Season Previews 09/10 – Burnley

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burnley

Last Season: Promotion from Championship via playoffs (5th) and a Carling Cup semi final.

Say hello to your new teammates: Steven Fletcher, Tyrone Mears, David Edgar, Fernando Guerrero

Close the door on your way out: Alan Mahon, Gabor Kiraly

Predicted star: Burnley success will no doubt be based on having a team whose total is greater than the sum of its parts. Steven Fletcher comes with a big price tag (for Burnley) from Hibs. Kevin McDonald scored twice against Arsenal last season. 37 year old Graham Alexander played 61 games last season and will no doubt provide inspiration and goals from defence again.

An old fashioned name for an old fashioned club.

An old fashioned name for an old fashioned club.

Needs a big year: Martin Paterson scored 19 goals in all competitions last season. This including five in the League Cup adventure which saw many a top flight team defeated. Burnley will need him to score the goals that keep them up.

One to watch: Richard Eckersley has spent his career so far learning the trade at Old Trafford, so it will interesting to see if he can translate that education into a successful Premier League career. Keep an eye on Fernando Guerrero too.

What they want to happen: Survive. Beat Bolton.

Nightmare scenario: Challenge Derby’s record low points total of two seasons ago.

Plan A: Neat, tidy passing football based on an organised defence and midfield. The benefit of having a small squad is that the team is settled and know each other’s play inside out.

Plan B, just in case: Slightly more direct – though long ball doesn’t seem in Coyle’s style.

Predicted finish: 17th

Why? Many people have written off Burnley before the season has even begun, nailing them on for certain relegation. Yes, their squad is very small with little to no Premier League experience but the players at Coyle’s disposal are young and often with something to prove. Coyle himself is an excellent manager by all account and let’s not forget that Burnley reached the Carling Cup semi finals last season. This saw them knock out Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal while coming very close against Spurs. Of course motivating yourself for one off cup games is easier than the grind of the league season but I think Coyle is aware of the strengths and weaknesses and will make up for the latter with hard work and organisation.

I'm sure it will be a bigger prize if Burnley stay up.

I'm sure it will be a bigger prize if Burnley stay up.

Defensive reinforcements have been brought in, which given their 60 Championship goals conceded last year was a must. If those reinforcements can settle quickly, I think Burnley’s attacking play will be good enough to get results. The compactness and relative fortress of Turf Moor should be used to aid this too as I don’t foresee too many wins away from home. The first five games against Stoke, Man Utd, Everton Liverpool and Chelsea are brutal but if Burnley can avoid too much negativity following that run of games I genuinely fancy them to cause a few shocks and just about survive.

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T.

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