Burnley performed above all expectations as they never really looked in danger of being relegated. Their home form was the key to this, picking up 33 out of their 40 points at Turf Moor. Conversely, however, the Clarets picked up just one win away from home, with only Hull picking up less points on the road. Had the Premier League been stronger last season, you would imagine that Burnley would’ve been in trouble. Therefore, this season Sean Dyche must focus on becoming tougher to beat away from home if Burnley are to avoid any second-season syndrome. One of Burnley’s key strengths last season was their centre-back partnership of Ben Mee and Michael Keane, whilst ‘keeper Tom Heaton made the most saves in the league (142) whilst also keeping 10 clean sheets. However, Keane has left for Everton, and Burnley are yet to replace him. The signings that they have made have been astute, with defensive midfielder Jack Cork and attacker Jon Walters offering solid options with Premier League experience. Left-back Charlie Taylor has come in on a free from Leeds to offer competition for places with Stephen Ward. Burnley face three tough away trips in their opening five games, travelling to Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool, so could struggle for points early on. However, they face only Arsenal out of last season’s top seven in their run-in, so should be able control their own fate should they be in any danger of relegation.
Key Player: Ben Mee. Although Michael Keane gained most of the plaudits for Burnley’s defence last season, Ben Mee actually out-performed him. Mee averaged almost twice as many successful tackles per game as Keane, as well as having more successful interceptions, blocks and clearances. The two averaged around the same number of passes per game, but Mee managed to complete a higher percentage of these. With Keane’s departure, it will be vital to Burnley for Mee to continue his form in to the new season, if Burnley are to improve on their dismal away form.
One to Watch: Charlie Taylor. The 23-year-old left-back has joined on a free transfer from Leeds. He has been a mainstay of the Leeds side for the past three seasons, and it will be interesting to see whether he can make the step up to become the first choice at Burnley. He was solid defensively last season, and chipped in with 3 assists in his 29 appearances. Taylor will be tested this year with Burnley’s tactics away from home relying on sitting deep and being solid defensively.
Last Season: 16th
Predicted Finish: 16th