Burnley 2023/24 Premier League Season Preview | The Hard Tackle

Burnley will be keen to cement their status as a Premier League side under promising young manager Vincent Kompany.

Burnley made a stunning return to the Premier League after running away with the 2022/23 EFL Championship title following their relegation to the second division in the prior campaign.

Sean Dyche had taken the club as far as he could, and the relegation gave the club an opportunity to shake things up. They did just that by appointing Vincent Kompany, who has since managed to not just alter the club’s culture but also embolden ambitions among a fanbase who can dream once again.

The Clarets had become synonymous with their physical style of football that was able to churn out results. While it was not easy on the eye, it helped establish Burnley as a formidable team who were difficult to beat, especially in home territory.

To transform them into a fearless attacking side that amassed 101 points in the Championship in his very first season speaks volumes of Kompany’s ability as a coach. The Belgian is still a rookie and having turned down an approach from Tottenham Hotspur, he will now have the opportunity to show the Premier League and a large part of the footballing world the new Burnley.

The infusion of technical excellence to a pass-and-move system will certainly find its takers in the top flight and could help the Clarets stun more than one opposition with their fearless approach. While some would argue that a more pragmatic style could aid Burnley’s hopes of staying up, Kompany was trained in the Pep Guardiola school of fine arts and should opt to die by the sword rather than toe the line.

The fact that Fulham managed to stay up last season should reinforce Kompany’s belief that his tactics can translate onto the top level. While it would be unwise to expect the Clarets to take the league by storm, they have what it takes as a unit to upset sides of a higher pedigree.

Burnley’s primary objective next season will be to stay up, and a lot will depend on how well they can perform at Turf Moor. They lost just one Championship game last season at the venue and will hope to once again turn it into a fortress.

The Prelude

Burnley did not just win the 2022/23 Championship title but ran away with it. They ended the campaign with just three defeats in the league, netting 87 goals and garnering an impressive 101 points. They will be keen to build up a similar momentum next season and put points on the board early in the campaign.

Kompany’s men did not just have the best attack in the second tier but also the stingiest defence. The fact that they ran away with the league despite winning just one of the first five matches in the campaign speaks volumes about Kompany’s tactics paying off.

Burnley built a side that thrived on cohesion and teamplay while staying loyal to their possession-based pass-and-move style of football. They led the Championship not only in possession but also crafted 1091 shot creation chances, the third-best of any team in the league. The challenge lies in raising their level to meet the Premier League standards.

It is perhaps fitting that Kompany will go up against Guardiola and his former side Manchester City in their Premier League opener. The game should give us a good idea of where Burnley stands and how much of an impact they can make in the top division.

The master humbled the student last season in the FA Cup quarter-final. But Burnley will hope that the lessons learned that day will help them secure top-flight survival at the least. Burnley also were knocked out of the League Cup by another top-flight side, Manchester United, perhaps further implying that the gulf in class between the first and second divisions is formidable.

The Clarets cannot be expected to dominate the ball as they managed to do so in the Championship last season. And much will depend on how well they make use of it. However, they are well drilled on the counter-attack and could bomb forward and catch opposition defences off guard when an opportunity presents itself.

Kompany’s willingness to stay put and manage Burnley in the Premier League is a massive boost for a side that is aiming to trademark their new identity. The fun is certainly back at Turf Moor and the Stadium will be in full voice, once again threatening to be the Waterloo for several unassuming rivals.

Squad Update

Burnley’s summer transfer window has proven to be a mixed bag so far. Firstly, they failed to retain the services of last season’s top scorer Nathan Tella, who returned to Southampton after what was a wildly successful loan spell.

Despite Burnley remaining keen, Southampton will want Tella to fire them back to the top flight, making a deal difficult. More so, a deal for Borussia Dortmund’s Soumaïla Coulibaly fell apart at the last minute, adding to Kompany’s frustrations. Ian Maatsen also returned to Chelsea after his impressive loan spell. 

It is not all bad as Jordan Beyer and Michael Obafemi have made their transfers to Turf Moor permanent while Nathan Redmond will add some much-needed top-flight experience to the roster.

Dara O’Shea will add depth to the defence while Zeki Amdouni and James Trafford have been the club’s big-money additions this summer. A lot will depend on how well the duo can adapt to the top flight and become a part of what has largely been a well-knit Burnley squad.

With the free agency having some sensational players on offer, it would be wise for the Clarets to add some experience to their roster. Burnley might not be the most fashionable side to play for. But under Kompany they are an ambitious team looking to challenge the might of Premier League opposition.

