Burnley FC- The Verdict: Vincent Kompany's side restart the Championship season with a strong display but are fortunate with some decisions
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Although it may not necessarily feel like it due to the gap between the last two games; the victory against QPR made it back-to-back 3-0 wins for Vincent Kompany’s side.
They finished on a high against Blackburn Rovers last month, and they continued that momentum at Loftus Road.
It certainly seemed like an important game to win, simply because of the strange situation we have all found ourselves in with a mid-season pause due to FIFA’s splendid decision making.
Like the rest of the country, it was a bitterly cold day in the capital.
Many layers were needed to brave the conditions, but that didn’t deter a strong away support from the Clarets fans, who were loud all afternoon.
They were chanting about the players on the pitch, as well as showing their support for Anass Zaroury and his Moroccan teammates.
While it proved to be a pretty straightforward victory in the end, in which Burnley didn’t need to be at their very best, there was a moment in the early stages that could’ve set a different tone.
Arijanet Muric was very fortunate not to concede a penalty.
While attempting to collect the ball, the goalkeeper made contact with George Thomas, who went down in the box.
It was certainly clumsy from the 24-year-old, and one Kompany’s side were lucky to get away with.
If VAR was used in the Championship it would’ve certainly told the referee to have another look at the incident.
Maybe Muric was given the benefit of the doubt considering it was so early in the game, but it was one QPR interim manager Paul Hall was left frustrated with.
While saying he didn’t blame the referee, he made it very clear that he believed it was the wrong decision and it should’ve been given.
The frustrations of the home side would only continue with the awarding of the free kick which led to Burnley’s opening goal.
There appeared to be minimal contact on Jack Cork as he went down on the edge of the box, as the Clarets midfielder just appeared to lose his balance as he tried to drive forward.
Nonetheless, there was still work to be done to take a 1-0 lead, with Johann Gudmundsson hitting a superb free kick.
He struck the ball superbly across the wall and towards the keepers’ side into the side netting.
Seny Dieng remained still as the ball went past him, but would’ve struggled if he had moved due to the precision Gudmundsson hit it with.
The midfielder was one of the standout performers across the afternoon.
He was always positive going forward and helped to control things.
The second two goals came from sheer hard work and desire.
Ian Maatsen’s strike came in the final moments of the first half.
The fullback was quickly on the end of a rebound, after the keeper had parried an effort from Vitinho.
To be fair to Dieng, he did quite well to push the ball away to the side, but Maatsen’s first time finish from a tight angle was exceptional.
He just hit the ball perfectly to guide it into the goal.
At the time it seemed like a hard chance to take, but it was nothing compared to Nathan Tella’s goal in the 71st minute.
First of all, what is the defender doing?
Jimmy Dunne attempted to chest the ball back to his keeper, but it was a painful attempt with nowhere near enough power on it.
He was also oblivious to the fact that Tella was waiting to make the intercept.
The Clarets’ winger quickly stole the ball and took it round the keeper.
Nonetheless, he still had a lot of work to do to get into the goal, with a fantastic finish required to make it 3-0.
It probably wasn’t Tella’s best game, but his hard work and commitment was always visible.
If something didn’t work, then he would continue to try didn’t things to break down the home side.
Josh Brownhill could’ve added another for Kompany’s side, but produced a weak effort when it came to finishing a good move.
QPR did have their chances in the game.
Chris Willock fired a half-volley well over the bar at only 1-0, when really he should’ve been doing a lot better.
Meanwhile, Muric made a good save to deny Sam Field.
While the shot was straight at the Burnley keeper, it had plenty of power behind it and travelled through a number of bodies before reaching the goal.
Apart from that, there weren’t too many headaches for the Clarets, but that simply comes down to the way they defended.
Jordan Beyer was another standout performer and looked exceptional.
The centre back was comfortable throughout, dealing with most situations with ease.
He played his way out of trouble on a number of occasions and was confident with the ball at his feet.
Along with Taylor Harwood-Bellis, the pair kept the QPR attack quiet and nullified any pressure.
The result moves Burnley three points clear at the top of the Championship table, ahead of a busy period over Christmas and the New Year.
As well as this, they are also eight points ahead of third place Blackburn, and while there is still a long way to go, it’s a healthy gap to have.