Burnley player ratings as debutant Hjalmar Ekdal, Ian Maatsen and Ashley Barnes stand out against Norwich City
Burnley opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the Championship after victory over Norwich City ticked off a ninth league win in succession.
Anass Zaroury hit double figures for the campaign when firing in the opener, substitute Vitinho made it 2-0 within seconds of being introduced as a second half substitute before Hjalmar Ekdal capped off a debut to remember with the third and final goal at Carrow Road.
It was the first time since 1991, when Jimmy Mullen was at the helm in the Fourth Division, that the Clarets had managed to clock up so many three-pointers on the bounce.
Of course, Burnley went on to win the title that season. Will history be repeated?
Here are the player ratings.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell 7.5
Came in and did the business yet again. Another clean sheet and made a vital save to prevent Kieran Dowell from grabbing a first half equaliser for Norwich City.
Connor Roberts 8
Targeted by the hosts, who didn’t relent in their attempts to get Onel Hernandez on the ball. The Cuban had some joy on the outside, but Burnley’s Wales international more than held his own.
Hjalmar Ekdal 8.5
The Swede had a debut to remember. Showed real brute strength when battling for the ball — both in the air and on the deck — robust, composed, assured and a goal on his bow was the cherry on the cake.
Jordan Beyer 8
Never rattled, a class act, and almost plays with a cigar on at times. Marshalled the defence incredibly well, tracked the runners off the ball, made key interventions inside the box and carried the ball out from the back with a real swagger.
Ian Maatsen 8.5
Brilliant defensively and as an attacking outlet. Beaten by Kieran Dowell once or twice, but made a couple of superb interventions to prevent the Canaries from getting into some threatening positions. Tested Tim Krul with a number of rasping drives and set up Hjalmar Ekdal for the third and final goal.
Josh Brownhill 7.5
Picked up an early booking for a late challenge, but performed combatively in a deeper role in captain Jack Cork’s absence. A dynamic display, covering plenty of ground, and used his body well to nip in ahead of his opponent in dangerous positions to nick the ball and quell the threat.
Josh Cullen 7.5
A metronomic performance in midfield, providing the base for Burnley to build from. Collected every loose ball in the middle of the park, switched play effectively and showed great composure in possession.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson 7.5
A real threat from set-pieces. Tested Tim Krul in the first half and the quality of his delivery after the break allowed Burnley to stretch their lead. His corners were on the money as both Vitinho and Hjalmar Ekdal profited. Worked hard up and down the pitch to keep Dimitris Giannoulis and Onel Hernandez quiet.
Nathan Tella 7
The intensity of the Southampton star’s press set the tone from the first whistle, allowing the Clarets to disrupt their opponents’ play and unsettle them defensively. Carried a threat with his runs in behind and went close to hitting double figures for the season when Grant Hanley got across to block.
Anass Zaroury 7.5
Became the first Claret to hit double figures across all competitions. Alive to Tim Krul’s error, keeping his cool to finish well, and didn’t lose heart having met his match in a competitive and intriguing tussle with Max Aarons. Quieter in the second half as the visitors took complete control and eased their way to the finish.
Ashley Barnes 8.5
The striker’s enthusiasm to compete for every ball and do his best for Burnley will never waver. Though the ball didn’t ball for him in front of goal, he provided his defenders with a constant out-ball, dropping deep to claim possession, allowing his team-mates to advance, before switching play. Lead the line well and was aggressive at both ends of the pitch, making a number of important blocks, particularly the one to divert Marcelino Nunez’s attempt wide.
The versatile Brazilian had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds when scoring the all-important second goal of the game with his first touch. Helped Burnley stay in complete control of the game and tracked back well.