It’s always a great story seeing a team, in any sport, reach the big leagues on the back of hard work, team spirit and good tactics. I know money doesn’t always buy happiness, but when it comes to football it often buys wins! For every QPR or Leicester there has to be a Burnley to help us keep in touch with reality…
Unfortunately a good team doesn’t always mean any one player in particular is going to be fantasy relevant. Burnley don’t really have many players that immediately jump out at you as stars, but that’s the reason why they are here! They are a good team who played good football to get here, and they aren’t going to change that now. It also helped that they managed to avoid the injury curse, with 10 of their first XI playing over 38 games last season!
They do have one player in their defence that could become a star however, Kieran Trippier. The ex Man City kid is an attacking right back who collected a huge 12 assists last season but comes at an awkward 5.0m. He may bring home some attacking points but the worry is that Burnley may not be tight enough at the back in this division and keep enough clean sheets to make it worthwhile. A definite wait and see. The rest of the defence will be made up of keeper Tom Heaton (4.5m), centre backs Jason Shackell (5.0m) and Michael Duff (4.0m), as well as left back Ben Mee (4.5m). Duff at 4.0m is probably going to be the best value as a bargain basement defender who should play a lot of games. That said, Burnley have been linked with a few centre backs in recent weeks so that may change… Quick stat. Burnley kept 19 clean sheets last season from 46 games, conceding 37 goals along the way. Whether that translates into EPL form is the unknown…
Another potential star that not many of us have heard of is going to be operating from one of Burnley’s wings. Scott Arfield. Many Burnley fans considered Arfield their best player last season, scoring 8 goals from 42 starts, and if he can take the next step then he might end up in a lot of our fantasy teams. He comes in at a fairly tempting 5.0m. Watch his form in preseason… Michael Kightly is another to watch, he joins the club on a full time basis after a successful loan spell last season, and should line up on the other wing. He has the rare commodity in this team of having EPL experience, without really blowing anyone away. Through the centre will be Dave Jones, Dean Marney and potentially Steven Reid (all 4.5m), but it’s hard to put a case forward for any of them. The only other who should get minutes is new signing Matty Taylor (5.0m) who will be handy on the left wing, but that’s about it.
Similar to Leicester, it was in attack that Burnley really clicked last season. Starting strikers Danny Ings (6.0m) and Sam Vokes (5.5m) both had great seasons with 21 and 20 league goals respectively. We shouldn’t need to concern ourselves with Vokes as he’s out for some time with a knee injury but if your team structure warrants it, then I guess Ings could be ok, albeit a very risky choice. They’ve got Marvin Sordell and Lukas Jutkiewicz (both 5.0m) who can fill in for the injured Vokes but neither come with any recommendations.
So there we have it. There’s a few there to keep an eye on, Trippier, Arfield and Kightly, but a lot will depend on how this team adapts and settles into EPL life. They have a gaffer in Sean Dyche who doesn’t seem like the kind of boss to take any crap from his boys, so they’ll keep their head down and get down to business.