Nine-man City implode in Burnley defeat
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Josip Drmic and Emi Buendia’s red cards in Norwich City’s 2-0 defeat to Burnley seemed to act as the perfect metaphor for their Premier League season.
As the curtains fell on a brutal top-flight home campaign for the Canaries, the two dismissals before half-time seemed to aptly sum up the season.
City were well in the game, perhaps even should have taken the lead through Ben Godfrey or Alex Tettey, before shooting themselves in the foot and capitulating. Stuart Webber spoke this week about how the Canaries had entered battle without arming themselves correctly, yet they still are still seemingly capable of finding a gun to turn onto themselves.
And even after the red card, there was still time for Godfrey to score an own goal when completely unopposed to add to the damage.
City had the first major chance when Buendia’s floated corner was met by the head of Godfrey - his fierce effort was saved well by ex-Ipswich Town trainee Nick Pope before Alex Tettey’s effort, which looked destined for the net, was deflected wide by James Tarkowski.
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Buendia saw red after a tussle between the Argentine and Clarets midfielder Westwood resulted in the Burnley player clutching his face after City’s playmaker raised his elbow. VAR placed the incident under the microscope and ruled that Buendia had purposefully flailed his arm in a spiteful manner.
In real time, the collision looked inconsequential and a simple coming together, only for VAR official Lee Mason to advise Friend to go to his monitor and decide for himself – resulting in Buendia’s dismissal.
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Dyche’s men took the initiative thereafter and had a flurry of chances whilst the Canaries licked their wounds. The closest they came was through Dwight McNeil’s free-kick, which deflected off Onel Hernandez and was heading goalwards. A stunning save from Tim Krul kept it out after the Dutch keeper was forced to change his direction of travel.
City were reduced to nine men on the stroke of half-time when Drmic recklessly lunged in on Erik Pieters after a heavy touch saw him lose possession.
To compound the Canaries misery and complete the implosion, the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time, Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s cross into the box made its way through to Chris Wood, who acrobatically sent the ball past Krul from close range.
Daniel Farke made one change to his side, with Buendia restored to the starting XI in place of Lukas Rupp – with striker Josip Drmic retaining his place despite intense criticism from a fraction of supporters for his recent form.
The Canaries received special dispensation from the Premier League to allow young defender Akin Famewo to be available for selection – he spent the second half of the season on-loan with Scottish outfit St Mirren. Towering centre-back Christoph Zimmermann was also named amongst the substitutes.
Sean Dyche was forced into changing his starting XI, with the injured Charlie Taylor replaced by Pieters. The Clarets were boosted by the return of winger Gudmundsson – with ex-City wideman Robbie Brady on the bench.
City’s boss opted to approach the second half strikerless, with the Canaries looking to absorb the pressure put on them by the Clarets before utilising the pace of Hernandez on the counter attack.
The second half became about damaged limitation for the hosts, with Burnley enjoying the lion’s share of possession. Jay Rodriguez went close with a volley but City were deploying two rigid banks of four to keep the Clarets at bay.
Burnley did double their lead in the closing embers of the fixture when Pieters cross was converted by Godfrey, whose miscontrol saw the ball fall into the bottom corner of the net. City’s season was beginning to descend into farce – even Shakespeare may have taken pity if he was sculpting a tragedy on their plight this season.
Hernandez nearly pulled a goal back for the hosts late on but, true to City’s luck this season, his deflected effort was clawed away by Pope.
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Klose (Zimmermann, 45), Godfrey, Lewis; Tettey (C) (Vrancic, 90+3), McLean; Buendia, Cantwell (Rupp, 76), Hernandez (Idah, 87); Drmic Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Stiepermann, Pukki, Famewo, Martin
- Red cards: Buendia (Violent conduct on Westwood, 35), Drmic (serious foul play, 45+2)
- Goals: None
- Burnley (4-4-2): Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski (C), Long, Pieters; Gudmundsson (Brady, 60), Brownhill, Westwood, McNeil; Wood (Vydra, 79), Rodriguez. Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell (GK), Thompson, Dunne, Benson, Goodridge, Driscoll-Glennon, Mumbonga.
- Goals: Wood 45+4, Godfrey 80 (o.g)
- Added on time: 3 mins/ 4 mins
- Referee: Kevin Friend
- VAR: Lee Mason