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Meet the newest Premier League sides - Burnley

Promotion and relegation in football is a beautiful thing.

From the utter despair of enduring the burden of relegation to the sheer ecstasy of taking the next step courtesy of a hard-earned promotion, it's a system that proves just how cut-throat the world game truly is.

As we say farewell to three Premier League teams (Newcastle United, Norwich City and Aston Villa), we must ready ourselves to welcome clubs that have not only survived the Championship fight, but walked away from it with their heads held high.

Here we take a close look at the Burnley Football Club who won the Championship title and are now back in the Premier League having spent just 12 months down in the second tier.

Burnley - Champions

After just one season of Premier League exile, Sean Dyche's team from Turf Moor returns to the top flight with a Championship medal in tow.

Ending the season four points clear at the top, Burnley's resurrection has been a swift and successful one. A resurrection secured thanks to a particularly potent strike force and enormously impressive goalkeeper.

Burnley's strikers have led from the front all season, allowing the Lancashire outfit to strangle sides out of contests. With Englishman Andre Gray and Welshman Sam Vokes leading the line, the affectionately known Clarets were able to take advantage of two attackers in the form of their lives.

24-year-old Gray, a club-record summer signing from Brentford, was particularly potent in front of goal this season finding the back of the net 25 times, a Championship high. That said, he was also Burnley's highest assist provider with nine. Stats that suggest he knows when to pass just as much as he knows when to shoot. For all of Gray's efforts in the Burnley shirt this season, he was awarded the Championship Player of the Year.

His partner in crime up front was 26-year-old Vokes, who although somewhat overshadowed, also had a stellar season. Scoring 15 times and managing a handy four assists, Vokes played his part in making Burnley the equal highest scoring team this season (alongside Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford) in England's second tier with 72 goals.

With the back of the net rippling at one end, Burnley's goal was more often than not static. British keeper Tom Heaton kept an impressive 20 clean sheets from all 46 matches he played. Averaging over three saves a game, including 74 from shots inside the box throughout the course of the campaign, Heaton was only beaten 35 times overall. His resilience at the back for Burnley ended in the ultimate personal reward with the 30-year-old one of three keepers included in Roy Hodgson's latest 26-man England squad for Euro2016.

Burnley secured the Championship and automatic promotion after ending their season on a run of 23 games without defeat. A streak that also importantly involved them winning their last three fixtures and managing a crucial draw with second-placed Middlesbrough prior to this.

After such a successful step down to the Championship, the big question is, how will they fair when they stride back into the Premier League?

Their last stint in the top flight lasted just a single season as they ended the 2014/15 campaign 19th after securing just seven wins. Aside from Danny Ings (now with Liverpool) who helped himself to 11 goals that term, Burnley on the whole struggled to keep pace at the top.

This time around they'll be looking to Gray, who remains contracted to Burnley, to keep them in the race. Willing he can transfer his Championship form to the EPL, Burnley should be able to keep up with the demands of top flight football a little longer this time.

While it's still early days in regards to who will be lining up for Burnley next season, it appears that midfielder Joey Barton won't be. The out of contract 33-year-old midfielder, who took out the club's Player of the Year award in his debut season as a Claret, looks set for a switch to Scottish side Rangers with Burnley manager Dyche backing the move.

After such a successful season in the Championship, a return to the Premier League will likely prove a reality check for Burnley but willing they show their characteristic fight and their strikers continue to fire, I can see them securing successive seasons in the Premier League.



By Joshua Thomas

About the author

Tribal Football Staff

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