Can Burnley find that prolific goalscorer?

On the only negatives from the opening day victory at Huddersfield Town was Burnley’s failure to kill off the Terriers, before winning 1-0.

By Chris Boden
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 10:58 am

The Clarets created a string of good openings, enjoying an overall shot count of 16-2 – the least Burnley have faced on their own goal in over a decade.

But while it remained 1-0, there was that air of uncertainty.

Kompany’s teams generally know where the net is – in three seasons with Anderlecht, the first in which Kompany played the final campaign of his career, the side finished eighth, scoring 45 in their 29 league games, with Michel Vlap top-scorer with 11.

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - JULY 29: Ashley Barnes of Burnley has a shot at goal during the Sky Bet Championship between Huddersfield Town and Burnley at John Smith's Stadium on July 29, 2022 in Huddersfield, England. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

The following season, with Kompany now completely at the helm, Anderlect were third with 51 goals in 34 regular season games, and nine in six play-off ties, with former Preston loan man Lukas Nmecha heading the goalscoring charts with 18 league goals.

And last term, Anderlecht hit 74 in 34 regular season games, again finishing third, with eight in six play-off games.

Joshua Zirkzee, on loan from Bayern Munich, hit 16 league goals, while Lior Refaelov was top-scorer in all competitions with 19.

Which brings us to Burnley. Of the starting line-up Kompany selected at Huddersfield, the only player to join striker Ashley Barnes with more than 19 career goals was midfielder Josh Brownhill (29).

Barnes has 108, 42 in the Premier League and 29 in the Championship, where his best campaign was 11 with Brighton in 2011/12, bettering that by one in the top flight in 2018/19 with the Clarets.

Burnley were without injured birthday boy Jay Rodriguez, who has 134 career goals, and grabbed 22 in 45 appearances in his last season at this level with West Brom in 2018/19, netting 15 in 33 with Southampton in the Premier League in 2013/14.

Dara Costelloe showed much promise on his debut, but the 19-year-old snatched at a couple of openings, and, even just in terms of numbers, Kompany will need to bring in a forward over the next month – with Maxwel Cornet, top-scorer with nine in the Premier League last season, expected to leave.

Kompany said: “I am used to that.

"I don’t think I have ever had an out and out goalscorer in my team.

"Last year I was fortunate to be part of a team that scored 107 goals across all competitions, and it was just shared, there was no one there with 30 goals.

“If someone does it, I will be the first to be happy, it is not like I tell them 'don't score more than 20!’”

The last Claret to hit the 20-goal barrier was Andre Gray in 2015/16 – the league’s top-scorer with 23 as Burnley won the Championship, while Sam Vokes (20) and Danny Ings (21) hit 41 between them on the way to promotion to the Premier League in 2013/14.

Charlie Austin netted 24 in 2012/13, but you have to go back to the Second Division promotion season of 1999/2000 and Andy Payton’s 27 goals, for the last time any Burnley striker scored 20-plus in the league, having hit 20 the season before.

Paul Barnes claimed 24 in 1996/97, and Kurt Nogan 20 league goals in 1995/96, Adrian Heath 20 in 1992/93, and Mick Conroy 24 in the Fourth Division title season of 1991/92.