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Talking Tactics

Weghorst a perfect fit to lead Burnley revival

Adrian Clarke 3 Feb 2022
Wout Weghorst signing BUR

Adrian Clarke says 6ft 6in striker will bring a proven goal threat and aerial presence to Turf Moor

Adrian Clarke looks at January signings who can have a big impact for their clubs over the rest of the season.

Wout Weghorst (BUR)

Deadline day signing Weghorst looks tailor-made to be the new spearhead of Burnley’s attack.

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The 29-year-old centre-forward could make his debut in Saturday's key home encounter against relegation rivals Watford, the team directly above them in 19th place.

Stylistically, he appears a perfect fit for Sean Dyche’s style of play.

The former Wolfsburg star is strong in the air, willing to press and arguably possesses more pace and guile than his predecessor Chris Wood.

He has the tools to shine at Turf Moor.


Weghorst enjoyed three full seasons in the Bundesliga, and finished among the top four goalscorers each time.

Indeed the Netherlands international has hit double-figures for league goals in six consecutive campaigns, dating back to his time with AZ Alkmaar and Heracles in Eredivisie.

The 6ft 6in striker has always posed a big aerial threat, but there is far more to his game.

Weghorst is composed in 1v1 situations, a solid penalty-taker and shows natural predatory instincts, regularly taking half-chances inside the penalty area.

Weghorst's Bundesliga stats
Season Goals Conversion rate
2018/19 17 28.3%
2019/20 16 19.5%
2020/21 20 21.7%
2021/22 6 15.8%

Prior to his move to Burnley, he scored six goals in a struggling Wolfsburg side, an impressive 35.5 per cent share of their total as a team.

Weghorst’s conversion rate is consistently impressive too.

If Burnley create enough opportunities for their new striker against Watford, and in the coming weeks, his pedigree suggests he will regularly get on the scoresheet.

Hard work expected

Dyche demands a high level of industry from his forward players who are expected to press central defenders out of possession and make a string of channel runs when Burnley have the ball.

That brief suits Weghorst perfectly, as he has always been regarded as a hardworking striker who wants to unsettle his markers.

Averaging 21.8 pressures per 90 minutes, he relishes this aspect of the game and is ranked in the 98th percentile for strikers across European football’s top five leagues.

Closing down opponents inside their own half forms a key part of Burnley’s approach, meaning he will be a big asset in this department.

Most pressures by PL teams
2021/22 Matches  Total pressures Pressures per match
Everton 20 6,282 314.1
Norwich 22 6,606 300.3
Leicester 20 5,914 295.7
Brentford 23 6,773 294.5
Burnley 18 5,297 294.3

Burnley have always liked to deploy at least one tall striker who provides a physical outlet for them to pass the ball from back to front.

Weghorst has been utilised in this way throughout his club career and is adept at holding the ball, or using his head to knock it down for team-mates.

In this season’s UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage, he won the second-highest number of aerial duels among forward players.

UCL aerial duels won by forwards
2021/22 Total
Sebastien Haller (Ajax) 20
Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg) 17
Olivier Giroud (AC Milan) 15
Edin Dzeko (Inter Milan) 15

The presence of Weghorst inside the box is sure to encourage Burnley to cross the ball as often as possible against Watford.

Despite playing only 18 matches so far, the Clarets have attempted the second-highest number of headed shots on goal, and his height is sure to create nervousness in the visitors’ ranks.

Most headed shots in PL
2021/22 Total Ratio of all shots
Liverpool 65 21.9%
Burnley 50 34.5%
Man City 49 16.7%
West Ham 48 22.5%
Everton 46 28.6%

Weghorst’s key attributes and goal record in recent years suggest Burnley have made a shrewd investment.

If he settles in quickly, he could be the catalyst for a strong second half of the season.

Also in this series

Part 1: Coutinho magic gives Villa extra threat
Part 2: Guimaraes vision offers Newcastle extra attacking edge
Part 4: Diaz can be Liverpool's latest world-class winger

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