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NEWSDESK




Can Chris Wood help Burnley survive another year in the Premier League ?

DATE: 09.09.2016 - SOCCERVOICE - NEWSDESK

Burnley did exceptionally well last season to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Sean Dyche’s side never seriously looking like they would be pulled into a fight for survival during the 2016/17 campaign.

However, as is the case with most teams looking to make the permanent transition from the Championship to the Premier League, the second season will be the hardest for the Clarets, who are expected to be fighting for survival after a couple of key departures over the summer.

Last season two of Burnley’s star men were Michael Keane and Andre Gray, who were influential in helping Dyche’s side reach the famous 40-point mark and finish the campaign 16th – well clear of the bottom three. However, both Keane and Gray have departed Turf Moor this summer, moving to Everton and Watford respectively in big money transfers.

Experienced campaigners have been brought in to accommodate the loss of the duo, with the signings of Jack Cork, Jon Walters and particularly Chris Wood standing out. Wood has arrived from Leeds United, in a £15m deal that smashed Burnley’s club-record late in the transfer window.
 

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Gray’s goals were vital in Burnley’s fight against promotion last season, with the striker proving to be the perfect partner for Sam Vokes in attack. There will be particular pressure on Wood to replicate Gray’s goalscoring form and assist Vokes throughout the season, as Burnley once again look to survive relegation.



"Joel Ward and Chris Wood" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Tom Brogan

Dyche’s side are priced at 8/15 in the football betting to suffer relegation back to the Championship, with bookmakers expecting Dyche’s side to have enough to avoid the drop.

However, a lot of Burnley’s success will be dependant on Wood and how quickly he settles into life at Turf Moor. Last year, the 25-year-old was exceptional in the Championship for Leeds, scoring on 27 occasions in the second tier and 30 times across all competitions, becoming just the sixth player in the club’s history to achieve that particular feat.



Wood made the perfect start to his Burnley career with a goal on his Premier League debut for the Clarets in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, adding to the goal he scored in Leeds’ 3-2 victory over Bolton Wanderers on the opening day of the 2017/18 Championship season.
 

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Whilst there is pressure on Wood on his arrival at Turf Moor, he will have a striker in Vokes – who scored ten league goals last season – that will ease some of the pressure on the New Zealand captain, something that he did not have last season at Elland Road.

Of course, Burnley’s first task of the season is claiming enough points to survive, which is a task that has been made significantly harder by the departure of Keane and Gray. However, Dyche has recruited well this summer, with his squad still looking strong enough for them not to be considered among the favourites for relegation.

£15m man Wood will be key to Burnley’s chance of survival of their second year back in the Premier League – if the former Leeds man can rediscover his scoring touch from last season, he will be the man to replace Gray alongside Vokes, but if he doesn’t, Dyche’s side could find themselves in trouble. 

 

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