Clarets refuse to crumble against top-flight elite
Five things we learned from the weekend football
1 No fear for Clarets against the big boys
Burnley maintained their terrific record at Turf Moor with a creditable 1-1 draw against 4-9 shots Chelsea and the result was no fluke.
The Clarets didn’t panic when they went 1-0 down early on against the leaders and, barring a 3-0 early-season defeat at Stamford Bridge, they have competed well against the top teams.
Liverpool, Everton and Southampton have all been beaten at Turf Moor while they lost by a one-goal margin at home and away to Arsenal and Manchester City. They also lost 2-1 at Tottenham and drew 0-0 at Manchester United and neither of those clubs will be looking forward to their April trips to Lancashire.
2 Potters know their place in the top flight
Stoke’s 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace wasn’t the most eye-catching result of the weekend but it extended the Potters’ impressive record against teams below them in the Premier League.
Stoke sit ninth in the table but just four of their 32 points have been earned in 11 games against the top eight.
Their record against sides in tenth or lower reads: P14 W8 D4 L2 and one of those defeats was the 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth in which Bojan Krkic missed a penalty.
Mark Hughes’s men rarely pull off a big-priced shock in the league but they look increasingly reliable in the less glamorous fixtures.
3 Tigers don’t look like getting tonked
Arsenal had plenty of luck in their 2-0 victory over Hull at the Emirates and backers of the Tigers to survive shouldn’t be too dispirited about their defeat in north London.
Alexis Sanchez’s hand provided the key touch for Arsenal’s first goal and the Chilean added an injury-time penalty but the Gunners rarely threatened in the second half.
New manager Marco Silva has done a remarkable job with Hull’s defence – in his five league games in charge they have conceded just five goals, including two penalties and Sanchez’s controversial opener.
That run includes away matches at Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as a 2-0 home win over Liverpool. Silva will hope to continue that defensive solidity in Hull’s next three fixtures: Burnley and Swansea at home and Leicester away.
4 More late pain for boys from Bristol
Derby battled back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Bristol City and shrewd in-play punters may well have anticipated the Robins’ second-half capitulation.
Lee Johnson’s side have struggled to close out games recently – their first two matches of 2017 ended in 3-2 defeats to Reading, who scored three times in the last 18 minutes, and Cardiff, who were trailing 2-1 with eight minutes of normal time left.
Before those reverses, City had lost to Ipswich (2-1), Wolves (3-2) and Preston (3-2) with their opponents’ winning goals coming in the 87th, 84th and 85th minutes.
Given that Derby made it 3-3 in the 81st minute, the real surprise is that the rocking Robins held on for a point.
5 Championship leaders grinding it out
Newcastle were made to work hard for the 1-0 win at Wolves which took them back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship and backing under the goals line in the Magpies’ away games has been a profitable strategy this term.
Rafa Benitez’s men have conceded just eight times in 15 road trips and only one of those games – the 6-0 win at QPR in September has featured over 3.5 goals.
Their other 14 away matches average 1.92 goals per game and the 8-15 title favourites seem content to grind out results away from St James’ Park.