Bournemouth take big step towards Premier League survival and pile misery onto Burnley

Justin Kluivert - Bournemouth take big step towards Premier League survival and pile misery onto Burnley

Of course Andoni Iraola would not concede it, but goals from Justin Kluivert and Antoine Semenyo surely guaranteed his Bournemouth team another season of Premier League football next year while nudging Burnley in the opposite direction.

The visitors ended a run of seven games without a win, dating back to Boxing Day, with a performance that opened up an 11-point cushion to the bottom three, ahead of a favourable upcoming fixture list for Iraola’s team.

Sheffield United, Luton twice, Crystal Palace and Everton make up Bournemouth’s next five games and, while Iraola will not be doing so, his supporters will be dreaming of matching the ninth-place finish achieved under Eddie Howe in 2017, rather than looking at the foot of the table.

“No, I don’t think it is enough,” said Iraola. “I’m satisfied with the situation we have, the gap of 11 points is very good but we still need more wins. I feel Luton, for example, they have very good spirit, they fight every game and they can make a good run.

“Our performance will determine where we are looking because we play Luton twice this month, it could be dangerous also because you lose, they take six points; you win, you say, ‘OK, that’s it’.”

Vincent Kompany, similarly, is in no mood to concede anything at this stage, although with every passing week, escaping the pull of the bottom three and a return to the Championship looks near impossible – a point not lost on the supporters who greeted the final whistle with a smattering of boos.

Vincent Kompany - Bournemouth take big step towards Premier League survival and pile misery onto Burnley
Vincent Kompany appears helpless to arrest Burnley's fight against relegation - Getty Images/Robin Jones

“That’s after every defeat, at every club, believe me,” said Kompany. “I remember watching a game at [Manchester] City, after they had won the treble, and at half-time they were getting booed because they weren’t playing well!

“As long as the fans are there from the start, which they were, that’s part of the things you have to deal with.”

Kompany also had a grumble about a perceived lack of consistency in refereeing, which saw Josh Cullen’s second-half “equaliser” ruled out for a push by Charlie Taylor, although, to the manager’s credit, he did not use it as an excuse for his team’s 11th home defeat in 14 games this season.

Not for the first time in an increasingly dismal season, Burnley played with plenty of energy and produced moments of real threat. But their inability to perform even the most rudimentary of defensive tasks – surprising, given the identity of their manager – would again be their undoing on 13 minutes, when they conceded from the first Bournemouth attack of the game.

Having failed to deal with a long kick forward from keeper Neto, the home defence was split by Lewis Cook’s through ball, with Kluivert shrugging aside Dara O’Shea, then checking past the defender before burying an unstoppable shot.

Burnley had lost 18 of their previous 19 Premier League games in which they had conceded first, although at least they showed signs of determination to end that dismal run.

In the dying minutes of the first half, David Datro Fofana bore down on goal before being blocked by Neto, with Adam Smith putting himself in the way of Jacob Bruun Larsen’s follow-up.

And, in injury-time, Larsen’s free-kick, from the edge of the Bournemouth area, drew a spectacular flying save from Neto who, moments later, watched relieved as Vitinho headed over, unmarked, from six yards out.

Dominic Solanke, Marcus Tavernier and Semenyo might all have extended Bournemouth’s lead, as Burnley’s already out-classed defence became ever more stretched as the game progressed.

Semenyo, finally, claimed the goal that he and Bournemouth deserved two minutes from time, when he chased Cook’s long ball, cut into the Burnley area and scored via a deflection off defender Taylor.