hodgson. “We have a mountain to climb and… the moment we think our problems are over is the moment our problems will begin.”

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Last night’s Premier League results:

  • Burnley 1 Stoke City 0
  • Crystal Palace 2 Watford 1
  • Huddersfield Town 1 Chelsea 3

Tonight’s Premier League fixtures

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