Forget sexy football, Burnley are taking the direct route to success

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Burnley manager Sean Dyche deserves all the credit he gets, having taken the Clarets to the top-half of the Premier League table after 21 games.

He knows where his side’s strengths lie, and he accepts their weaknesses can be exploited, hence why they’ve got the third-best home record in the division yet have only picked up one point out of a possible 27 on the road.

But there’s one tactic which Dyche’s men are deploying to perfection. And love it or hate it, there’s no doubting it’s paying off.

Leicester City famously boasted the lowest average possession figures of any previous Premier League champion last year, with Ranieri opting to exploit the pace of his forward players on the counter attack.

Of course, that’s a style which requires plenty of long balls to be played throughout a game.

But while the Foxes have struggled to replicate the success they enjoyed from that approach last campaign, Burnley are doing exactly that.

However, this isn’t something Dyche has only introduced to his players this season. In fact, in their promotion-winning campaign last time out, only Ipswich Town recorded a higher long-ball per game figure.

This time out, Dyche’s men are averaging 83 long-balls per game. That’s some five more than Middlesbrough in second, and nine more than the reigning Premier League champions.

But that’s not even half of the story.

As well as that figure, the Lancashire outfit are averaging roughly 251 short passes per game.

That means 24.85 per cent of Burnley’s attempted passes are long balls.

To put that into some context, just 8.9 per cent of Arsenal’s passes are long, while 91.1 per cent are short.

And while league leaders Chelsea are averaging just over 22 attempted dribbles per game, 10th-placed Burnley are at the bottom of that respected statistic table, registering just eight for every 90 minutes they play.

We’re not knocking it though, as clearly it’s working wonders and causing nightmares for opposing defenders.

And although many fans and pundits will consider this to be one of the most exciting leagues in world football in terms of ‘sexy football’, it’ll be a long time before Sean Dyche will be changing his ways.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.