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Opposition Lowdown: Vincent Kompany’s Burnley

Reading make the trip up north to face top-of-the-table Burnley this weekend. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

Sunderland v Burnley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images


Burnley were relegated from the Premier League last season after finishing in 18th place in the league, three points from safety. Relegation ended The Clarets’ six-year stay in the top flight, where they saw their peak in 2017/18, finishing seventh.

They have had a strong start back to life in the Championship, currently sitting top of the league after eight wins, eight draws and only one loss so far. The one defeat came at the hands of Watford on August 12, meaning Burnley are unbeaten in 14 league games. The Clarets have also won four out of their last five fixtures.

Reading last faced Burnley in the 2015/16 season, with Reading winning 1-2 at Turf Moor, before a goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium.

The boss

Vincent Kompany: Kompany took over as Burnley manager in June this year, replacing caretaker boss Mike Jackson, who was unable to save them from relegation, following the sacking of popular manager Sean Dyche.

Kompany started his managerial career in 2020 at Belgian club Anderlecht, the club where he started his playing career. He guided the side to two consecutive third-place finishes before leaving the club by mutual consent in May this year.

Soccer - FA Cup - Sixth Round - Manchester City v Reading - City of Manchester Stadium Photo by Sharon Latham/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Kompany is no stranger to English football, having played for Manchester City for 11 seasons, winning four Premier League titles. He has always been a leader both on and off the pitch, having captained both Man City and Belgium during his playing career. He likes his sides to press from the front and force the opposition into playing long balls.


Following relegation from the Premier League, Burley have had a busy summer of transfers with 13 players leaving Turf Moor and 16 coming in. They generated income from the sales of Nathan Collins (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Maxwel Cornet (West Ham United), Dwight McNeil (Everton) and Nick Pope (Newcastle United).

Defenders James Tarkowski (Everton) and Ben Mee (Brentford) and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest) all joined their new clubs following the end of their contracts. Matej Vydra, Aaron Lennon, Erik Pieters, Phil Bardsley and Dale Stephens were all released.

Burnley used some of the funds generated to sign goalkeepers Arijanet Muric and Denis Franchi, defenders Luke McNally and Vitinho, midfielders Scott Twine, Samuel Bastien and Josh Cullen and wingers Darko Churlinov, Anass Zaroury and Benson Manuel Hedilazio on permanent deals.

They have also utilised the loan market, signing Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Manchester City), Ian Maatsen (Chelsea), Jordan Beyer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Halil Dervisoglu (Brentford) and Nathan Tella (Southampton) on season-long loan deals.

Midfielder Ashley Westwood will miss out with an ankle injury. The game may also come too soon for midfielder Scott Twine and winger Darko Churlinov, as they continue to recover from injury. Jack Cork will not play as he serves a one-game suspension for reaching five yellow cards.

Expected line-up

Muric, Beyer, Maatsen, Harwood-Bellis, Vitinho, Brownhill, Gudmundsson, Cullen, Tella, Zaroury, Rodriguez

Key player

Jay Rodriguez: Striker Rodriguez rejoined Burnley in July 2019, signing on a permanent deal from West Bromwich Albion. He started his career at the Clarets, coming through their academy before making his first-team debut in 2007. Rodriguez played over 100 times for Burnley in his first spell at the club, scoring 41 goals, before securing a move to Southampton for a reported £7m.

Reading v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

The striker spent five years on the south coast before joining West Bromwich Albion for £12m. He spent two seasons in the Midlands, scoring 33 goals, before rejoining Burnley for an initial £5m fee.

Rodriguez has scored a further 29 goals for Burnley since his return and is the club’s top scorer this season with eight goals to his name so far. The Clarets’ main striker works tirelessly up front and displays strong finishing skills.

One to watch

Nathan Tella: Winger Tella joined Burnley on a season-long loan from Southampton this summer. The 23-year-old started his career with Arsenal, spending 10 years at the club before joining the Southampton youth setup in 2017.

He made his Saints debut in 2020 and has gone on to make 41 appearances for the club, scoring two goals. Tella has featured in 15 games so far this season and is the club’s second top scorer with six goals to his name. He can play on either wing and is a direct forward-moving threat who is a strong finisher.