Two Chris Wood goals in four first-half minutes helped Burnley to a comfortable Premier League win over Norwich at Turf Moor.
Wood’s goals ensured the Clarets recorded their first win since the opening day of the season as they climbed up to seventh in the table.
In an opening period characterised by Norwich playing themselves into trouble at the back, Wood capitalised on some slack marking to head the hosts in front from Ashley Westwood’s near-post corner.
The forward, who had to wait until November for his first league goal last term, then doubled his and Burnley’s tally four minutes later, stroking Dwight McNeil’s driven cross into the roof of the Norwich net from five yards.
Alex Tettey’s first-half withdrawal due to a groin injury compounded a bad day for Norwich, who started the day without a clutch of first-team regulars.
The Canaries remain on six points in 15th, two points above the bottom three.
Pragmatism wins the day
Going into their sixth match of the season last term, Burnley were bottom of the Premier League after collecting a solitary point as they struggled to contend with Europa League commitments, that added six games and trips to Greece and Turkey to their schedule.
But even without that added strain this time around, a slow start meant that this was a fixture the Clarets could ill afford not to win.
It was also one that was perfectly suited to their tactics and the pragmatic football manager Sean Dyche prides himself on.
Dyche, taking charge of Burnley for the 313th game to become the fourth-longest-serving manager in the club’s history – encouraged his team to press their opponents from the off.
And it yielded immediate dividends as Norwich’s determination to play out from the back at all costs played into Burnley’s hands.
Ben Godfrey’s concession of a first-minute corner after sloppily losing the ball on the edge of his own penalty area was a precursor of what was to follow.
Both Burnley’s goals came after the Canaries were caught out in a similar manner, though the first was also augmented by allowing Wood a free header a yard from goal from Westwod’s delivery.
Jack Cork, Jeff Hendrick and Ashley Barnes also had chances to increase Burnley’s lead before the interval as Norwich repeatedly ignored the warnings of the first 15 minutes of play.
Norwich injury woes continue
While Norwich’s injury-ravaged squad defied the odds to surprise Manchester City last weekend, a trip to east Lancashire represented a totally different type of challenge for Daniel Farke’s side.
Burnley’s up-and-at-them style can cause problems for the best of teams and as Norwich found to their cost, they have the capacity to clinically unpick opponents’ mistakes.
The Canaries were also not helped by their chronic injury list, with 10 senior players unavailable and others like midfielder Ibrahim Amadou deployed out of position.
Cameroon-born Amadou, who endured a difficult afternoon throughout exposed to the bustling presence of both Wood and Barnes, was fortunate to escape a second yellow card after fouling Jay Rodriguez late on.
With Tettey adding to their casualty list, Farke will now also have to wait on news of goalkeeper Tim Krul who injured his back in the warm-up but managed to get through the game.
Man of the match – Chris Wood (Burnley)
Burnley manager Sean Dyche on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I feel very happy with the display, not just with the win. It was a very dominant performance from the first whistle to the last.
“We broke their play up early and scored two good goals. We didn’t look in any trouble and a small gripe would be that we should have scored more on the counter.”
On Chris Wood’s first goals of the season: “There is a lot of competition for places up front here. Ashley Barnes has been among the goals, Chris has probably been a bit unlucky but I’m really pleased for him. His second today was an excellent goal after a great run and finish.”
On becoming the fourth longest-serving manager in Burnley’s history: “I’m proud of it and on behalf of my staff too. There have been lots of great managers at this club so I’m delighted to make that list.”
Wood’s aerial threat – the stats
- Burnley have won five consecutive Premier League games against newly-promoted sides, their joint-best winning run against such opposition in the top flight, having also won five in a row in October 1898, September 1921 and September 1956.
- Norwich have conceded 14 goals from their opening six Premier League games this season, their highest such tally at this stage of a league campaign since 1963-64 in the second tier (also 14).
- Burnley have won six consecutive league meetings with Norwich at Turf Moor, their best winning streak at home against the Canaries in the top four tiers of English football.
- Norwich have now lost 16 of their last 18 away outings in the Premier League (W2), conceding 38 goals in this run while scoring only eight in reply.
- Five of Chris Wood’s last six Premier League goals for Burnley have been headed, with four of those coming via corners.
- Wood scored his first Premier League goals for Burnley since he also bagged a brace against Cardiff in April, ending a run of nine league appearances without scoring for the striker.
Burnley travel to Aston Villa for their next Premier League game on Saturday 28 September (15:00 BST). Norwich are also on the road for their next Premier League fixture, visiting Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace, also on Saturday 28 September (15:00 BST).