Burnley 3, Crystal Palace 3: Chris Boden's thoughts as Maxwel Cornet shows again he is the man with the Midas touch

He’s the man with the Midas touch.

Sunday, 21st November 2021, 9:38 am
Updated Sunday, 21st November 2021, 9:40 am
Maxwel Cornet celebrates his equaliser

Everything Maxwel Cornet touches seems to turn to gold since his summer arrival from Lyon.

And his volley to earn Burnley a point against Crystal Palace, after James Tarkowski headed on Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s inswinging cross, was worth the entrance fee alone.

I don’t think I’m talking it up by saying it’s the most technically perfect volley we’ve seen here since Robbie Blake’s legendary winner against Manchester United in 2009.

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Just like Blake, the Ivorian watched the ball all the way, keeping that focus and balance, and his head and knee over the ball, before showing supreme timing to unleash a sublime strike that beat keeper Vicente Guaita before he could move.

It was another special moment from a man who is having his own personal goal of the season competition - five in six Premier League starts, and not a tap-in among them!

He has predominantly been Burnley’s source of goals in open play, while against Palace, they again showed the value of a good old-fashioned cross into the box.

Discussing ways of hurting teams from wide areas before the game, Sean Dyche spoke of how the game is changing in that respect.

He said: “I think if you look at top teams, it's not just a cross any more, they actually pass into the box, find passing lanes in the box.

"We talk to our players about that, not just putting it into the box with quality, but can we find those right areas, find players in the box, and I think that's another thing that has changed in the game over the years, the detail in the front third.”

As he added, however: "On the other hand, a fine cross and a goal is still a pretty simple but effective method!

"There is still a fantastic art of someone putting over a ball and someone attacking it, I would never underestimate the power of that.”

And why would you, when Burnley remain as effective as anyone else at the top level in that sense?

All three of Burnley’s goals against Crystal Palace came from crosses into the box, the first two, from captain Ben Mee and a 50th Premier League goal for Chris Wood, from dead balls, and Cornet’s from open play.

The Clarets caused problems via that route all afternoon, with Dyche having seen a chink in the Crystal Palace armour.

After the game he admitted: "We know so far they've got a, so far, poor record from set pieces, so we thought we could capitalise as we know we're strong from that.

"I think the quality of the ball in…Ben Mee's header is fantastic, Maxwel's is a brilliant strike, and Woody nicks one as well, so we're pleased with that.

"We looked effective from it all game.”

But at the other end, the Clarets were their own enemy, particularly during a breathless first half.

Just as it looked as though Burnley's famed strong jaw was back, following the 1-1 draw at Chelsea a fortnight ago, we witnessed as chaotic a 45 minutes as there has been in Sean Dyche's time as Clarets boss.

Every time Crystal Palace went forward, they looked like scoring, with Christian Benteke giving them the lead with a deflected strike.

And while the Clarets responded well to going behind, taking the lead from two set pieces - with Palace keeper Vicente Guaita hopeless under the crossed ball - they were not able to keep the back door even slightly ajar, never mind shut, as Palace themselves came back to lead 3-2 at the break through Benteke again, and Marc Guehi.

Considering Burnley had won the last three meetings with Palace without conceding, it was a shock to the system.

But then, Patrick Vieira’s Eagles are a different proposition to Roy Hodgson’s, and goals are virtually guaranteed when the Frenchman comes to Turf Moor, having scored in Manchester City's 6-1 win here in 2010, and seen his Nice side beaten by the same margin in pre-season two years ago.

Credit again to Dyche, who got a grip of things at half-time.

Palace had bossed possession and territory, with their wing backs extremely high and wide, forcing Burnley’s wide men back the other way, while Conor Gallagher revelled in the space off the front.

Dyche got his players to be more aggressive in their pressing after the break, engaging higher, and the Clarets cut off the pocket for Gallagher.

As a result, they dominated in terms of pressure and chances, and if any team was going to win it, it was them, once they had levelled through Cornet.

That Burnley didn’t go on to claim the points was down to a mixture of bizarre officiating, and a golden chance squandered at the death.

When Wood got goalside of centre back Joachim Andersen from a ball downfield, the Kiwi was hauled back and brought down.

Yes, it wasn’t a rugby tackle, but Wood was impeded, and you have to ask why he would have gone to ground easily when he was in on goal.

Answer, he wouldn’t.

Wood felt he was manhandled, but referee Simon Hooper - some distance behind play - didn’t.

So where was VAR? It was a clear and obvious error in that case, but we didn’t hear a peep from the goal prevention system.

That would have seen Palace down to 10, but as it was, the only side hurt by the referee was Burnley, who lose Tarkowski and Ashley Westwood for the next game against Spurs, due to collecting fifth bookings.

Tarkowski’s was a nonsense, cautioned for trying to keep the peace as Wilfried Zaha saw the red mist, not for the first time at Turf Moor.

Regardless; at the death, Matej Vydra had the chance to win it, a gossamer touch from Westwood’s pass giving him a clear sight of goal, but Guaita, who had previously appeared to be nothing more than a hologram in the Palace goal, produced a fine save to ensure a share of the spoils.