This Friday evening sees the return of the Premier League for what will be the competition’s 32nd outing, with last year’s champions Manchester City kicking the 2023/24 season off with a visit to Turf Moor to take on newly-promoted Burnley.
Playing Manchester City in the season-opening fixture is the last thing that Vincent Kompany and his players will have wanted – facing the treble winners will be a very tough test for the Clarets, and there will also be a lot of eyes on the game as well. The following day then sees the other two promoted sides in action, with Luton Town facing a tricky test away at Brighton while Sheffield United play host to Crystal Palace as part of the day’s 3 pm kick-offs.
It will be a tough and arduous season for all three clubs as they face off against some of the world’s richest and best-run clubs in what is the highest-quality league in world football, meaning that the odds are stacked severely against Burnley, Luton and Sheffield United.
These three clubs absolutely cannot compete with the mega-money that is possessed by just a small handful of clubs at the top of the English game, so just how can they hope to stay up then? There are clubs that have previously managed to have extended stays in the top-flight despite their lack of wealth in comparison to some of the other sides, so should Burnley, Sheffield Utd and Luton follow the models that those clubs utilised? Or should they stick with the tactics and methods that got them promoted in the first place?
Vincent Kompany’s Burnley side were heavily praised for the style of football the club played under the Belgian during the 2022/23 Championship season, with the change an unexpected yet welcome one from the dreary, defensive-minded football that all Burnley, and Premier League fans, had become accustomed to seeing from the Clarets. But that was the Championship – the Premier League is a different kettle of fish.
Burnley were used to having the ball for a majority of their matches last season, (averaging 64.7% possession per game in the second tier, according to FotMob), but they will find it much harder to have the same level of control in the Premier League. Coming up against much superior sides such as the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal or Newcastle, will Vincent Kompany’s side be able to exert the same level of influence on the ball as they did in the Championship? Or might they potentially revert back to the same dour but reliable defensive style of play that worked so well for the club during their previous stint in the top flight?
Here, we take a quick look at some of the things that the three newly promoted sides need to do to ensure that their stay in the Premier League lasts more than just a single season.