Many Burnley fans were relieved to see their side crash out before reaching the group stage of the Europa League. Can they improve in the 2019/20 season? Our Burnley FPL team guide will seek to find the assets that could shine for them.
Burnley’s fall from grace last season was symptomatic of a squad stretched far beyond its means. The twin commitments of a Europa League campaign and Premier League survival were too much for an ageing side to handle.
But things improved in the 2nd half of the season. Some attribute this to the change in goalkeeping personnel – a move which saw Tom Heaton take Joe Hart’s place between the sticks. Others think the dust was simply settling after a jam-packed opening to the season. In any case, a Burnley team without the burden of Europa League qualification shouldn’t be ignored.
What style of football do Burnley play?
The notorious Sean Dyche has formed his own brand of football that makes Burnley one of the most frustrating teams to play against. The flat 4-4-2 shape that has been deemed as stereotypically English by some critics has been a mainstay for Burnley. However, he has also reverted to a 4-4-1-1 shape when needed.
Their defensive shape is incredibly organised. Dyche’s aim is to block the middle of the pitch with a tight and narrow shape. He’ll also seek to block passing angles and look to encourage low percentage shots from the opposition. Burnley usually rank high in the number of blocked shots and clearances made too.
Their attacking style is one of the most direct in the league, usually relying on second balls to start attacks. With that said, they’ve shown an ability to press and play a slightly higher line too.
The problem for Burnley is that their playing style is based partly on inviting shots on goal. This might work against lesser teams, but higher quality players will usually find ways to break through and overwhelm the Clarets’ stubborn organisation.
Their style of attacking is also based on moments of hope rather than premeditation. The common aim with a direct approach is to try and capitalise on loose balls, which usually comes at the expense of a structured build up into the final third. This renders their methods of chance creation less diverse than other middling Premier League sides, which makes life easier for opposition defenders.
Last season’s key statistics
Their first course of action will be to restore their defensive solidity at home. This will also be FPL manager’s first interest and was previously a huge plus point for Dyche’s men before commitments to European football saw these returns lessen.
In 2017/18, before their additional European involvement, Burnley ranked 7th for total clean sheets (12), 8th for big chances conceded (58) and 6th for goals conceded (39). Last season, however, they ranked 12th for total clean sheets (8), 15th for big chances conceded (84) and 16th for goals conceded (68).
FPL fixture difficulty
The table above shows the fixture difficulty of Burnley’s opening six matches, as determined by our clean sheet tracker and attacking tracker. These difficulty trackers are based on last seasons home/away specific performance statistics. Newly promoted sides statistics have been weighted according to their transitional value.
Who takes penalties for Burnley?
Accordingly to our data, Ashley Barnes is designated penalty taker for Burnley. Chris Wood is the backup penalty taker.
Which Burnley players to pick on FPL?
The fact that, at the time of writing, no Burnley player is more than 6% owned should be foreboding for FPL managers looking at the once watertight club. But hidden value is hidden for a reason: sometimes it needs a few gameweeks to manifest.
Hidden behind a defence that conceded the 4th worst xGA (behind the 3 relegated teams) last season is Charlie Taylor, who, priced at £4.5m, presents an affordable way into the Burnley backline.
The underlying assumption, of course, is that Burnley will continue the improving trajectory they showed at the end of last season into the 2019/20 season. That isn’t a certainty, but making the Premier League their sole priority will surely help.
Even the most defensively robust teams need to score to stay in the Premier League. Enter Burnley’s flagship players; Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. The pair managed 22 goals between them last season – half of Burnley’s total. At £6.5m each, there’s an argument the duo should be cheaper. In reality, a proven asset who bagged a double-figured goal tally last season might well have been pricier.
For budget options, Burnley’s midfield shows some promise. Scoring 111 points in the 18/19 campaign, Lee Westwood (£5.5m) had the 4th highest FPL points tally in the £5.5m midfielder bracket. Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£6.0m) is one of Burnley’s few creative outlets, scoring 3 goals and 7 assists in an injury-ridden 1743 minutes last season.
Finally, the much-touted Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) will be hoping the 2019/20 campaign will mark his transition from unproven talent to fledgling star. His 3 goals and 4 assists last season do little to divulge the true extent of his talent. Certainly one to watch.