Season Preview – Burnley
Burnley were the Championship’s surprise package last season when they shocked the rest of the league – and their own supporters – by finishing in second position and securing a return to the Premier League after a 4 year absence. Their promotion was a deserved one though with Sean Dyche’s men getting a club record 93 points and finishing 8 points ahead of 3rd place Derby County. The team was built on hard work and a strong team ethic with unfancied players – something that will be replicated in the coming season.
Transfer Window so far:
Only a few players remain from Burnley’s previous spell in the Premier League and Sean Dyche has rightly tried to add top flight experience into his squad. The problem however is whether his acquisitions, Matty Taylor and Steven Reid, can still play at the highest level of English football as they reach the twilight years of their careers. Other signings include Marvin Sordell and Lukas Jutkiewicz, both whom have never been prolific goal scorers in the Championship could leave an underwhelming taste in the mouths of fans. The bright signings of the summer are Matt Gilks and Michael Knightly, who was on loan at Burnley last season, both joining with previous Premier League experience.
Key Player: Danny Ings
The young striker enjoyed an impressive season last campaign scoring 26 goals and creating a partnership with Sam Vokes that lynch-pinned their promotion to the top flight. Having a goal scorer in your team that can almost guarantee you double figures one of the most important aspects to have on your side when in a relegation battle, Danny Ings has the ability to do this.
Last season was a coming of age for Ings having only previously scored 6 goals in 47 appearances for Burnley, his total of 21 league goals earned him a call up to England Under-21’s. Ings managed 3.6 shots per match, 144 in total, while making 53 key passes showing the impact he has in the attacking third. Being a strong build and athletic player, Ings has the physicality that is necessary to cope in the Premier League. Whether he can continue his impressive goal record will be important for Burnley’s chances.
Burnley had the best defence in the Championship last season conceding only 37 goals and losing the fewest games (5).
Burnley’s total of 93 points would have won them the title in 5 of the last 6 seasons.
Burnley face an uphill challenge to retain their place in the Premier League, but after surprising people last season everyone associated with the club will ready to do the same again and achieve an even bigger feat. Looking like they are going into the season with a relatively small squad compared to their rivals, the high tempo, ‘in your face’ pressing employed by Burnley may cause them a problem come January and February when the games pile up and the lack of available rotation claims its victims. Favourites for the drop, it will probably be a short stay at the expensive Premier League dinner party for the Lancashire club.