Crystal Palace ended their eight-match winless streak with a dominant 2-0 victory at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Burnley’s torrid campaign took another turn for the worse.
James McArthur scored Palace’s first goal from open play at home this season before Andros Townsend secured the win with a fine goal 12 minutes from time.
Sean Dyche’s side, now with just a single point from their last six outings, may have finished seventh last season, but the Clarets are a team devoid of confidence and, on the evidence of their display here, relegation would appear a distinct possibility.
Their woes should take nothing away from Palace, who built on their deserved point at Old Trafford last weekend with a win that provides Roy Hodgson’s side breathing space from the bottom three.
Unchanged from their goalless draw against Manchester United, Palace were on the front foot from the opening exchanges.
Joe Hart was called into action after just 10 minutes when Max Meyer was allowed to cut in on his right foot before unleashing from 20 yards. The former England number one dived low to his left to tip Meyer’s effort round for a corner.
But just six minutes later Palace took the lead. It came via McArthur, whose cross-shot from the right-hand side crept in off Hart’s far post. Hart was distracted by Meyer’s ghosted run as the home supporters celebrated only Palace’s third goal at Selhurst Park this season, the other two coming from the penalty spot in a 2-2 draw against Arsenal.
Burnley’s success last season was built on a water-tight defence, but only Fulham have conceded more goals than Dyche’s side this term and Meyer nearly doubled the home side’s advantage before the interval when he was afforded far too much time in the area. His left-footed effort narrowly missed Hart’s far post.
Dyche will have expected a response from his players after the interval, but it never came as a rampant Palace continued to dominate.
Hart made his second fine stop of the afternoon when he kept out Wilfried Zaha’s shot from close range, while Zaha, a constant menace all afternoon, should have done better when he blazed over the crossbar moments later.
The chances continued to fall for Palace, and, on the hour mark, Luka Milivojevic screwed his mistimed shot wide when it looked easier to score.
Zaha then twisted and turned in the Burnley area before unleashing a shot, padded away by Hart. McArthur could have scored a second, only for Charlie Taylor’s sliding tackle to deny him, with Zaha then hitting the crossbar.
Hodgson looked to the heavens, perhaps fearing his side’s missed opportunities could come back to bite them, but Townsend made sure of the three points in spectacular fashion.
The winger latched on to Cheikhou Kouyate’s lofted ball forward into the right channel and then cut inside on his left foot. Burnley captain Ben Mee never got close to Townsend, who unleashed an unstoppable curling shot past a despairing Hart.
It was no more than Palace deserved for a result they hope will provide a turning point in their season.