Crystal Palace secured a confident 2-0 win against a disappointing Burnley side, taking all three points back to Selhurst Park and moving Palace into 11th in the Premier League.
This was the team’s first victory on the road since a 2-1 win at West Ham in early October.
Crystal Palace edged ahead just before the break with Wilfried Zaha’s goal. After a clunky first 45 minutes, Zaha was allowed to drive into the penalty box, and drill it past Nick Pope at his near post, stunning the Turf Moor crowd after what had been a largely uneventful first half.
Zaha, earning himself man of the match, made it two goals in two games after he bagged another against Liverpool last week.
Looking to improve on the poor first half performance, Burnley came out much stronger in the second. Despite their efforts they looked largely unconvincing going forward, with Chris Wood offering the Clarets their best opportunities to draw level.
Breaking through in the 57th minute by taking advantage of the gaping hole left behind by an injured Scott Dann, Wood was unable to convert his one on one with the keeper as he miskicked his shot wildly over the bar.
Then, just a minute and a half later, Wood was afforded another opportunity, but his header was cleared off the line; a testament to the defensive performance of Palace.
Palace’s ability to successfully turn the Burnley defenders around and force them to play towards their own goal was a key difference between the two sides.
It was this tactic that eventually led to the second goal.
In the 78th minute, substitute Jeffrey Schlupp capitalised on an uncharacteristic mistake by Burnley captain, Ben Mee. Facing the wrong way, Mee shanked his clearance high towards his own goal, only for it to be plucked from the sky, and swiftly driven low and hard between the helpless legs of Pope and into the net.
Burnley are still yet to win a game this season when they have conceded first. But the Clarets arguably played their best football in the final ten minutes of the match after they were already 2-0 down.
After failing to worry the Eagles keeper for most of the game, in the final minutes Vincente Guaita was forced into making not one but two goal-stopping saves.
First, a fantastic dive deep to his left to fend off of a glancing header from Cook, and then again, just minutes after, stopping the threat as a deflected cross nearly found its way to Jay Rodriquez en route to the goal, needing just a flick to steer it into the net.
Burnley manager, Sean Dyche, was “disappointed” with the performance at Turf Moor, however argued there wasn’t much between the two sides, saying: “The big moments in the match went for them and they didn’t go for us.”
Roy Hodgson, jovial after his side ended their run of 5 consecutive games without a win, said: “It’s a very good victory. We are very satisfied with the result and the performance. We are grateful for the three points but now we need to use this feeling going forwards.”
Crystal Palace next face Bournemouth at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.