TALKING POINTS: Crystal Palace 0, Burnley 3
The Clarets raced into a two-goal lead within 10 minutes through Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jay Rodriguez, before Matt Lowton’s stunning volley sealed the points.
There were late concerns as Ben Mee and Erik Pieters came off injured, but here are the talking points from the game.
THE BURNLEY CAFU
Matt Lowton was, like most Burnley fans no doubt, delighted to see no Wilf Zaha on the Crystal Palace team sheet.
Zaha has, for the best part of a decade, been a thorn in Burnley’s side, but the Eagles are almost a point-per-game worse off without their talisman, losing 18 of 20 games now over the last four seasons, failing to score in 16 of those defeats.
It has largely been Phil Bardsley on the receiving end in meetings between the sides of late, but in the form Lowton is in, even if the Ivory Coast international was fit and flying, he would have had to be at his best to extend the former Aston Villa man.
Before the game, Wyscout statistics showed Lowton to be the second most accurate crosser in the Premier League this season, behind Brighton’s Pascal Gross, with Ashley Westwood third and Dwight McNeil sixth.
But Saturday wasn’t about his crossing, it was his all-round game, building again on a man of the match display against Brighton, in which he helped keep the Clarets on the front foot in the second half in particular.
As Match of the Day pointed out, he was equal best in terms of key passes in the Burnley side, and in possession gained, and top in touches, duels won, clearances and interceptions - one of which led to his wonder goal.
His crisp passing helped set the tone for Burnley’s high tempo start, which blew Palace away, and he read the game superbly throughout, while keeping the dangerous Eberechi Eze on the periphery.
His form of late, particularly since signing a new contract, has been hugely impressive, and his goal of the season candidate could only be topped by his last Premier League strike, for Aston Villa against Stoke in 2013 - well worth checking out on YouTube.
Having cut out a Palace attack, he burst past three home players before finding Jay Rodriguez, and from his lofted return ball, Lowton showed admirable technique and execution to lash a brilliant volley home. Magnificent.
LACK OF GOALS?
Burnley went into the game as the Premier League’s lowest scorers, with 14 goals, having also failed to score a first-half goal in their past seven games.
Within 10 minutes, all that became moot as the Clarets raced into a two-goal lead.
Sean Dyche said before the game: “I think we are capable of scoring more, definitely. Against Brighton we had our highest number of chances, with 20 attempts on goal, with seven on target, and to me that shows we are capable of being creative in front of goal.
"If you keep doing that, I would suggest you will score more goals. We’ve got strikers who have proved they can score goals at this level, and I’m confident they will start to convert more of those opportunities, as they have in the past."
The 20 efforts against Brighton last week, was more than in their four previous league games combined.
And at Palace, the tally was again high, at 16.
Jay Rodriguez had gone 21 Premier League outings without a goal, the worst drought of his career, and he had come in for some stick after his miss in the FA Cup exit against Bournemouth in midweek.
But you can’t keep a player of that quality down for too long, and his headed second here showed the esteem in which he is held by his teammates, who delightedly mobbed him.
He enjoys a goal against Palace - this was his fifth league goal against the Eagles - only against Nottingham Forest (6) has he scored more.
It wasn’t just the goal either, as Rodriguez and Ashley Barnes were terrific throughout, stretching the Palace defence with runs in the channels, while Barnes also kept Luka Milivojevic quiet when he dropped into midfield.
In the absence of Chris Wood and Matej Vydra, the pressure was on to deliver, and that they did.
VALUE OF CLEAN SHEETS
Burnley claimed a sixth away clean sheet at Palace, a total only topped by Aston Villa.
Goals have been hard to come by on their travels, with only five before Saturday’s three, but the defence has been nigh on impregnable away from home.
While Burnley’s attacking play was easy on the eye at Selhurst Park, as they produced the sort of mixed football their manager craves, it didn’t come at the expense of their usual defensive organisation and solidity.
Nick Pope wasn’t seriously tested, and the game was well and truly over when Andros Townsend spun and fired over from a tight angle late on with Palace’s best opening.
Burnley frustrated Palace, and you could see how much the clean sheet meant to them, even at 3-0 up at the death, with skipper Ben Mee and Erik Pieters off injured, they still got bodies in the way and stayed resolute to claim another shut out.
Crystal Palace have the oldest manager in the Premier League, with the 73-year-old Roy Hodgson taking charge of his 350th Premier League game on Saturday.
And his team, at 29 years and 203 days, was the oldest average starting XI in the Premier League this season - with Burnley, at 28 years and 271 days, the second oldest.
At Selhurst, Burnley’s side had an average age of 29 years and 349 days, becoming the first side with an older average age than Palace (29 years and 148 days) this season.
While reducing the average age of the side is necessary over the coming transfer windows, there is much to be said for the Clarets’ experience and know how at this level.
When you look back at Burnley’s first two Premier League campaigns, in which they were relegated, and their third, when their only away win of the season came in their penultimate game on their travels at Palace, the side are markedly more streetwise and savvy.
They know exactly what to do to consistently pick up points at this level, don’t panic at tough spells of results, or the odd heavy defeat.
In an era where you are only a result or two from a social media knee jerk crisis, to quote Dyche, he never gets “too high with the highs or too low with the lows.”
Ben Mee’s header separated the sides in the last meeting at Selhurst Park, and he was immaculate again in the air as Burnley claimed a shut out and a convincing 3-0 win.
His bravery is well known down the years, famously sticking his head in the way of Noel Hunt’s shot at Reading in 2012, amid numerous other instances.
But there was worry for him at Palace when he made a block tackle to stop Jordan Ayew, but took the forward’s shoulder in the temple, and dropped like a stone to the floor.
He was attended to by a posse of medical experts, before being stretchered off and replaced by Kevin Long.
However, he soon reappeared, waking back round the perimeter and back to the dressing room thankfully.
Sean Dyche explained that he hadn’t used one of two permanent concussion substitutions now available on a trial basis in the Premier League, saying: “He's okay, I think the medical team have to do things right and make sure they're well, but it was very pleasing to see him walking down behind us about five or six minutes after he'd had to go off on a stretcher, so we're pleased with that.
"He's fine in the dressing room, I've just had a chat with him."
Even if no clear symptoms of concussion develop, the player has to undergo a formal clinical assessment at full-time, and Dyche added: "They'll have to have a medical view, but we made a normal substitution. They do checks to make sure you're okay, and he's fine in the dressing room, I'll leave him with the medical team."
Fingers crossed Mee is okay to resume against Fulham and West Brom in two games which could effectively see them safe, but in the current climate in football, with studies into dementia in the game, there can, and no doubt will, be no risks taken with his health, even taking into consideration the importance of the fixtures.