Meet the opposition | Burnley

1st January 2023
First team

As Swansea City prepare to host Burnley at the Stadium, we take a closer look at the Clarets.

What’s their story?

Established in 1882. Burnley Football Club were one of the founding members of the Football League.  

They have won two top-tier titles, with the first coming in 1921 during a campaign where they put together a 30-match unbeaten run, while their second came in 1960. They were also FA winners in 1914.

They have had three spells in the Premier League since the launch of the new top division in 1992.

Their first two promotions were followed by immediate relegation in 2010 and 2015, but under Sean Dyche they firmly established themselves in the top-flight.

A seventh-placed finish in 2018 secured European qualification, but they fell back down to the second tier at the end of last season, bringing an end to a six-year stint in the Premier League.

How's their form? 

Nathan Tella

Outstanding. The Clarets have suffered just one defeat since August, and have won nine out of their last 10 league games.

Their sole defeat in that sequence was a 5-2 loss in a breathless encounter against Sheffield United.

Their form has seen them open up a lead at the top of the table and few would bet against them making an immediate return to the top tier.

Who’s the gaffer?

Vincent Kompany

Former Manchester City and Belgium defender Vincent Kompany is the man in charge at Turf Moor, after replacing caretaker manager Mike Jackson last summer. 

Kompany joined from his hometown club of Anderlecht, where he had been in charge for two seasons following his retirement from playing. 

Having started his playing career in Belgium with Anderlecht, securing two league titles in the process, the centre-back continued to learn his trade during two seasons with Hamburg before then Manchester City boss Mark Hughes signed the defender in 2008.

Kompany enjoyed a wealth of success in his 265 appearances over an 11-year spell with the Citizens, winning the Premier League and EFL Cup on four occasions, as well as twice securing the FA Cup.

He was named Premier League player of the season for the 2011-12 campaign, while he also represented his country on 89 occasions, helping them to third place at the 2018 World Cup.

His exploits earned him a statue outside the Etihad Stadium.

Who’s the captain? 

Former Swansea City midfielder Jack Cork was named as the new captain of Burnley for this season, replacing Ben Mee as the defender departed for Brentford.

The former Chelsea trainee and son of former Swansea manager Alan Cork is fondly remembered for his wholehearted performances during two-and-a-half years and 83 appearances for the Swans.

He scored a superb goal in a 3-1 win over Liverpool to help secure Premier League safety in 2016 before but left the club for Burnley in the summer of 2017.

But it was at Southampton that Cork first really emerged, having been farmed out on loan on numerous occasions at Chelsea.

He would help the Saints climb to the Premier League from the Championship in his first season as a permanent signing, and he remained an important figure until being unable to agree a new contract during the 2014-15 season.

Since being snapped up by then manager Sean Dyche at Turf Moor in 2017, Cork has gone on to be a key figure in the Clarets midfield playing more than 150 games over five seasons. 

Who are the key men? 

Anass Zaroury

Burnley have a number of young, energetic players making a mark this season, but it is experienced forward Jay Rodriguez who tops the goalscoring charts for the Clarets.

The 33-year-old is in his second spell with Burnley, having originally come through the Lancashire club’s academy system.

He helped them secure promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2009, and went on to earn a move to top-flight Southampton in 2012.

He would spend five years at St Mary’s, scoring 35 goals as he helped Saints become regular top-half finishers and reach the League Cup final in 2017.

Two years with West Brom would follow, with Rodriguez’s return of 22 goals during the 2018-19 season leading to his return to Burnley after the Baggies were unable to secure promotion.

Belgium-born Morocco international Anass Zaroury has made his mark in his first season with the Clarets with an excellent run of form prior to the World Cup break.

After scoring his first goal for the club against the Swans in October, he has seven goals from his last 11 Championship appearances, also contributing two assists.

He returns to club action after being part of the Morocco squad that reached the World Cup semi-finals, featuring in the third-place play-off against Croatia.

Zaroury played his age-grade international football for Belgium, having been born in Mechelen and had spells with Zulte Waregem, Lommel and Charleroi.

Nathan Tella has made the most of the opportunity for regular game time by being another to stand-out during an impressive first half of the campaign for Vincent Kompany’s men.

The 23-year-old has eight goals and one assist to his name since joining on loan from Southampton.

Tella spent 10 years on the books with Arsenal, and had trials with Reading and Norwich City before joining Saints in 2017.

He made his senior debut in as a substitute in a victory over Norwich in 2020, and he made his first Premier League start (against Leeds) and netted his first top-flight goal against Fulham in 2022.