Burnley player ratings vs Boro as Josh Cullen and Nathan Tella show themselves to be the life and soul of the promotion party

Burnley reclaimed their Premier League status with a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Good Friday.
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Striker Ashley Barnes got the party started on Teesside when diverting Josh Brownhill’s drive past Zack Steffen in the 12th minute before Nathan Tella squandered a glorious opportunity to double the lead when one-on-one with Zack Steffen.

Boro, who were unbeaten at home under Michael Carrick heading into the fixture, drew level just three minutes into the second half when referee Darren Bond pointed to the spot as Cameron Archer went to ground under the challenge of Josh Cullen.

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Arijanet Muric guessed correctly when diving to his left hand side in an attempt to stop Chuba Akpom’s spot kick, but the Championship’s leading scorer converted his 26th goal of the season.

Burnley players celebrate

The EFL Sky Bet Championship - Middlesbrough v Burnley - Friday 7th April 2023 - Riverside Stadium - MiddlesbroughBurnley players celebrate

The EFL Sky Bet Championship - Middlesbrough v Burnley - Friday 7th April 2023 - Riverside Stadium - Middlesbrough
Burnley players celebrate The EFL Sky Bet Championship - Middlesbrough v Burnley - Friday 7th April 2023 - Riverside Stadium - Middlesbrough

However, Burnley brought up win number 25 of the campaign when Tella picked out Connor Roberts inside the area and the Welsh defender finished first time to spark wild celebrations among the 2,000 travelling fans.

Here are the ratings.

Arijanet Muric 7

Cool, calm and collected, laughing in the face of pressure when closed down by Cameron Archer in the first half. Invited the press, which allowed the Clarets to counter it more freely, and commanded his area well. One spillage aside, the Kosovan keeper looked assured.

Connor Roberts 7.5

The “Welsh Cafu” provided the finish that rubber-stamped Burnley’s return to the Premier League. After a somewhat uncertain start, which brought one or two misplaced passes, and an accessible outside lane, he settled into the contest and reached the levels we’ve been used to seeing from him.

Jordan Beyer 8

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Boro were forced to change tact when realising that there was no through route down the middle. The defender has to be one of the top names on Vincent Kompany’s summer ‘wish list’ following an outstanding season in the Championship. Deserves the opportunity to test himself in the Premier League. Phenomenal.

Ameen Al-Dakhil 7.5

The young centre bag has bags of potential. Deputised for Taylor Harwood-Bellis on this occasion, but shows his quality as a defender every time he’s called upon. Marshalled the division’s leading scorer, Chuba Akpom, remarkably well, demonstrated his physical prowess, and unflustered when pressurised. An exciting prospect.

Ian Maatsen 6.5

The Chelsea loan ace was slightly fortunate that his early error, when dispossessed by Aaron Ramsey, went unpunished, and the 21-year-old showed a few signs of the occasion getting to him. However, responded incredibly well when Boro chose to go a bit more direct, reading the threat well, and dealing with it.

Josh Brownhill 7.5

A dynamic performance from the skipper, who operated ever-so-well alongside Josh Cullen. Made that position his own as he worked from back to front, and vice-versa, with ease, possessing an engine that made it difficult to get on top in midfield. Picked up intelligent positions in transition, which aided Burnley’s ability to counter, clocked up another assist, and should have arguably won a penalty.

Josh Cullen 8.5

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Tremendous. Executes every part of his game excellently and effortlessly. Recovered the ball on countless occasions when Boro threatened to break, continuously taking it upon himself to do the dirty work, which allowed Josh Brownhill and Johann Berg Gudmundsson a little more freedom and flexibility in their roles, while his quality on the ball allowed the visitors to assert some control. Unfortunate to concede a penalty, as replays showed.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson 7.5

The Icelander is a real asset at this level. His Premier League pedigree shone through in that position as he was able to find space in-between the lines and link play. Delivered a number of high calibre crosses into the box and his decoy run afforded Anass Zaroury and Josh Cullen time in the build up.

Nathan Tella 8

A real livewire for the Clarets and both Ryan Giles and Darragh Lenihan struggled to deal with his pace and positioning. Eye-catching on the ball, works selflessly to aid his team-mates when out of possession, and another who looks ready for a sustained run in the Premier League. Slightly surprising to see him squander a one-v-one opportunity, but made amends with the assist for the winner.

Ashley Barnes 7.5

The iconic striker put Burnley ahead with his 50th league goal for the club, staying alert and alive to convert Josh Brownhill’s attempt, while stepping on to the ball at the perfect moment. Led the line well, occupied the centre backs, pulling them high to manufacture space in behind, and linked the play well. Never stopped battling and you could see what a third promotion meant to him.

Anass Zaroury 6.5

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Skipped away from Tommy Smith to get the Clarets on the front foot in the lead up to the goal, but a little bit off the boil prior to being replaced by Vitinho in the 55th minute. Targeted with several robust challenges, which knocked him off his stride, and continued to get little protection from the match official.

Vitinho 6.5

Given just over half-an-hour as Burnley pushed for the goal that would wrap up promotion to the Premier League. Provided energy, width, and threatened to spin in off the shoulder of the full back a couple of times as Boro got men forward in search of an equaliser. Did exactly what was asked of him.