It just had to be Burnley for the opening day. Vincent Kompany’s Clarets stormed back to the Premier League in style, winning the Championship with 101 points, ten clear of Sheffield United and 21 ahead of 3rd placed Luton Town. Such was Burnley’s dominance, that they lost just three matches all season – that’s almost unheard of in England’s second tier. The last team to achieve over 100 points in the Championship was Leicester City in 2014, and they lost six, so Burnley’s achievements last season are outstanding.
But now the challenge begins for Vinnie and Burnley. Back in the top flight at the first attempt, Kompany’s Burnley will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Forest, Fulham and Bournemouth who all stayed up last season.
The Clarets have had an amazing 2023 already and have lost just one league game and one FA Cup tie this year. Their first defeat of 2023 came in Manchester, as City put them out of the FA Cup, while QPR became the only team to beat Burnley at Turf Moor last season with a 2-1 victory in April.
That was their first league defeat since a 5-2 hammering at Sheffield United in November, and, at home last season, Burnley won an incredible 16 matches, drawing six and taking 54 points from a possible 69.
Pre-season has yielded some mixed results. A 2-0 defeat at Genk was followed with a stunning 2-0 win at Benfica. A 1-1 draw against Real Betis and a 3-0 loss to Mainz 05 gave fans a rather varied view of their upcoming season.
The Clarets have been busy in the transfer market over the summer, with City goalkeeper James Trafford joining and Zeki Amdouni arriving from Basel. Two new centre-backs in the form of Dara O’Shea and Jordan Beyer strengthen the defence. Wingers Nathan Redmond, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Luca Koleosho also join the Lancashire side, as does Michael Obafemi.
In total, Burnley have spent around £56m in transfer fees so far this summer.
Burnley’s manager needs absolutely no introduction to City fans. The legend that is Vincent Kompany guided Burnley back to the Premier League at the first attempt, and he will be hoping to make a good impression in his first match as a Premier League manager.
He was an integral part of the City line-up for ten years, before joining Anderlecht as player-manager in 2019, shortly after City claimed the domestic treble. He stepped down after four matches, but resumed the reins in 2020, presiding over 92 matches and gaining a win ration of 46% in two years.
With Burnley, Kompany has managed 54 games, winning 34 and losing just five, giving him a win ratio of 63%.
Last Time at Turf Moor
City have knocked in the goals in recent years against Burnley, but in April 2022, they took it easy against the Clarets, recording a 2-0 win with first-half goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan.
The Burnley Link
There have been a few notable players to have been associated with both Manchester City and Burnley.
The legendary Mike Summerbee brought his glittering Maine Road career to an end in 1975 when he made the move to deep Lancashire, making 61 appearances in two seasons. Gerry Gow spent the 1980/81 season at Maine Road before moving to Turf Moor via Rotherham in 1983.
Stephen Jordan started and his career at City, before moving to Burnley in 2007, as did fiery nutball Joey Barton, who had two spells with the Clarets, one in 2015, before ending his playing career at Burnley in 2017. A spell at Rangers interrupted his time in Lancashire.
Kieran Trippier was on the books at City, but never made any first-team appearances. He left the blues for Burnley in 2012, spending three years there before moving to Spurs. James Trafford and Ben Mee also failed to make appearances in the City first-team, while CJ Egan-Riley made one appearance for the blues, before moving to Burnley in 2022. Taylor Harwood-Bellis spent the 2022/23 season on loan at Burnley and has returned to the blues.
And, way back in the past, Ernest Mangnall was an amateur goalkeeper who later managed both Burnley and City. He joined the Clarets in 1900, but moved to the wrong side of Manchester three years later. Realising what an awful mistake he’d made, he moved to the right side of Manchester, joining City in 1912 and spent 12 years with the blues.