Crystal Palace put in another superb away performance to win at relegation rivals Burnley and take another step towards securing their top-flight status.
The two sides went into the game level on 30 points and Palace made the early breakthrough as Jeffrey Schlupp’s cut-back cannoned off Phil Bardsley’s thigh into his own net.
Burnley began to show their frustration towards the end of the first half and Michy Batshuayi doubled Palace’s lead just after the break, sweeping in a low ball by fit-again full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Palace continued to keep it tight at the back while Wilfried Zaha grabbed the goal his work-rate and class deserved, tormenting the Burnley defence before firing low past Tom Heaton.
Ashley Barnes pulled one back late on while Burnley substitute Peter Crouch almost set up a nervy finish, but Palace held on to claim their third straight away game in all competitions.
The victory also lifted the Eagles up to 13th in the Premier League, putting eight points between themselves and the relegation zone, while Burnley dropped one place to 16th, five points clear of third-bottom Cardiff.
Palace happy to hit the road
Not only is Palace’s away record better than at home this season but they have taken 20 points from a possible 33 on the road – a joint-league-high of 61%.
Given Burnley enjoyed their longest-ever unbeaten run in the Premier League before losing at Newcastle in midweek, Palace were cautious in the first half, especially with Wan-Bissaka back after three games out while Scott Dann returned for his first league start since New Year’s Day 2017.
Zaha, who was outstanding throughout, set up an early opener that allowed Palace to then sit back and pick off Burnley at will.
The Ivory Coast international beat left-back Charlie Taylor before firing a low ball across goal and Schlupp’s cut-back went in off Bardsley.
Zaha’s ability to run with the ball and hold off defenders allowed the visitors to relieve the pressure and frustrated the hosts, while Schlupp and Wan-Bissaka pushed up the wings more often as the game wore on.
Batshuayi had been quiet in the first half but before Burnley had a chance to regroup after the break, Wan-Bissaka crossed for the on-loan Chelsea striker to sweep in a first-time strike and as Burnley pushed forward, Zaha took advantage.
Cheikhou Kouyate squared to Zaha just outside the Burnley box and the 26-year-old ran at Taylor and Ben Mee, twisting and turning inside the box, before firing in his fifth goal in five games.
Clarets rely on target men
Burnley had given their chances of survival a boost with an eight-game unbeaten run and they were undaunted despite suffering an early setback, trying to play through their in-form strike pair of Barnes and Chris Wood.
Their best chance of the first half saw Jeff Hendrick pick out Barnes on the edge of the box and he touched the ball into the path of Wood, whose shot was blocked by returning Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
After the second goal, Burnley’s front two combined again as Wood nodded a Jack Cork cross down for Barnes but his close-range shot was deflected over. The Clarets tended to rely on diagonal balls into the strikers rather than trying to get down the wings and behind the Palace defence.
In their desperation to get back in the game, the home side gave the ball away cheaply too often, leaving themselves exposed at the back, and they could even have gone 4-0 down as Patrick van Aanholt volleyed over.
But they salvaged some pride when Barnes scored with a glancing header from Ashley Westwood’s cross and, just as the game moved into stoppage time, Crouch’s low shot was turned round the far post by Hennessey.
Man of the match – Wilfried Zaha
Match stats – Barnes and Zaha bang in form
- Crystal Palace have scored in nine consecutive Premier League games for the first time ever within a single season.
- Michy Batshuayi has scored five goals in his last seven starts in all competitions for English clubs.
- Wilfried Zaha has had a hand in six goals in his last six Premier League games (5 goals, 1 assist), one more than he managed in his previous 21 (5).
- Burnley mustered 18 shots, their most in their last 38 Premier League games since managing 21 against Everton in March 2018.
- Among current players, only Phil Jagielka (6) and Scott Dann (5) have scored more own goals in the Premier League than Burnley’s Phil Bardsley (4).
- Ashley Barnes has been directly involved in six goals in his last six Premier League appearances for Burnley, as many as he managed in his previous 25.
Source: BBC News