Premier League soccer returns to Turf Moor this month, with Burnley, surprise runners-up in the Football Championship, ascending to the top flight for the time since 2009-10. As was the case then, under Owen Coyle, the Clarets’ boss has received the bulk of the credit, with Sean Dyche earning praise for his approach. But whereas Coyle was lauded for a stylish, flowing style, the solidity Dyche instilled led to the Championship’s best defense.
The Premier League will be another matter, of course, part of the reason why Burling has bolstered, bringing in six new players this summer. The hope: Avoid the fate of that 2009-10 squad. Abandoned by Coyle mid-season, the Clarets finished five points short of safety, beginning a life in the second tier that ended finally ended with May’s promotion.
[RELATED: Full PL season preview]
Transfers In: Matt Gilks (Blackpool, free), Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough, $2.5 million), Michael Kightly (Stoke), Steven Reid (West Brom, free), Marvin Sordell (Bolton, free), Matthew Taylor (West Ham, free),
Transfers Out: Chris Baird (West Brom), Kyle Brownhill (Hyde, free), David Edgar (Birmingham, free), Micah Evans (Southport, free), Joseph Mills (Oldham, free), Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth, free)
Last season: The Clarets were one of two teams to win automatic promotion, with a defense that allowed 37 goals in 46 games lifting the team to second place, behind Leicester City. 23-year-old right back Kieran Trippier won a spot in the league’s team of the season, with forward Danny Ings joining him after a 20-goal season. Despite not being part of promotion discussions at the beginning of the season, the Clarets ended up eight points clear of a place in the playoffs.
Star Player: Danny Ings
After a breakout season that saw his goal total climb from three to 20, Ings has been linked with moves to a bigger stages. For now, the 22-year-old has remained loyal, hoping the club he joined three years ago can avoid a quick drop. With some seeing him as a future England international, Ings has a chance to prove himself at the highest level, though it should go without saying success in the top flight will be more difficult.
Coaches corner: Sean Dyche
Only 43, Dyche is on his second managerial job, having previously enjoyed a successful season at Watford. In his second year at Turf Moor, the former Chesterfield defender lived out a young manager’s dream: Taking an overlooked team to the next level.
In the process, Dyche won respect for a straight-forward approach that instilled a prepared confidence in his squad. As the defensive record attests, that confidence let to results, giving Dyche the first major accomplishment of his managerial career.
PST predicts: If last year’s Crystal Palace taught us anything, it’s to approach relegation predictions with caution. Given where Dyche’s strengths lie, he may be able to orchestrate some Tony Pulis-like results. But until we see that on the field, Burnley looks likely to stay near the bottom.