After suffering relegation a season ago, Vincent Kompany arrives at Turf Moor to take Burnley back to the Premier League. However, as is so often the case, that race to the top flight for the 24 teams in the Championship is the most brutal challenge in the English pyramid.
The reward is the most prosperous domestic league in the world.
To get back to that position, Burnley made a number of changes, some welcome, others not. The appointment of Vincent Kompany to manager of Burnley is one. The Belgian who captained Manchester City left the same position at Anderlecht for his first managerial role in England. He takes over a team rife with change.
Two of Burnley’s key players in recent seasons, James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil, both left the side for Everton. Tarkowski’s regular central defensive partner, Ben Mee, aslo has returned to the Premier League. He is on his way to Brentford. Then, Burnley loses another defensive option in the form of Nathan Collins, who departed for Wolverhampton Wanderers. To round off the losses at the back, standout goalkeeper Nick Pope also remains in the top flight. Newcastle United picked up the services of the 30-year-old Englishman.
Wout Weghorst arrived in December of the previous season to fix the goal void left by a departing Chris Wood. He refuses to play in the Championship, and now finds himself on loan to Besiktas.
So far, Burnley brought in just shy of $40 million in player sales. Plus, Maxwell Cornet finds himself among transfer rumors, with Everton a potential suitor in the $20 million range.
Despite the losses, Burnley is still among the favorites to earn promotion back to the Premier League.
Vincent Kompany’s takeover at Burnley
Kompany raided former clubs in finding replacements for the departures. For instance, Arijanet Muric replaces Nick Pope in goal. He last featured for Manchester City. Also, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, a central defender, is on loan from City. From his old side, Anderlecht, Burnley acquired Josh Cullen for $3.3 million. Finally, Vincent Kompany acquired right back Vitinho from Cercle Brugge for Burnley.
These signings represent a shift from the usual Burnley style exhibited by Sean Dyche before his midseason dismissal. Back then, results came on the back of defensive solidarity and direct play in a 4-4-2 formation.
On the other hand, Kompany applied his trade as a player in possession-based dominance and control of the game. Therefore, Vincent Kompany’s playstyle at Burnley resembles fluidity more so than the concrete nature of Dyche. It is easier on the eye and has potential to be overwhelming for Championship sides.
Take Burnley’s opening game in the Championship as an example. The Clarets faced Huddersfield Town, which narrowly missed promotion after losing in the Championship playoff last season. Kompany’s side outmatched the Terriers, showing good signs of adaptation to his tactics. In fact, Burnley amassed 70% possession with 16 shots to Huddersfield Town’s two. Burnley could have, and likely should have, scored more with seven on target to the host’s two.
In the end, Burnley walked out comfortable winners. Debutante Ian Maatsen scored the lone goal in the win.
It was a comprehensive victory that surely pleases Kompany. However, there is still time to cash in on some of the transfer revenue for reinforcements. For example, Burnley could seek support in the forward line, regardless of Maatsen’s goal and an impressive debut from Dara Costelloe.
Bringing in a manager of Kompany’s name attracts more attention to the club This change of philosophy intrigues football fans from around the country. Burnley fans will be happy with the start of Kompany’s tenure and how he is dealing with the loss of so many formerly key players to the first team.
We will have to wait and see on future additions before the end of the transfer window, and Kompany knows this is just the start of a marathon season but a start he can feel very positive about.
PHOTO: Dave Howarth – CameraSport via Getty Images
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