More so, Burnley can take heart from Bournemouth retaining their top-flight status last season despite the lack of serious investment in the playing squad. The Clarets can certainly be cautiously confident of securing their spot in the Premier League come the summer of 2024.

Key Fixtures

The losses to both Manchester City and Manchester United last season in the cup competitions highlighted the gulf in quality that exists between Burnley and the top sides in the Premier League.

While it would be too much to expect the Clarets to go toe to toe against some of the best players in the world, they can more than hold their own against sides in the bottom half of the table. This primarily includes the other newly-promoted sides and those who were around the relegation zone last season.

Burnley will have little time to adapt to the top flight as they open their campaign against champions Manchester City at home before travelling to fellow promoted side Luton Town, although that match will likely happen later in the season. They then end August by playing an ambitious Aston Villa side who have rediscovered their best under Unai Emery.

September and October are unlikely to ease out for the Clarets with games against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Chelsea and Newcastle United to come. Their best shot of securing wins these two months lies in the games against Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth. However, both games will be played away from Turf Moor, making it a proper challenge for Kompany and co.

December is a crucial month with seven games scheduled in the festive season. Clashes against Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Brighton & Hove Albion should prove challenging while those against Sheffield United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Everton and Fulham. Of the four, Wolves and Everton have struggled in recent times and can be taken down with the right application of pressure.

April is another decisive month for Burnley as they face Sheffield United, Wolves and Everton in the reverse fixtures. Securing wins over these teams could be akin to a six-pointer as they are all expected to be in or around the drop zone.

It is imperative that Burnley make the most of these matches in April as they face Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur from Gameweeks 35-37. They will need to ensure that the points are on the board before ending their campaign at home to Nottingham Forest. It could very well prove to be a do-or-die situation for both teams that night in the race to beat the drop.

The games against Sheffield United, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest, Wolves, Everton and Bournemouth should be the ones Kompany is targeting for maximum points. With 36 points on offer, a figure of around 25 to 30 should see Burnley retain their Premier League status.

Key Players

James Trafford

The English youth international will be Burnley’s last line of defence and comes off a brilliant 2022/23 season that saw him shine for both club and country.

The former Manchester City starlet shone for Bolton Wanderers in the EFL League One, helping them to the playoffs and also winning the Papa John’s Trophy. He also impressed for England as they won the Under-21 Euros, further cementing his reputation as one of the most promising young custodians in the league today. 

Taking the step as a Premier League regular will not be easy, especially given that Trafford will be a busy man thanks to Burnley’s somewhat open defence. With points at a premium, the onus will be on the youngster to step up and take his opportunity with both hands.

Zeki Amdouni

Having lost Nathan Tella, Burnley need a reliable goalscorer to take his spot. Jay Rodriguez is not young, while Wout Wghorst has often disappointed in the Premier League. This could leave the door open for Amdouni to stake his claim as a senior star.

The Swiss international enjoyed a prolific season with both FC Basel and the national team and, at 22, is seeking to develop his game further. Possessing good pace and the intelligence to run into channels, Amdouni could thrive as the focal point of Kompany’s 4-2-3-1 formation.

He can also play as a roaming left-sided attacker who can play alongside Weghorst and take advantage of the Dutchman’s physical presence to move into channels. How well the young striker can adjust to life at Turf Moor and replace Tella could make a world of difference.

Josh Cullen

The 27-year-old is an underrated cog in the Burnley midfield but remains a crucial player who helps Kompany’s side tick. His passing range coupled with his incredible work rate makes him a robust presence in the middle of the park.

Cullen’s energy in winning the ball back and hounding opposition midfielders is a crucial component in Kompany’s side’s press. While he often does not grab the limelight, his performances help others tick and should prove pivotal in helping the Clarets gain a foothold in the middle of the park.

Season Expectations

Burnley’s dominance in the Championship is unlikely to translate to the Premier League, especially given the quality of the clubs on offer. The summer additions, while promising, are not likely to make a big dent in terms of quality. So it is imperative that the Clarets focus on the games they can win.

While a good cup run or two is good for morale, they will need to give the Premier League their maximum focus and reach the magical 40-point mark as soon as possible. Home games especially will give Kompany and Cop the opportunity to add to their tally and secure a spot in the Premier League 2024/25 season.

The season will also be a test for Kompany, who will be managing a Premier League side for the first time ever. Having seen Mikel Arteta impress at Arsenal, it remains to be seen if the Belgian, too, will use Guardiola’s tactics to help turn a Premier League side’s fortunes. 

While the Clarets have what it takes to avoid relegation, it will be no cakewalk. The Hard Tackle predicts Vincent Kompany and his men to retain their Premier League status with a 15th-placed finish in the 2023/24 campaign.

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