Bottom of the table Norwich City beat fellow relegation strugglers Burnley 2-0 at Carrow Road to give themselves a glimmer of hope of safety in the Premier League this season.
With both teams fighting for survival and favourites for the drop, the game lacked much in the way of quality. But with just 10 minutes gone, French Midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou gave the home side the lead courtesy of his deflected effort taking it past keeper Nick Pope just outside the 18-yeard box.
Burnley, who beat Everton 3-2 on Wednesday in a big relegation clash, failed to capitalise on their recent victory and despite a number of nearly moments in the first half, couldn’t find a way past Tim Krul.
Cornet did produce an impressive save from Krul at the other end midway through the half as the game produced an end-to-end flow, with Premier League survival increasingly at stake.
The potential turning point came at the end of the first half but Norwich courageously blocked three attempts at goal to maintain their one-goal advantage.Embed from Getty Images
Sean Dyche’s side did get better in the second half and had a glorious chance to level the score when substitute Dwight McNeil drilled a cross into the on-running Maxwell Cornet, but the Ivorian somehow blazed the ball over from a couple of yards out.
It proved to be a vital miss as with 5 minutes left to play, Canaries talisman Teemu Pukki sealed the victory for Dean Smith’s team after poor defending from the Burnley backline gave the Finish international all the space he needed to slot the ball past Pope in the Clarets goal.
Sunday afternoon’s win puts the East Anglian outfit 7 points away from safety with 7 games left to play after Everton claimed a huge 1-0 victory over top-four hopefuls Manchester United on Saturday Lunchtime.Embed from Getty Images
Although survival looks nearly impossible, Head Coach Dean Smith will hope that his side can build some form of momentum if they are to pull off the unthinkable and maintain their Premier League status this season. Having been something of a yoyo side in recent years, it’s no surprise that the Canaries are facing relegation yet again as they struggle to create the quality needed to sustain long-term Premier League survival.
With relegation looming ahead despite the victory, Deam Smith will be reviewing his squad for next season and if they do play Championship football again next season, Dean Smith will want to refresh his squad in order to challenge for promotion back to England’s top flight next season.
For Sean Dyche and his players, they’ll feel bitterly disappointed with this defeat as a victory today could’ve put them within one point of Everton and put more pressure on manager Frank Lampard. Instead, they sit four points from safety after blowing a big opportunity this afternoon and having played the same amount of games as the Toffees with eight matches left to go for both teams.
Dyche’s Burnley side have never been pretty on the eye but they’ve managed to stay up every season since their promotion to the Premier League in 2016. But this season hasn’t gone to plan like previous campaigns and although the heart and desire of the players aren’t in question, their lack of quality might finally be their undoing and condemn them to relegation after years of battling the drop.