For the first time, Burnley maintained their Premier League status. @liambednarski takes a look at their FPL prospects ahead of the 2017-18 season.
Burnley Team Preview
The Clarets were literally ‘saved’ last season by Tom Heaton’s (5.0) remarkable FPL haul of 149 points as the Burnley stopper accumulated 142 saves.
The goalkeeper is fairly-priced this season given his performance between the posts although the departure of Michael Keane (5.5) to Everton may be a significant one. Burnley have a traditionally passive transfer policy, they rely on a tight knit squad to compete.
“We lost five in the summer and brought in three,”
“It’s fair to say we still need to add a couple more if we can. That will give us more depth, so we are on the look-out still.
– Sean Dyche, Manager, Burnley –
Burnley’s DNA has traditional values at its core which is reflected in the flexibility, resilience and cohesiveness of the playing squad. Summer acquisitions Jonathan Walters (5.5), Jack Cork (4.5) & Charlie Taylor (4.5) personify aspects of that DNA in line with a strong recruiting strategy from the British Isles.
Jeff Hendrik (5.5), Robbie Brady (5.5) & Ashley Westwood (4.5) joined in the previous transfer window, adding midfield depth to the squad as they scrambled to survive the Premier League.
With the only defensive signing being left-back Charlie Taylor (4.5) it appears that James Tarkowski (4.5) will partner Bee Mee (4.5) in central defence at the time of writing.
The club secured survival with plenty of grit and determination. Long term manager Sean Dyche sacrificed attacking style for a robust and unique defensive strategy. His team conceded a league leading 303 shots from outside the box.
Burnley under Dyche appears to force the opposition into taking shots from distance, allowing for Heaton to make save after save. This is ignoring the fact they also ranked third worst for shots conceded inside the box (369 shots).
Pairing this with the fact that they had the second worst attack (in raw numbers) with efforts in the box totalling (216) and attempts on target (115) there may be little upside in the Clarets this season.
Burnley’s style of play is/was counter attack focused especially away from home which proved ideal for Sam Vokes (6.0) and at times Andre Gray (6.5). It remains to be seen how effective Gray can be in the Premier League after a 2016-17 season interrupted by personal issues.
Burnley Predicted Line Up
Penalty takers: Vokes, Gray, Defour
Direct Set Piece Takers: Defour, Brady, Gray
Indirect Set Piece Takers: Defour, Brady, Gudmundsson
Tom Heaton (5.0): he was the man to have at GK in 2016-17. Proved an excellent shot stopper, perhaps the best I have ever seen. Consider, there may be better options at 4.5 in FPL.
Matt Lowton (4.5): the right back is a capable player at this level and faces little rotation risk. Provided two assists in 2016-17 those attacking forays down the right were limited. Light Monitor.
James Tarkowski (4.5): the young centre-back has his chance to nail down a spot this season. It is likely another player will be signed in this position. Avoid.
Ben Mee (4.5): The left-back come centre-back was a mainstay of the defense as such is the most reliable pick in this defense. Monitor.
Charlie Taylor (4.5): The 23-year-old will compete with Stephen Ward (4.5) for the left back role, he has taken that position in the preseason games. Standing at over six feet tall the left-back provided seven assists last season in the Championship. He shapes as Burnley’s most interesting FPL option at the back. Monitor.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (5.0): The Icelandic winger is a flexible, hard working player who can contribute to attacks. He suffered repeated hamstring injuries last season but is likely to slot in on the right-side when fit. Comes in at a fair price of 5.0. Monitor.
Jack Cork (4.5): Sparingly used at Swansea last season the defensive midfielder could provide a viable 5th midfield option in FPL. Unlikely to contribute to attacks and accumulated 7 yellow cards in 2016-17. A decent option, given the price bracket.
Simon Defour (5.5): is a crafty player with an eye for a through-ball although he is unlikely to have a large FPL output. Avoid.
Robbie Brady (5.5): The wide player was a fantasy option a few seasons ago whilst at Hull City. He has been priced at 5.5 which lowers our appetite for the player. He’s a flexible player who has not been able to nail down a spot in the side since his January move. Light Monitor.
Andre Gray (6.5): The 25-year-old had issues last season yet he managed to score nine goals and collect three assists, His combination of pace, precision off both feet in and outside the box makes him a lethal proposition on his day. Although without penalties in his locker and the rotation threat of Jonathan Walters (5.5) I would recommend utilising your 3rd striker role in your FPL squad elsewhere to start the season. Strong Monitor.
Sam Vokes (6.0): Had a strong finish to the 2016-17 campaign scoring a total of 10 goals last season. He found himself undroppable partnering either Gray (6.5) or Barnes (5.5). With Walters (5.5) coming into the mix combined with the lack of chances we may see some regression from Vokes.
That said Kevin Long (4.0) is shaping as a prospect to start the season, recently returning from national team duties with Ireland. This is due to the injury doubts surrounding James Tarkowski (4.5).
There is a vigorous debate within the FPL Addicts team about the merits of OOP (out of position) prospect Jonathan Walters (5.5) although we shall wait to see the passing of the opening four fixtures before re-assessing that option.
Please leave any FPL questions you wish to ask me in the comments below or contact me on twitter via @liambednarski