The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW37): Norwich 0-2 Burnley
Gameweek 37's fixture open up with Norwich's last Premier League game at Carrow Road, with Europa League chasing Burnley visiting Norfolk, and based on the first-half of action, they probably wished they hadn't had played the fixture at all.
It was Norwich who actually had the first real chance of the half when Ben Godfrey met a corner with his head, though the powerful effort couldn't get past in-form Nick Pope who had an arm out to block the effort, with Alex Tettey's rebound blocked.
Disaster struck for Norwich due to VAR intervention when Emi Buendia and James Tarkowski had a coming together when they were challenging for a ball in the air. The tussle led to Buendia swinging an elbow in the back of Tarkowski's head. Slowed down the hit and intent looks bad, but in real-time it looks like Buendia is trying to push Tarkowski away from him. Either way, the referee went to have a look at the screen and brandished the red card.
Down to 10-men, Burnley went closed when Dwight McNeil's free-kick on the left-flank flew over the wall, took a deflection over the wall and was well-saved in mid-turn by Tim Krul, to keep the game goalless.
The idea of a clean sheet and any points for Norwich virtually evaporated in added time in the first-half when Josip Drmic lost control of the ball and lunged, two-footed and high, into the shins of Erik Pieters. A red card was shown straight away and within a minute, Drmic was joining Buendia in the changing rooms.
Just before the half-time break, just to rub salt in the wounds of Norwich's poor afternoon of discipline, they conceded when Norwich cleared the set-piece where Pieters was fouled, only falling to Tarkowski, who set Jóhann Berg Gudmundsson to deliver a left-footed cross in from the right. The looping ball was met by Chris Wood who attempted an over-head kick with the ball hitting his shin and towards goal, with Tim Krul getting a hand on the effort as the effort creeped into the net. This was a shot that Tim should have 100% saved, though the surprise of the effort caught the Dutchman cold.
We then anticipated an onslaught in the second-half with Burnley boasting an additional couple of players, though besides a couple of flashed chances for Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez, Daniel Farke's side defended really well to keep the score at 1-0.
The second goal for Burnley did arrive and it was a Norwich player that scored the goal when Erik Pieters cross from the left-wing was turned in to Norwich's net by Ben Godfrey, to double the visitors lead.
Norwich nearly scored when a lump down fielded most of the Burnley players with Onel Hernandez running onto the ball. Hernandez shot into the ground with the ball looping over Pope to save, with a theatrical save pushing the shot wide.
Phil Bardsley went close in added-time from a corner with his shot rifling towards goal, only to be saved by Krul, with this effort the last note on a comfortable evening for Sean Dyche and his players as they secured a 15th clean sheet of the season and another top-half finish in the Premier League.
Man of the Match: Erik Pieters (BUR)
In this one-sided match between a Norwich side who look like they may never score a goal again, and a competent Burnley side who are one step closer to getting Nick Pope the Golden Glove award, Burnley found their best attacking flow down their left with Dwight McNeil and Erik Pieters both influential throughout. Pieters had the joy of getting forward from left-back at every turn, was full of energy and provided the decisive cross for Godfrey's own-goal to seal the match. Chris Wood also had a good outing, but Norwich did well to keep the attacker quiet in the second-half.
NOR 0-2 BUR - Insight and Analysis:
It took me a lot of effort to even want to watch this match, though kind of glad I got over the boredom of Norwich hosting Burnley, as the first-half red cards for Buendia and Drmic really added some flavour into what would have been a stale affair.
What's even better though, is that despite Norwich being down to 9-men for all of the second-half, both goals could have been avoided and this game *could* have been 0-0. Chris Wood's overhead kick was fine, but the ball hit his shin and Krul should have saved the effort. Godfrey's own-goal in the second was also avoidable but just a bad touch that his the central defender's knee and past Krul.
Burnley's full-backs were given free reign to advance with Bardsley and Pieters creating a lot of problems for Tim Krul from range, though aside from this it was a standard Burnley performance in which the only thing that mattered was the win.
Daniel Farke will be happy that his plan to put some damage limitation on the score largely worked as his side defended well and were confident on the ball in tight areas in their own defensive half. Had Burnley not have scored just before half-time though, I'm sure the second-half would have been more punishing on Norwich, with Dyche having the luxury of looking to protect Nick Pope's clean sheet without having to put too many men forward.
On the final day of the season, with Norwich travelling to Man City, we're predicting a heavy defeat at the Etihad for Farke's side, whilst I'll be surprised if there is a goal when Burnley host Brighton.
Venue: Carrow Road
Manager: Daniel Farke
GK: T. Krul
DEF: M. Aarons
DEF: B. Godfrey
DEF: T. Klose (Zimmermann 45')
DEF: J. Lewis
MID: A. Tettey (Vrancic 90+3')
MID: K. McLean
MID: E. Buendía (Red Card 35')
MID: Cantwell (Rupp 76')
MID: O. Hernández (Idah 86')
FOR: J. Drmic (Red Card 45+3')
Zimmermann, Rupp, Vrancic, Stiepermann, Pukki, McGovern, Idah, Famewo, Martin
Manager: Sean Dyche
GK: N. Pope
DEF: P. Bardsley
DEF: K. Long
DEF: J. Tarkowski
DEF: E. Pieters
MID: J. Gudmundsson (Brady 60')
MID: A. Westwood
MID: J. Brownhill
MID: D. McNeil
FOR: C. Wood (Vydra 79')
FOR: J. Rodriguez
Brady, Peacock-Farrell, Vydra, Thompson, Dunne, Benson, Goodridge, Driscoll-Glennon, Mumbongo
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