No team in the Premier League have more points than Swansea, which will not continue. No team have fewer than bottom-of-the-table Burnley, which probably will.
This implies no criticism of either manager. It is merely a reflection of the financial imperative that, more than anything, dictates the modern game.
Swansea are a well-run club with a fine team who are a credit to the elite division, but with attendances of barely 20,000 and no billionaire benefactor they are never going to win the league. Burnley have a proud tradition but they are small fry in the top division, powerless to compete financially and hoping for a footballing miracle from players who were not good enough to win the Championship, reinforced by cheap and cheerful journeymen.
In this transfer window the Swans have spent more than £20m on Bafétimbi Gomis, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Federico Fernández and Jefferson Montero, the Ecuador World Cup winger, among others. Burnley have paid buttons for Marvin Sordell, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Michael Kightly and Stephen Ward.
In the first half on Saturday the contrast was starkly apparent as the Welsh team outclassed their opponents with the now familiar slick, pacy passing game that has won them friends since their arrival in the Premier League in 2011.
They should have been home and hosed before the interval but failed to translate overwhelming superiority and possession into more than the 23rd-minute goal that was the product of Nathan Dyer’s pace. Consequently Burnley, emboldened by Sean Dyche’s half-time exhortations, were able to assemble a thoroughly creditable, if ultimately unrewarded, fightback.
With maximum points from their first two matches, including that uplifting win away to Manchester United on the opening day, Garry Monk knows his Swansea team will be all right again this season. Burnley, however, are another kettle of hotpot. The last time they were in the Premier League, five years ago, Owen Coyle’s Clarets lasted just one season, and promotion seems destined to end in tears again.
Dyche urgently requires a substantial injection of quality, but accepts it will not be forthcoming before the window closes in eight days’ time. He said: “It’s not about what we need, it’s about who we can afford to bring in. That’s tough.
“The club have made it quite clear that there are certain guidelines I have to work within [Burnley’s wages ceiling is a modest £20,000 a week], and there’s no point me asking why I haven’t got 25 million quid to spend. How much have we got? There are Championship clubs paying more in transfers and wages than we do now.
“The biggest challenge for clubs like ours has been the [Ross] McCormack transfer [from Leeds to Fulham for £11m]. That has frightened everyone. No disrespect to him as a player, but the money involved in that deal, between Championship teams, has raised the level for everyone.
“I suppose it reflects the enormous wealth some clubs have now. But there’s no point worrying about it, it’s reality, so there’s no point moaning. We’ll just get on with it and do what we can with our resources.”
Man of the match Nathan Dyer (Swansea City)