Norwich 0-2 Burnley
- Goals: Chris Wood (£6.1m)
- Own Goals: Ben Godfrey (£4.4m)
- Assists: Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.9m), Erik Pieters (£4.2m)
- Red Cards: Emi Buendía (£6.0m), Josip Drmic (£5.3m)
- Bonus Points: Pieters x3, Phil Bardsley x2 (£4.3m), Wood x1
Two red cards for Norwich were perhaps the key factors in Burnley’s attacking assets leaving a little to be desired by their respective Fantasy managers in Gameweek 37+.
The favourable meeting with the Canaries sparked interest players such as Chris Wood (£6.1m), Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m) and Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) in the lead-up to Saturday’s match but the New Zealand international was the only one from that trio to come away with any attacking returns.
In bizarre circumstances, Norwich found themselves reduced to nine men before half-time, thanks to recklessness shown by Emi Buendía (£6.0m) and Josip Drmic (£5.3m).
Their sendings off made this the first Premier League game to see a side suffer two red cards in the first half since 2015, highlighting how much of an enigma the opening match of Gameweek 37+ proved to be.
As a result of the man disadvantage, Daniel Farke’s men lined themselves up in exceptionally compact formation for the second half, effectively lined-up in two banks of four with no striker, in a 4-4-0 formation. That left Tim Krul (£4.6m) to do what he does best, producing seven saves across the 90 minutes.
“You know it’s going to happen. They just went to two banks of four and defended their box very well.” – Chris Wood
That obviously made it harder for Burnley to capitalise on the red cards, much to the frustration of those who had backed the Clarets hoping for more explosive hauls.
There will be some that say the freak nature of the 90 minutes makes it hard to take too many FPL lessons from, but there were a few nuggets worth analysing.
Firstly, this game highlighted once again that Wood is the clear aerial threat for Burnley and the most likely to get on the end of crosses into the box.
We chose him for the Gameweek 37+ Scout Picks on the basis that Norwich had recently been susceptible to headed attempts on goal. He may not have chosen to attack Johann Berg Gudmundsson‘s (£5.9m) first-half cross with his head, but netting it with a bicycle still demonstrates what Wood is capable of in the air.
“There was a chance he would miss all the games, so he’s done ever so well to get back out there.” – Sean Dyche
That will be encouraging for those who brought the Burnley forward in for Gameweek 37+ as he may also be useful on the final day of the season.
The Clarets face Brighton next Sunday who, between Gameweeks 30+ and 36+ conceded 23 headed attempts, third only to Norwich and Newcastle.
Those who invested in Rodriguez can certainly consider themselves unlucky not to see him come away from Carrow Road with a decent haul as his blank was not for want of trying.
In the 20th minute, the former Southampton man cut through the middle, after good hold-up play from Wood, before slicing wide.
Rodriguez then fired a powerful shot at Krul in the 38th minute, only to see the goalkeeper meet it with another good save. Had it gone in, Wood would have been credited with the assist.
Just after the hour-mark, Rodriguez nipped in at the front post to get on the end of an Ashley Westwood (£5.5m) corner, Krul on hand to make another instinctive stop.
His final opportunity came in the 83rd minute when an intricate piece of passing play set Rodriguez up on the edge of the box. He curled a high effort towards goal that looked destined for the net, but the Krul stretched sufficiently to catch it.
McNeil also had opportunities to get involved in the goals and his owners will also be cursing Krul’s heroic efforts to keep the score respectable at Carrow Road.
The young winger had Burnley’s first real chance of the game as he dropped the shoulder to lose Buendía in the middle, drove forward but fired over the bar.
He went a lot closer in the 41st minute when won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Despite his tender age, McNeil assumed responsibility for it, his direct effort deflecting off the wall and forcing a palmed save from Krul, produced as he fell to the ground from the power.
However, this match highlighted perfectly how difficult it is to pinpoint the assisters for Burnley. Wood looks central to their cross-heavy tactic, while McNeil is one of three players who provide the service. Gudmundsson’s return to the team on the right flank was the reason Wood found the net, while Westwood’s set-piece duties also make him another source of crosses.
Nick Pope (£5.1m) owners could not be displeased with what they saw on Saturday evening, as Burnley helped him achieve a 15th clean sheet of the campaign.
They might have been a little miffed that the Clarets’ shot-stopper was just one save short of an additional point, but against a Norwich side that has not troubled anyone since the restart, nobody was really expecting more than the standard total of six.
His owners would have been likely to start Pope again in Gameweek 38+ anyway but there were some interesting post-match quotes from Wood, who acknowledged that the entire Burnley squad is aware of how close he is to getting a hand on the Premier League’s Golden Glove award.
With that in mind, he made a empassioned commitment to helping Pope get another clean sheet in Gameweek 38+ when Brighton come to Turf Moor. With little left riding on that game other than Pope’s chances of winning that award, could we potentially see an even more defensive-minded performance next Sunday?
“As a team, we’ll be fighting like hell for him. He’s an outstanding goalkeeper. Hopefully, we can get him one more so he can get his hands on the Golden Glove.” – Chris Wood
If that were to be the case, Erik Pieters (£4.2m) could be a budget differential to consider on the final day of the campaign.
He came away from the Norwich game with a double-figure score having kept a clean sheet, providing an assist for Ben Godfrey‘s (£4.4m) own goal and securing all three bonus points.
Despite Gudmundsson reclaiming his station on the right of midfield, Pieters was able to keep his place in the team following Charlie Taylor‘s (£4.4m) hamstring injury and is likely to be in consideration for the left-back berth once again in Gameweek 38+.
Recent outings in midfield had clearly inspired Pieters ahead of this Norwich game, as he ventured forward to provide width, especially in the second half, going close to scoring himself just after the interval.
Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Lewis, Klose (Zimmermann 46′), Godfrey, Aarons; Tettey (Vrančić 90+3′), McLean; O Hernández (Idah 86′), Buendía, Cantwell (Rupp 76′); Drmic.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Pieters, K Long, Tarkowski, Bardsley; McNeil, Westwood, Brownhill, Gudmundsson (Brady 59′); Wood (78′), Rodriguez.
FPL Lessons Learned From Gameweek 37+
- Norwich City 0-2 Burnley
- Bournemouth 0-2 Southampton
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Newcastle United
- Sheffield United 0-1 Everton
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Watford 0-4 Manchester City
- Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal
- Manchester United 1-1 West Ham United
- Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea