Burnley FC- The Verdict: Clarets' patience pays off in their victory over Norwich
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Jay Rodriguez stepped up with an 80th minute penalty, to give Vincent Kompany’s all three points and move them to the top of the Championship table.
It also marked the Clarets’ 15th consecutive game without defeat in all competitions, which shows just how well they have settled into this campaign under the former Anderlecht boss.
For the majority of the match against Norwich, Burnley were dominant.
Dean Smith’s side only had a handful of chances, which all came in the second half.
The Clarets had the majority of the ball, with only the final product seeming to evade them for most of the evening.
It could’ve very well been one of those nights where everyone in the Burnley camp came away frustrated.
Even a draw would’ve seemed like two points dropped instead of one gained.
It was a bright start, as Nathan Tella nearly opened the scoring after only five minutes.
The winger produced some great footwork to create space for himself on the edge of the box, before releasing a shot, which was deflected just wide of the target.
While he struggled to break down the Norwich defence, it was still a pretty good night for the Southampton loanee.
It still seems bizarre that the Saints let him go out on loan at all, as from what we’ve seen so far this season, he could’ve easily done a job at St Mary’s.
The standout attacker on Tuesday night was probably Anass Zaroury, who looked lively throughout.
He probably should’ve opened the scoring, with two chances landing his way in the space of a couple of minutes.
First, he put a header over the bar, getting just under the ball as he attacked, when really he should’ve been getting it on target.
On the next attack, he produced a superb curling effort from the edge of the box, which went just wide of the right post.
That was pretty much the story for most of the game, with half chances coming the Clarets’ way but nothing to truly test Angus Gunn.
Todd Cantwell seemingly had a golden opportunity for Norwich at the start of the second half.
The ball came to him after a couple of deflections, but he was unable to get a strong enough touch to get it over the line, with a save eventually being made.
After controlling the game for so long, the Burnley goal was very much deserved when it finally came.
In the build-up to the penalty being awarded, Ian Maasten made a fantastic driving run forward, before the ball eventually came to Maneul Benson, who produced a cross into the box.
There can be no complaints about the spot kick being awarded for handball, with Grant Hanley’s arm clearly outstretched.
From the spot, Rodriguez fired straight down the middle to beat Gunn.
Shortly after, Benson had the chance to double Burnley’s lead, but fired wide from close range.
This could’ve proved costly, as down the other end, Teemu Pukki came close to scoring a late equaliser, but was denied by a fantastic save from Arijanet Muric, who secured his clean sheet.
The keeper truly stepped up to the mark when his team needed him, and provided a moment that was as equally as important as the penalty just minutes before.
It would’ve been a sickening blow for Kompany’s side to concede so late on, especially after such a strong defensive performance.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Jordan Beyer looked like a great pairing at the back, especially with Jack Cork sat in front.
The pair complemented each other well, while the defensive midfielder cleaned up any problems, which kept the visitors quiet.
Harwood-Bellis in particular impressed once again.
Not only is he solid at the back, he’s also fantastic with the ball at his feet, with an incredible passing range.
He unleashed the wingers on a number of occasions through some quality balls forward.
The 20-year-old has really impressed so far during his time at Turf Moor, and you would only expect that to continue going forward.
Everyone across the backline appears to share that forward thinking mindset, as seen with the build-up to the penalty incident.
One of the main cogs for Burnley continues to be Josh Brownhill in midfield.
The energy he shows is unbelievable, and appeared to be everywhere from start to finish.
In both attack and defence, he was superb against Norwich, and really helps to dictate the pattern of the game.
Overall, it was a pleasing night at Turf Moor.
At the moment, a team’s position in the Championship table probably doesn’t mean too much.
The division is wide open, and by the time we reach the World Cup break things could look very different due to things changing on a weekly basis.
Nonetheless, sitting top of the table will only give the Clarets a spring in their step, but the current 15-game unbeaten run is the main thing to highlight more than anything else.
It shows that Kompany has made his side hard to beat, which was proven further by the way they dominated the Canaries.
Any frailty that was on display in the first half against Sunderland on Saturday was not present, as they remained composed at all times.
A few weeks ago this came could’ve ended as a draw, but there is certainly now a resilience in the Burnley squad to win every game.