It’s been a very encouraging summer for Burnley with much less upheaval than you ordinarily come to expect at any club just relegated from the Premier League.
As expected, Keiran Trippier and Danny Ings have moved on but suitable replacements have been swiftly identified. Link-up man Jelle Vossen will occupy the gap left behind by Ings, while marauding full back Tendayi Darikwa is expected to step into Trippier’s jet-heeled boots down the right flank. Only the departure of centre back Jason Shackell to big-spending Derby hasn’t been planned for.
So eight of the regular starting 11 from last season remains, which must be some kind of record, leading to the inevitable conclusion that the Clarets are ready to hit the ground running. However, the devil maybe lies in the detail for Sean Dyche. Burnley play a traditional 4-4-2 comprising of five distinct partnerships - and three of those partnerships have now been broken, which might impact on his much they create in this curtain-raising Roses clash at Elland Road.
Meanwhile, new manager Uwe Rosler could be an ideal fit for Leeds, although whether he - or anyone - will ever be a perfect fit for Massimo Cellino is another matter. The German’s reputation took a bruising at Wigan where he was unable to build on an impressive burst of form in his first six months, slipping into an unexpected dogfight last term, although the situation became a bigger mess following his departure.
A very capable tactician who caused arguably the biggest sensation of the 2013/14 season when knocking Manchester City out of the FA Cup in a quarter-final at the Etihad, the suspicion is that Rosler’s intensity perhaps began to irritate some of the senior pros at the DW, the majority of whom had played at a level at which he has never managed.
In the first 17 matches last term, Wigan used eight different formations, the majority of them tailor-made to negate the strengths of the opposition when, as one of the promotion favourites, continuity and greater conviction in a single philosophy was probably called for.
However, it’s a different story at Leeds where resources are scant, making a degree of meddling more acceptable, and Rosler has, one imagines, a more captive dressing room to work with, comprising of seven players plucked from Serie A and a host of impressionable youngsters eager to impress at the fledgling stage of their careers.
Not since Boxing Day 1974 have these two teams played out a draw, a sequence that stretches back over 18 meetings, but none of those matches have been played in August.
All things considered, a stand-off does seem like best-value option here. Giving Leeds home advantage, the two teams are reasonably well-matched and sometimes perception can be everything on the opening weekend, meaning neither is likely to overcommit in pursuit of victory at the risk of losing face in those crucial last 20 minutes when so many games are won and lost.
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