Early Burnley blitz leaves lacklustre Palace looking for answers

Date published: Saturday 13th February 2021 4:57 - Neil Foster

Early goals from Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jay Rodriguez sent Burnley on their way to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Gudmundsson pounced in just the fifth minute to give the visitors the perfect start. Erik Pieters’ cross caused mayhem in the Eagles defence and Gudmundsson took full advantage from close range.

It was no more than they deserved after an excellent start. And the side with only 14 league goals to their name this term heading into the match soon doubled their advantage.

Again it was simple stuff from the Clarets on 10 minutes. Dwight McNeil’s corner evaded all the home players and Rodriguez was on hand to head it into the net.

Question marks will be asked about the Palace defence as it was too easy for Rodriguez. The home side started to get a foothold as the half progressed.

They had their first meaningful shot on 18 minutes but Nick Pope dealt with Christian Benteke’s low drive. Burnley seemed to ease off after establishing a two-goal cushion and Pope was called into action again on 25 minutes.

His outstretched boot denied Benteke from inside the box while Eberechi Eze shot wide from distance.

Roy Hodson’s side were bossing the game as the half-time whistle blew. But Burnley’s well-organised defence coped with everything thrown at it.

Just like watching Brazil

If there was any doubt about the winners then it was extinguished two minutes into the second period. Matt Lowton’s run and exchange with Rodriguez ended with Lowton smashing home his first Premier League goal in eight years. It was a sublime finish that ended the game as a contest.

Palace did start to show more as the second half progressed but looked devoid of ideas in the final third. Just after the hour mark Andros Townsend came on for Michy Batshuayi.

But it was the Clarets who nearly added to their tally. McNeil’s run down the left ended in a pinpoint cut back but Ashley Westwood fired just wide.

On 68 minutes Lowton and Rodriguez tried the same move that led to the goal but this time Rodriguez shot over the bar.

Gudmundsson was replaced by Robbie Brady on 71 minutes to watch his team-mates complete the victory from the sidelines.

Townsend wasted a golden chance to pull one back for the Eagles on 77 minutes. He was unmarked in the box when the ball fell invitingly, but smashed his shot over the bar.

There was one area of concern for Sean Dyche as Ben Mee was stretchered off seven minutes from time. He took a blow to the head after a clash with Jordan Ayew.

Kevin Long was brought on as a replacement but, encouraginly, Mee could be seen moving his arms and legs as he left the pitch.

It was an excellent display from the visitors and they thoroughly deseved all three points. Hodgson will now need to lift his men after back-to-back defeats.

 

READ MORE: Hodgson’s ruthless assessment of Leeds defeat

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