So I’ve finally got my Burnley seasons assesment together, better late than never (just like Burnley’s signings this window!). After a fantastic season for the Clarets last season, I’m writing this on the eve of my trip to Istanbul to see Burnley’s 3rd game in the Europa League already. It’s going to be a long trip, £600 just for flights; via Dalaman then to Istanbul and then changing at Düsseldorf on the return.
Its been a busy couple of days for Burnley completing the signings of Ben Gibson, Joe Hart and Matej Vydra. On the surface, other fans would argue these to be relatively average signings but I am extremely happy with the business Dyche has done so far. Joe Hart – 5 time golden glove winner, a leader and great range of experiences, which will help with juggling Europa League and Premier League commitments. I think this will spell the end of Heaton FPL fans, especially for the opening games of the season. There are rumours that Heaton could be on the move, but we will have to see about that one. Hart is valued at £4.5m on FPL, which is £0.5m cheaper that Pope/ Heaton, which makes him, a fantastic option to all you managers. Burnley kept 12 clean sheets last season, with only 4 keepers having more than Nick Pope. With the way our defence shapes up, I’d imagine Hart would be very similar to that and I think Burnley’s goalkeeping coach, Billy Mercer, will undoubtedly get the most out of the 2X Premier League champion.
Ben Gibson is another great addition in terms of competition for Ben Mee and James Tarkowski. Signing from Middlesbrough for £15m, this is great business considering he was tipped for England alongside Michael Keane when Boro were in the Premier League. Tarkowski and Mee are both owned by 5%+ FPL managers which is relatively high for a team of Burnley’s calibre. I would definitely hold off putting Gibson in straight away, at a value of £5m on FPL, it is more than likely he will spend the start of the PL season on the bench and await his breakthrough. Gibson will however, trump Kevin Long as Burnley’s reserve CB so Kevin Long is one to avoid now. A hidden gem in Burnley’s defence is Matt Lowton, valued at £5.0m the hardworking right back provided a handful of assists in the remaining games of the season as he hit a real run of form; his total score last season was only shaded by his injury.
Matej Vydra is another player to keep on the watch list – but probably best avoided for the start of the season. The Czech born striker signed from Derby after finishing as the Championship top scorer last season. When fit, he is expected to partner Wood upfront and replace Hendrick or Barnes. If Chris Wood he can keep up his goal scoring record then he’ll be right up there with the rest. 24 appearances, 19 of them starts and 10 goals. He got 104 points last season despite only starting half of the games, to put that into perspective, Firmino got 184 and Wood missed half a season. He struggled with fitness last season with a niggling knee injury, so if he can keep up his fitness then he’s one to keep an eye on. Vydra and Wood both hold championship top scorer trophies for the last 2 season, they could be one hell of a duo if they can both keep fit.
The other player to keep an eye out would be Johan Berg Gudmundson. For me, he is Burnley’s most creative winger; taking half of the freekicks and corners. Unlucky with injuries last season, the Icelandic playmaker still registered 9 assists and 10 clean sheets. He registered a total of 117 points last season despite only starting 32 games for the Clarets. His goal scoring record wasn’t the best, but he did hit the woodwork 5 times last season. After bolstering our attacking options, this now provides a great chance for him to build on last seasons goals and assists total.
There are still hopes of other signings yet before the dawn of the PL campaign with names such as Rodriguez and Bolasie been thrown around. However, there may be a struggle as Dyche and the squad spend Thursday’s deadline in Istanbul facing Turkish opponents Istanbul Basaksehir. I shall speak to you all after the start of the PL season, I best get packing for Istanbul!
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