Why Leicester don’t require Dwight McNeil’s services

Dwight McNeil, Burnley (Photo by Visionhaus)
Dwight McNeil, Burnley (Photo by Visionhaus) /
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Dwight McNeil, Burnley (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Dwight McNeil, Burnley (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) /

Burnley predominantly play a 4-4-2 – they’ve started 27 of their 29 Premier League games this season in that formation, within this system teams will opt for two central midfielders and two wingers to provide offensive support to the two strikers, but that’s not how Dyche operates with McNeil.

To allow McNeil more freedom, Dyche plays a third central midfielder on the right-hand side (ordinarily, Jeff Hendrick) to form an asymmetrical 4-4-2. By playing a third central midfielder, Dyche is alleviating a few of the defensive responsibilities for McNeil and letting him express himself in more advanced areas of the pitch. A gamble which has definitely paid off.

Out of the players consistently playing for Burnley, McNeil has provided the best “goal-creating actions per 90”, with a total of 0.36. This may not sound overly impressive, but that statistic requires one of the forwards to score after the move has been created by McNeil. If looking at “shot-creating actions per 90”, the youngster tops that list as well, with an average of 2.71.

There’s a distinct pattern to the chances McNeil creates. He’ll hug the touchline, receive the ball and look to beat his man on the outside, before delivering an impeccable cross for either Chris Wood or Ashley Barnes to attack.

Undeniably, the 20-year-old is a superb, natural crosser of the ball – he’s made 192 crosses this season alone, only five players have completed more this season – one of which is James Maddison.