State of play: It felt the sort of throwback that should not happen in 21st-century football. Burnley were fourth in December, seventh at the end of the season. Individually and collectively, they overachieved.
It was a wonderful story, if not a great spectacle: they averaged under a goal a game but a superb defence were letting in fewer than one per match until a May thrashing at Arsenal.
Now a challenge for men who had career-best campaigns – such as Ashley Barnes, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and James Tarkowski – is whether they can maintain those standards when a frustrating summer has denied Sean Dyche the reinforcements he targeted and cost him the services of injured goalkeeper Nick Pope.
Key player: Chris Wood – Injuries and a spell on the bench obscured some of his impact, but the New Zealander showed why Burnley made him their record buy by averaging a goal every other game last season. If he can repeat that feat in a low-scoring side, he will be pivotal.
Manager: Sean Dyche – Despite the plethora of managerial jobs that came up last season, Dyche got none of them and instead signed a contract until 2022 at Turf Moor. After two promotions and taking Burnley into Europe for the first time in half a century, Dyche has done a stunning job, but his methods may make him unfashionable.
Talking point: Will Burnley's European campaign cost them? Dyche has a famous preference for fielding unchanged teams while Burnley normally finish near the top of the table for the running statistics.
Yet they could face a gruelling Europa League campaign and plenty of others have struggled with the Thursday-Sunday routine in the past, especially clubs who are not accustomed to it.
Burnley’s squad is smaller after summer departures and much as their players have improved under Dyche, a side whose victories often come by one-goal margin need to be at their fittest and freshest to prevail.