Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley: Vicente Guaita clanger gifts Clarets victory and leaves Sean Dyche’s side firmly in race for Europa League qualification as Eagles keeper spills in Ben Mee header
- Guaita tipped Ben Mee’s header into his own goal to gift Burnley narrow victory
- Jordan Ayew was lucky to stay on the pitch for an elbow on Josh Brownhill
- Crystal Palace put Burnley under pressure in second half but couldn’t find a goal
- Sean Dyche’s side were well organised and diligent in possession throughout
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Sean Dyche rocked up at Selhurst Park with three goalkeepers and by the time he left again it was a point of debate over whether he needed any of them.
Not because it was a stroll – Crystal Palace are better than that. But it was deeply impressive in the sense that Burnley turned up at ground that had seen four home wins in seven, withstood a closing 15 minutes of quite horrible pressure, and then departed without having faced a shot of substance.
Aside from attempts in the frenzy of stoppage time by Patrick Van Aanholt and Gary Cahill, only the first of which brought any degree of difficulty, Nick Pope had a pleasant and quiet evening.
Ben Mee’s second half header gave Burnley a narrow 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Monday
Guaita tipped Mee’s header onto the post and into his own net to gift the visitors victory
Jordan Ayew was lucky to stay on the pitch after flooring Josh Brownhill with a stray elbow
And so Palace were ripe for the taking, to which Burnley obliged. Ben Mee did the trick, heading the winner in the second half of a fairly tedious match. Coming in his 300th match, and along with a wider performance of great robustness at the back, it showed Mee’s immense value to this side. But beyond that, the win came covered in Dyche’s fingerprints.
Firstly for the engineering of a team when his squad was depleted to the extent that he could fill only seven of nine substitute spots for the seventh time in nine. And secondly for the commitment of players who know there is a fight to keep a manager whose employers have driven him to frustration. They are fighting for Dyche; it seems plainly obvious that the hierarchy should do the same for a man who has taken them to eighth, with only one defeat in 10. He surely deserves a chance to see what he might do if they broaden the tight boundaries of their ambition.
Palace 0-1 Burnley
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Guiata; Van Aanholt, Cahill, Dann, Ward; Townsend (Meyer 77), Milivojevic, McArthur, Kouyate (McCarthy 45), Zaha, Ayew
Unused subs: Hennessy, Sakho, Woods, Tavares, Mitchell, Pierrick, Riedewald
Burnley (4-4-1-1): Pope; Taylor, Tarkowski, Mee, Bardsley; Pieters, Cork (Long 70), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeill, Vydra
Unused subs: Peacock-Farrell, Thompson, Dunne, Thomas, Jensen, Goodridge
Referee: Simon Hooper
To think, even on the occasion of this match, he was facing setbacks before kick-off.
Jay Rodriguez, who scored the winner and then bruised an ankle against Watford, failed a late assessment on his fitness and left Dyche with a hole in his attack. Dwight McNeil came across from left wing to fill the spot behind Matej Vydra in a tweaked system and the recalls for Erik Pieters and Phil Bardsley in place of Rodriguez and Matthew Lowton left those two empty seats on the bench. With two goalkeepers among his substitutes, it is far easier to see Dyche’s point than any counter-argument from the club.
Hodgson had better fortune with his pre-match problems. He had doubts over each of Vicente Guaita, Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke and of those only Benteke did not come through. Not that it amounted to much of a start by Palace. Aside from a free-kick by Luka Milivojevic that went high over the bar, they were on the low side of possession and chances for the majority of the first half.
Burnley’s best bits all came through McNeil. He fluffed one early chance by launching high of the target, but in a restarted season that has seen a lack of energy across the cartels, he is an endearing and enduring source of fizz.
This was one of those matches where his desire to take on the nearest man was at its most relentless and regularly he pulled it off. One 40-yard run and shot, starting with a swerve to beat Milivojevic, was the highlight of the first half. As a target for Manchester United, he stands as a fair riposte to those lazy and persistent suggestions that Dyche only has eyes for the strong and sturdy.
Dwight McNeil impressed with several driving runs from a No 10 role at Selhurst Park
Nick Pope was one of three goalkeepers in Burnley’s squad but was rarely called upon
Ayew wasted Palace’s best chance in the second half when he headed over Zaha’s cross
Hodgson’s attempt to take more control of the middle saw James McCarthy brought on at the break for Cheikhou Kouyate, and for a time it seemed effective, albeit helped by a significant reprieve for Jordan Ayew, who seemed to catch Josh Brownhill in the face with his forearm. The incident was referred to VAR and Ayew was cleared. Lucky? It looked that way.
Gary Cahill had a chance to build on that decision when he was played in by Ayew in the scramble following a set-piece, but 15 yards from goal he side-footed to Nick Pope. With Palace’s pressure increasing, James Tarkowski fouled Ayew on the edge of Burnley’s area and Milivojevic botched a second free-kick from a promising position.
That was the moment on which the game turned. A moment later, McNeill was fouled by McCarthy and Ashley Westwood dropped a delivery into Mee’s path. The diving header was well executed but Guaita should have done better.
Dyche looked quite delighted.
A delighted Sean Dyche saw his side move into eighth place in the Premier League table