Emi Buendia and Josip Drmic were both given their marching orders for unnecessary actions and it condemned Norwich City to an almost inevitable defeat. A miserable evening for them.
The relegated outfit brought Buendia back into the fold with Lukas Rupp dropped to the bench. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t the best decision!
It was a bright start from the Canaries who were popping the ball around with confidence.
Godfrey forced Nick Pope into a smart save with a point-blank header and there was a growing sense of optimism about Daniel Farke’s team. Of course, that optimism was quickly dashed due to an act of stupidity from one of their star men.
Buendia didn’t take kindly to a tussle in the middle of the park with Ashley Westwood. The Argentine swung his elbow in the direction of the Burnley man and, although contact was minimal, referee Kevin Friend felt he had little choice but to send the midfielder off.
Drmic launched into a full blooded challenge on Erik Pieters. Again, contact was minimal, but the intent from Drmic was enough for Friend to brandish a second red card. It doesn’t just rain for Norwich, at the moment, and things quickly became worse once again.
The Canaries made a mess of dealing with a hopeful long pass and the ball fell to Gudmundsson. He played a cross into Wood and the New Zealand international improvised a bicycle kick towards goal. The ball came off Wood’s shin and spun past the dive of Krul. Advantage to the visitors.
In fairness to Farke’s men, they put up a strong wall of resilience after the break.
Christoph Zimmermann came on for Tim Klose and made a series of excellent blocks.
Eventually, however, Burnley’s territorial advantage paid off.
The lively Pieters fizzed a delivery into the box and Godfrey inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net. It was harsh on Godfrey who had defended resiliently for the most part but it was nothing but sloppiness. Game over!
Norwich City: Krul 8; Aarons 7, Klose 6, Godfrey 6, Lewis 7; McLean 6, Tettey 6; Buendia 2, Cantwell 6, Hernandez 6; Drmic 2.
Subs used: Zimmermann 7, Rupp 6, Idah n/a, Vrancic n/a.
Burnley: Pope 7; Bardsley 7, Long 6, Tarkowski 6, Pieters 8; Gudmundsson 7, Westwood 7, Brownhill 7, McNeil 6; Rodriguez 7, Wood 7.
Subs used: Brady 6, Vydra 6.
Tim Krul: A fine performance from the veteran stopper. Perhaps he could have done better with Wood's opener but he more than made amends a string of fine saves in the second half.
Erik Pieters: A very attacking performance from the left-back. He was playing like a winger at times and his fizzing delivery was the catalyst for Godfrey's own goal.
Story of the season for Norwich
Jamal Lewis powered down the left and won a corner within the first minute. It was a sign that Norwich were determined to go out of this league with a bang. As it was, that initial intent began to fizzle out and then, suddenly, they found themselves down to nine men!
There has been plenty to marvel at with Norwich, this season, but they have been massively lacking experience and know-how. This is a fresh faced squad that are swimming with sharks. Another season of Championship football with do the world of good to a lot of these players. A season to fine tune their game and come back as mentally stronger individuals.
Unbeaten stretch continues
That victory means that Burnley haven't lost in seven Premier League matches. The Clarets had been on an eight game unbeaten streak before the restart. It goes to show that 2020 has been a good year for some people!
These surges of form owe a lot to the players' respect for Dyche. His style of play can be quite taxing and it requires personnel to be 100% behind those ideas. Even with the skeletal squad, players have dug deep and fought hard to pick up points. What’s impressive is that there has been very little to play for, of late, with survival all but wrapped up before the season restart.
If there was ever an indicator that the players want their manager to stay then this has most certainly been it. They have put together some superb performances amid all of the adversity, including a stunning point at Anfield.
On the prospect of Pope getting the Golden Glove, Wood gleefully declared, “We’ll be fighting like hell for him, he’s the best in the country.” These players have been going to war in every single match and they have that quote is indicative of the togetherness that this squad has.
Norwich take on high-flying Manchester City at the Etihad while Burnley welcome Brighton and Hove Albion. Both games will kick-off at 16.00 on July 26.