Burnley, who eventually escaped relegation last year by finishing with the golden “40 points” mark, may struggle to repeat the feat this year. Having lost their most impressive player, Michael Keane, to Everton, they will struggle to both keep their strikers scoring and their defence tight.
Manager: Sean Dyche
Squad: Heaton; Ward, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; Boyd, Hendrick, Marney, Arfield; Vokes, Gray
Strengths: Burnley conceded the least goals in the bottom ten (except relegated Middlesbrough) of the Premier League last season. Mee, Keane and Lowton particularly put in impressive performances in defence, with Keane joining Everton in the current transfer window. It remains to be seen whether Burnley can continue their defensive prowess without Keane.
Weaknesses: Attack. While Burnley excelled in defence, their attack is the worst in the league. Only the three relegated teams of last season scored less goals than Dyche’s side. Having only just escaped relegation last season, they may be competing against the newly promoted teams in a relegation battle come the end of this season.
Opportunities: Burnley must stay in the Premier League. That can be their only objective this season. They have not strengthened sufficiently in the summer to progress any further up the table, and to reach the 40 point mark again would be a surprise. Notwithstanding, there is still time left in transfer market for Sean Dyche to add some creative flair to his well-drilled side.
Threats: Relegation. Lack of goals. We can’t say it enough. Only Vokes hit double figures for Burnley last season (10), which simply isn’t good enough. They need another quality striker and a creative midfielder. They also need to start taking some risks – while Sean Dyche is an excellent manager, he is very conservative. They need to cast off the shackles if they want to progress up the table.
Burnley have a good, solid base – Sean Dyche has done that admirably. But like Everton parting with David Moyes, perhaps a change in manager (and style) will spark them to life – it might happen this season if Burnley perform as poorly as expected.