Premier League Season Preview | Burnley Betting Breakdown
Fran Santiago/Getty. Pictured: Johan Gudmonsson.
Welcome to Action Network's Premier League team previews, where our soccer experts will break down each and every Premier League team ahead of the season, which starts on August 11. In this edition, we'll be looking at Burnley.
Premier League Season Preview – Burnley
Burnley are back in the Premier League after a one-year trip to the Championship. You probably remember Burnley as a very defensive and anti-possession side under Sean Dyche, but that is not at all what the Clarets' profile was last season when they won the English second division. Manager Vincent Kompany transformed them into a possession dominant side that held more possession than anyone else in the league. The question is how well this approach will translate to the EPL now that they’re at a real talent deficit relative to the rest of the league.
The Clarets lost forward Nathan Tella, who led them in goals last year, back to Southampton. They’ve done some solid business to solidify themselves as the clear top promoted team on paper, but there’s real questions about where they project relative to last season’s newcomers. The league is weaker at the bottom this year because Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest all stayed in the league and Wolves have appeared to take a real step back in talent level.
Burnley’s defensive possession approach made them the clear best defense in the second division last year, with just 38.1 xGA conceded in 46 matches. Their xGA profile is comparable to Brentford from the year the Bees were promoted, and the problem facing Kompany isn’t all that different from the one Thomas Frank overcame that first season.
Kompany will need to show that his team can effectively defend out of possession, and they may struggle for goals in trying to outrun the inevitable attacking regression that looms. Burnley scored 87 goals from 66.2 xG, so while the attacking end result was dominant on paper, they were not the best attack in the league by any underlying attacking metric.
The Clarets are expected to have their main four summer signings featured in the first match of the season on Friday at home against Manchester City. Unlike Sheffield United and Luton Town, which haven’t spent much to improve their squads, Burnley have invested. The Clarets bought Sander Berge, a defensive midfielder from Sheffield United. He probably won’t be ready for Friday, but Basel forward Zeki Amdouni, center backs Jordan Beyer and Dara O’Shea could feature in the back line against Haaland.
They also bought 20-year-old Manchester City youth keeper James Trafford. Burnley will be successful if Kompany is able to find the right mix of defensive possession against the lower table sides and out of possession defending against the top sides.
Burnley don't project as a great attacking side full of goals, but the structure and defensive ceiling is decently high if Kompany can organize them.
In a more normal relegation battle, teams with Burnley’s xG difference in the Championship would immediately project as a bottom three side. Thanks to the two teams coming up with them and some real holes in the survived teams from last year, I’d actually be quite surprised if Burnley were relegated in their return to the Premier League.
Replacing Tella’s production will be difficult, but Amdouni is a decent striker prospect after scoring 16 goal involvements in 24 90s in Switzerland last year. Given the situation at Luton Town and Sheffield United — who don’t seem to be making much of a move for survival — Burnley should be the top promoted team.
Pick: Burnley – Top promoted team (-175 via bet365)