Vincent Kompany’s Burnley Tactics

May 12, 2023

by xfcedi

kompant vincent burnley

Eduard Bănulescu

Vincent Kompany is one of the most talked about young managers in world football. The legendary former player for Manchester City has been consistently taking the lessons learned from Pep Guardiola and integrating them within the setup used at Anderlecht and, most recently, Burnely.

Kompany is also on the shortlist to replace Frank Lampard at Chelsea. This is why today I am looking at the tactics that the Belgium manager likes to use and seeing how they might come in handy in the Premier League next season.

Vincent Komany’s stellar pre-manegerial career

Burnley appointed Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany as their new manager at the start of the 2021/23 campaign. Kompany earned great renown across Belgium after taking charge of Anderlecht and infusing their brand of football with one or two-touch football, emphasising player movement off the ball for maximum enjoyment for viewers of Jupiler Pro League matches. Under Kompany’s tenure at Anderlecht, they created one of the most thrilling sides to watch from Jupiler Pro League with attractive, fast paced football that attracted spectators.


Kompany’s tactical changes proved pivotal to improving possession, patiently progressing through the thirds and creating an efficient 4-1-4-1 formation.

His approach involves players taking offensive positions while positioning themselves between an opposing defensive block in both horizontal and vertical space; both inside and outside it.

Formation and tactics

Burnley unveiled a groundbreaking system in their opening matchup against Manchester United, employing a 4-1-4-1 formation that encouraged flexibility, fluidity and intricate positional arrangements. Only three returning players – Connor Roberts, Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes – kept to their customary roles; Charlie Taylor quickly transitioned into his position of left-sided center-back.

Although Burnley maintained their traditional 4-1-4-1 configuration during defensive phases, when attacking they more resembled a 4-2-3-1 formation with Joshua Brownhill leading a double pivot consisting of Jack Cork and Josh Cullen as pivots. Their shape seamlessly adjusted to any challenges they encountered while possessing possession for maximum fluidity and cohesion as though playing together for years!

Burnley in attack

Vincent Kompany, the new manager of Burnley, is notoriously known to experiment with various formations like 4-2-3-1, 4-1-3-,and 4-1-4-1 while adhering to positional principles that remain constant across each of them. His approach involves players taking up offensive zones in both horizontal and vertical lanes in both inside and outside lanes of an opponent’s block – something no other manager before him has attempted at such scale.

Burnley under Kompany emphasizes fluid play with speedy progression toward the final third and operate more on the Y-axis than on X. They use as few players as possible but one extra in backline than their opponent to form triangle formation and ensure clean ball progression.

Burnley’s priority when building in an earlier zone is numerical superiority as evidenced in these graphics. When facing Sunderland’s five-man press, Burnley fielded seven players (goalkeeper, back four and two defensive midfielders). These seven formed a triangle around their goalkeeper while searching out any spare man; right back Connor Roberts provided such assistance on this occasion.

Burnley In Defence

Kompany’s Burnley employs an active mentality in defense, actively looking to gain possession quickly so as to either launch counterattacks or retain possession. Their approach mirrors that of top-tier teams, which tend to press high up the field so as to prevent opponents from gaining possession or dominating even without possession.

High-pressing teams tend to forgo man-to-man marking in the final line, as this leaves them vulnerable. Instead, they focus on creating numerical advantage by positioning an additional player and the goalkeeper there. Skilled pressing teams also aim to direct play into specific zones or towards specific players using pressing traps in order to force turnovers and force turnovers themselves.

Vincent Kompany has quickly carved a way for himself in modern management. His rise as part of the Premier League’s elite tacticians seems all but assured. It just remains to be seen where his considerable knowledge and flair will take him.


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