Burnley emphatically got their first points of the season after drubbing Bournemouth 4-0 at Turf Moor.
The Clarets have had a tough start to the season, juggling Europa League commitments and the Premier League with a limited squad had seen them pointless up until now.
The game was effectively put to bed thanks to two goals in quick succession from Matej Vydra and Aaron Lennon respectively.
Both teams started brightly with the in-form Ryan Fraser for Bournemouth looking especially dangerous.
Bournemouth started supplying dangerous balls into the area, mostly trying to find Callum Wilson. The forward, however, could not convert any of his chances at what was the start of a frustrating afternoon for both him and his Bournemouth teammates.
It took until the 38th minute for Burnley to get off the mark. Asmir Begovic made a great double save from Ashley Westwood but could not stop Vydra’s powerful shot from going in. This was last season’s Championship top scorer’s first goal for Burnley.
Sean Dyche will be hoping his new £11 million signing will re-find some of his old form if they want to crawl their way back up the table.
This was the first time Burnley have led in the league all season. They doubled their advantage only a few minutes later when Aaron Lennon latched onto a cross from Johann Berg Gudmundsson and poked it home. Credit should go to Sam Vokes who intelligently dragged the Bournemouth defenders out of position allowing Lennon to sneak in unnoticed.
This was very much a game of missed opportunities for Bournemouth. For large swathes of the match they went toe to toe with Burnley and created good chances, yet could not find the wherewithal to finish them.
The game slowed down quite dramatically in the second half as Bournemouth went into damage limitation mode and Burnley ensured they would not let their lead slip.
Ashley Barnes came off the bench with two late goals to add some gloss to the scoreline. He first hit in Gudmundsson’s rebounded shot before stroking the ball in from the edge of the penalty area.
It can’t be said this was an unfair representation of the match though. Burnley fully deserved their victory here today whilst Bournemouth go home with their tail between their legs after a lacklustre and worrying display.
The fog has lifted
Earlier this week Sean Dyche spoke of a fog surrounding his players as they endured a torrid start to the season. Today Burnley looked back to their best. Organised, efficient football with flashes of individual quality in attack and gritty perseverance from the defence.
After today’s performance, the fog has well truly cleared and Dyche will look to put the poor start to the season behind them.
After playing Burton in the League Cup their next two fixtures are against Cardiff and Huddersfield. Win these games and suddenly Burnley should find themselves amongst it in the bloated middle of the Premier League.
English players hit and miss
A certain Gareth Southgate was in the stands at Turf Moor this afternoon scouting the English talent on display. There have been calls for Callum Wilson to gain a call-up but he did not cover himself in glory today, missing a host of chances and eventually getting pulled off.
Ben Mee and James Tarkowski were particularly impressive at centre-back for Burnley whilst – whisper it quietly – Joe Hart had yet another solid performance for his new club.
Bournemouth will be OK in the end
Bournemouth came into this game sitting 5th in the league. Their strong start to the season has been slightly overshadowed by Watford’s, yet Eddie Howe is quietly doing a fantastic job down on the south coast.
Today’s performance was obviously not good enough, and Bournemouth are the sort of team who are wont to go on extreme runs of poor form, followed by an equally extreme run of the opposite. They have more than enough talent in their squad and a top-class manager in Eddie Howe to keep them safe from relegation. The question is however, where do they go from here?