Why Burnley won’t be Premier League whipping boys next season
After one of the tightest Championship promotion races in years, Burnley became the first side to clinch promotion to the Premier League this season following yesterday’s 1-0 victory over QPR at Turf Moor, with Sam Vokes netting his 15th goal of the season.
Despite being relegated from the Premier League in 2015, the Clarets have stuck with boss Sean Dyche and returned to the top tier at the first time of asking. Here’s why they’re now well-equipped to stay there.
Dyche has bought superbly on a budget
While Burnley have suffered relegation during both of their seasons in the Premier League, the Lancashire club’s model has been to spend within their means, and gradually build up the funds and squad to remain in the top-flight – a strategy which has worked superbly for the likes of West Brom and Sunderland.
The Clarets boss has mined English football to unearth some real gems for good value. Tendayi Darikwa – bought from Chesterfield – is one example, having proved a versatile acquisition on the right flank this season, while ex-Villa man Matt Lowton has revitalised his career at Turf Moor.
And, Burnley have gone further afield to pick up highly-rated talent, with the skilful Rouwen Hennings – snapped up from Karlsruher in the German second-tier – another exciting acquisition in the past year.
They have a fantastic goalscorer
For many sides promoted to the Premier League, goalscoring is the major issue. Setting up a well-organised defence is one thing, but breaking down the likes of Manchester City, Leicester or Tottenham is quite another.
Burnley, though, have an ace up their sleeve. Andre Gray – their 2015 acquisition from Brentford – is the Championship’s top scorer, and the robust former Luton striker is almost unstoppable when cutting in from the wing.
With 22 goals in just 39 league outings this season, and electric pace to match his finishing, expect Gray to hit the ground running in the top-flight.
They rise to the occasion – and fear nobody
Despite narrowly failing to beat the drop during their last top-flight season, the Clarets proved themselves a match for the biggest sides, on their day. They took four points from Manchester City and held the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham, and Chelsea to draws.
And in this Championship campaign, the north-west club have kept their composure to win four of the last five games, to clinch promotion – including a 1-0 victory at the home of fierce Lancashire rivals Preston North End.
A team unit filled with confidence, quality and a lethal finisher, the Premier League’s biggest and brightest will underestimate Burnley at their peril.
The Clarets can secure the Championship title with victory at the Valley this weekend, with Dyche’s men 4/9 to win, and Charlton 11/2 to spoil the party.
The Turf Moor outfit won the reverse fixture 4-0 in December, so the smart money could be on a repeat of that scoreline at 16/1, with the Addicks already relegated.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.