Five-star Burnley crush Sheffield United at Turf Moor
By Ian Parker, PA
Burnley ended their wait for a Premier League home win in style with a 5-0 rout of fellow strugglers Sheffield United, climbing off the foot of the table and piling pressure on Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom.
Jay Rodriguez needed just 15 seconds to head Vincent Kompany’s side in front and Jacob Bruun Larsen doubled the lead in the 28th minute, with United ending the first half a man down after Oli McBurnie collected two petulant yellow cards in quick succession.
More pain followed for United in the second half as Zeki Amdouni and Luca Koleosho scored two in the space of three minutes before Josh Brownhill added a fifth, giving Burnley their biggest ever Premier League win.
No English league club had ever opened a season with eight home defeats and Burnley could not afford to set that record against a United side who began the day one point better off, with these two starting the day first and second in terms of the worst starts to a Premier League season by promoted sides.
Both Burnley’s wins to date have come against teams promoted alongside them in the summer, but after encouraging displays against Crystal Palace and West Ham, three points offer tangible reward for improving performances.
For United it was another chastening day, the pain of defeat increased by the loss of McBurnie to a needless suspension. There was no sign of the sort of quality that will be needed to get them out of trouble.
Burnley scored the opener with a move straight from kick-off. James Trafford punted the ball forward, Amdouni shifted it to the left and Charlie Taylor whipped in a first-time cross for Rodriguez to head home.
It was the quickest Premier League goal of the season, and made Rodriguez the first player in the league’s history to score in the opening 15 seconds of two separate games, 10 years and one day after he pounced for Southampton against Chelsea.
Burnley doubled their lead when Bruun Larsen got in front of Luke Thomas to reach Dara O’Shea’s long ball, cutting in off the right before passing the ball under the despairing dive of Wes Foderingham.
United’s frustrations soon surfaced. McBurnie, back in the starting 11 after scoring the late consolation in last week’s home defeat to Bournemouth, was lucky to only see yellow for catching O’Shea with an elbow in the 36th minute, leaving Kompany livid on the sideline.
Moments later O’Shea caught McBurnie, who delivered enough theatrics to ensure his counterpart also saw yellow, and Kompany joined both players in the book for his remonstrations.
More was to follow and when McBurnie caught O’Shea with an arm once again in first-half stoppage time, he earned a second yellow card and a head start on the trudge to the dressing room.
Heckingbottom, already forced into one substitution due to an injury for George Baldock, made a triple change at the break as Benie Traore, James McAtee and William Osula came on for Thomas, John Fleck and Cameron Archer.
It meant only half United’s outfield players that started the match were still on for the start of the second half. But it did little to change United’s fortunes and the floodgates opened after the 73rd minute.
Burnley’s third came when United failed to clear a corner and Jordan Beyer headed the ball down for Amdouni to spring between Jack Robinson and Anel Ahmedhodzic before playing the ball beyond Foderingham.
Moments later Koleosho cracked a shot off the crossbar when Foderingham could only parry Amdouni’s shot, but the teenager was soon celebrating his first Premier League goal as he shrugged off a challenge and beat the goalkeeper at his near post.
Brownhill rifled in the fifth from the edge of the box with 10 minutes to go.