Premier League Preview Number 17: Burnley

07 August 2009

Burnley

Biggest Ins: Steven Fletcher coming from Hibs gives them a steady option up front. Tyrone Mears may want to forget his time in the Premier League when he was with Darby County. However, between David Edgar and Richard Eckersley (also defenders), Burnley have brought in defenders who have Premier League experience.

Biggest Outs: Burnley only sold bit players with Gabor Kiraly, Alan Mahon and Besart Berisha leaving.

Easiest Month: October. After hosting Birmingham City, Burnley travel to Blackburn. They end the month hosting Wigan Athletic and Hull City. October is a month they could realistically get eight points out of.

Toughest Month: Between August 19 and September 12. In that four game stretch, they host Manchester United and Everton before trips to Stamford Bridge and Anfield. If they get one point out of that stretch, it will have to be considered a success.

Five Questions About Burnley This Season
1) Will Burnley keep the beautiful attractive football that warmed neutrals hearts during their deep Carling Cup run last season or will they hunker down? We all know what happened when West Bromwich Albion did so last season and Burnley don’t have quite the collection of talent they had.
2) Will the strict pay structure Burnley have set up come to bite them in the backside? Right now Burnley’s squad valuation is the lowest in the Premier League (according to transfermarkt.co.uk). I think it will have the opposite effect and it will only bring the squad together.
3) Can Burnley’s spine sort itself out? Last season the center of the park was Burnley’s biggest weakness. It was something Coyle was able to overcome and it will be something they will have to do again this season. Joey Gudjonsson will be a focal point if that is the case.
4) How does Burnley cope with their early season schedule? If they can get through the first five games with a positive attitude considering the circumstances they will be in, the rest of the schedule paces itself perfectly to possibly stay in the Premier League for a second season.
5) Is Owen Coyle the manager everyone thinks he is? His head was turned early in the summer with all the talk of him possibly moving to Celtic. Obviously he thinks this is the challenge that will make him as a manager. With the way he wowed over the last two seasons, Coyle wants to show he is able to not only keep this side up, but keep them up for years to come.

My Ultimate Reality: I can only call this a gut feeling, but I think Burnley survives by the scruff of their neck. After the early start, they have stretches of games where they can put unbeaten runs together; even if it is just draws. As I mentioned with Birmingham City, I think the magic number is in the mid thirties to survive. Coyle had the element of surprise during the deep cup runs over the last two seasons; he doesn’t have that now. However, I do think Coyle is an excellent motivator and will keep this side up on the last day of the season.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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