Norwich City were well-beaten at Turf Moor against Burnley in the Premier League as a Chris Wood double brought them back down to earth with a bump after last weekends victory against Manchester City.
After the Lord Mayor’s show that was witnessed in NR1 last Saturday, Daniel Farke’s men arrived at Turf Moor fully anticipating a direct antithesis to the approach deployed by Pep Guardiola’s men.
Bottling the euphoria and scaling a differing mountain would test their resolve. Motivating yourself for a test against the champions is an altogether different proposition to a Saturday afternoon fixture at Burnley.
Sean Dyche’s adept Burnley side have become accustomed to the rigours of the Premier League since their arrival into England’s top tier, establishing themselves in a manner that will serve as a template for Daniel Farke’s men.
The German opted for an unchanged side in the North West with Patrick Roberts and Moritz Leitner returning to the bench. Despite Dyche threatening to ring the changes, he also elected for the same eleven who drew 1-1 at Brighton last Saturday.
In the opening minute, Ben Godfrey’s pass was intercepted by Chris Wood but his effort was blocked for a corner.
Burnley’s early desire to press the Canaries was evident from the aggression in their restriction of space in Norwich’s defensive third. Turning over Norwich’s wasted possession led to an aerial bombardment and numerous crossing situations throughout the opening exchanges.
Against the run of play, however, it was Teemu Pukki who had the first clear sight of goal, pouncing on a James Tarkowski error before running through only to see his shot saved by the legs of Nick Pope on eight minutes.
Norwich would have expected an aerial bombardment from Burnley, who sought to play directly into their front two at any given opportunity and it would be Chris Wood who opened the scoring on ten minutes. Ashley Westwood’s arrowed delivery was headed home by the New Zealand international at the near post. Tim Krul instantly began the inquest, enquiring as to how the near post area was so scarce of yellow and green shirts.
Soon after Alex Tettey was replaced due to injury in the 13th minute, the home side had their second of the game with Wood again converting from the near post. The simplicity of the conversion will have frustrated Farke, with McNeil’s pull-back from the byline emphatically dispatched by Wood.
Merely a few moments later, City had their goalkeeper to thank for ensuring the game stayed at 2-0, with his stop preventing the home side from adding to their tally. The offensive passages continued to arrive at regular intervals for Burnley with Jamal Lewis’ intervention proving critical as Jeff Hendrick looked destined to convert at the back post after good work from McNeil again down the left hand side.
The frenetic nature of the game was underlined after a spell of possession led to Leitner striking the post with a curling effort from range.
Burnley opted for a man-to-man press that prevented City from gathering any ounce of possession. The intensity of which proved too much for the City operators, who were caught in transitional phases of play regularly.
Burnley’s press, both in terms of volume and intensity, eased significantly later in the half, providing City the opportunity to impose their passing philosophy onto the game with greater consistency, although exchanging that possession into chances proved testing considering the dogged defensive shape from the hosts.
On 38 minutes, with his influence on the fixture growing, Buendia plucked a ball from the air before his shot was subsequently blocked by the recovering Tarkowski.
Norwich began the second half with a similar impetus to how the first ended, with a turnover won, Pukki chasing a through ball which eventually worked itself to Buendia to fire the ball wide.
Spells of possession were becoming more frequent but constructing genuine chances proved difficult against a Burnley side who were defending with a deep block and allowing City the ball in wide areas.
Another spark was injected into proceedings on the 57th minute, with Matt Lowton sliding into a diving Krul with the Dutchman responding robustly to the right-backs challenge.
What transcended from that point resembled a basketball fixture, with the game becoming increasingly stretched with Burnley content to exercise their threat from the counter-attack, the athleticism of a structured midfield winning the second balls that arrived from Barnes and Wood’s knock-downs.
Wood could have sealed the win on 67 minutes, with a scrappy Burnley attack falling fortuitously in his path but his connection with the shot was tame and easily collected by Krul.
The physical dominance of the two strikers continued to ease the home side into offensive phases of play, with Wood proving a nuisance throughout the encounter with his efficiency at holding up the ball to invite others into play a source of joy throughout for Dyche’s side.
City did turn their positive possession into a half-chance on 71 minutes, with good work from Pukki finding Cantwell whose shot was deflected wide for a corner. Harnessing any goal-scoring potential from set-pieces due to the home sides aerial strengths appeared impossible for a Norwich side who were built with an eye on technique rather than presence.
This was the platonic ideal of a Burnley performance, with organisation and energy being at the forefront of a high-intensity performance designed to ensure City made mistakes.
Terriority and possession may have increased for City, but all routes to dispatch efforts at Pope were blocked by claret and blue shirts.
Farke opted to change the system with ten minutes to play, deploying a three at the back formation designed to overload central areas to aid chance creation. The congestion around the host’s penalty area continued, with Leitner striking just wide from range.
Burnley’s game became increasingly about game management, with their defensive shape having thwarted the Canaries efforts to make inroads across the piece.
Ultimately, the direction of the game was decided in an intense and impressive opening 20 minutes, with Burnley’s aggression in the press taking the game to Norwich.
Usually, the Canaries’ are a slick offensive machine, capable of working openings at regular intervals. Considering the difficulty for that throughout this encounter, the nullification of their potent strikeforce impressive.
Sean Dyche had conquered where Pep Guardiola failed, the intimidation of the supporters evident throughout with the increased level of physicality leading to a comfortable win for the clarets.
– Burnley (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Hendrick (Brady, 90+5), Cork, Westwood, McNeil (Lennon, 77) ; Wood, Barnes (Rodriguez 77) (Subs not used) Hart (GK), Taylor, Vydra, Long
– Bookings: None.
– Goals: Wood (10 & 14 mins)
– Norwich: (4-2-3-1): Krul; Byram, Amadou, Godfrey, Lewis; Tettey © (Leitner, 13), McLean; Buendia, Stiepermann (Drmic, 73), Cantwell (Roberts, 88); Pukki (Subs not used) McGovern (GK), Hanley, Heise, Srbeny
– Bookings: Amadou
– Goals: None.
– Added on time: 2 mins/ 3 mins
– Referee: David Coote (Notts)
– Attendance: 19,712 (2,355)