Unfashionable Burnley seem to have been in the Premier League forever but remarkably, in their current stint, this is just their third season in a row. When you realise this it makes what they have achieved even more remarkable.
Talismanic manager Sean Dyche has led his team from serial relegation and promotion bouncers to established Premier League competitors. Through the foundations of a solid defence as part of a traditional 4-4-2 the Clarets continue to exceed expectations and offer a consistent source of FPL points.
With reliability one of the Burnley’s most valuable commodities there has been some question already of whether Dyche’s men can cope with the rigours of playing European football this season and still maintain their Premier League performances. Many FPL players will be hoping that they do not make it past the qualifier vs Aberdeen next week bringing one less problem to worry about.
Burnley have yet to make any significant moves in the transfer market this summer although they are being heavily linked to Sam Clucas from Swansea but if they are to compete on a European stage they will need more strength in depth and more players through the door.
STAR MAN – Chris Wood (£6.5m)
It’s hard to pick a star man from a team that play so well together as a unit but one player does stand out as a player with huge potential when given the chances.
Chris Wood is the Claret’s main striker having joined from Leeds last summer for a club record fee of £15m. The New Zealand international scored 10 goals last season which made up 27% the team’s total goals in the league.
Injuries blighted the striker’s season which meant that he only made a total of 24 appearances but this makes his goal record all the more impressive. If you break it down further, as a number of those appearances were from the substitute bench, Wood played only a total of 1621 minutes over the campaign which divided by 90 (minutes in a match) is the equivalent of just 18 games.
Despite only really playing in half of the Claret’s games Wood collected 20 bonus points. This can be attributed to the team’s style of keeping things tight at the back and winning matches 1-0, giving their striker extra BPS for winning goals scored.
HIDDEN GEM – Aaron Lennon (£5.0m)
Again it is difficult to pick a hidden gem as Dyche likes to play a very direct, transparent style of play with minimal flair and every man contributing to the team as a whole. One player who does stand out more from a historical perspective is Aaron Lennon.
The former Spurs and Leeds United winger joined Burnley from Everton in January and made a promising start with his new club. Now at 31 years of age Lennon is a Premier League veteran having made over 350 league appearances.
After some difficult years with injury and being out of favour, Lennon finally appears settled at Turf Moor and appears to have nailed down a role in Burnley’s starting team. With his lethal crossing ability and the height of Wood, Barnes and Vokes up front, there is every possibility that we could see a revival here and at a price of £5m he could emerge as an excellent 4th or 5th midfielder in our FPL teams.
BARGAIN – Nick Pope (£5.0m)
Although the defence have rightly so been priced at £5m across the board this season, they still offer excellent value. Goalkeeper Nick Pope stands out above the rest though.
Having broken though last season when team mate Tom Heaton suffered a shoulder injury, Pope excelled for the Clarets keeping 11 clean sheets.
The keeper’s save and bonus point potential put him head and shoulders above the rest of his team mates finishing 35 points ahead of Burnley’s next highest scorer Gudmundsson and 50 points better than their best defender Ward.
There will always be some threat to Pope’s position with Heaton now fully recovered and ready to take back the number 1 jersey but as he’s yet to put a foot wrong it’s expected that the youngster will continue at the back for the foreseeable future.
PREDICTED LINE UP
Lowton – Tarkowski – Mee – Ward
Lennon – Gudmundsson – Cork – Hendrick
Wood – Barnes
Written by FPL Coach (@FPLCoach)