Crystal Palace sink 10-man Burnley to give Oliver Glasner winning start

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Chris Richards;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Chris Richards</a> scores <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Crystal Palace;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Crystal Palace</a>’s first goal against Burnley </span><span>Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images</span>

Crystal Palace stood in the darkness, staring at the horizon. Would there ever be a glimmer of light? Would black ever ease to grey? For a long time, it did not, but when dawn did at last arrive, it blazed suddenly into a glorious morning. It may all have felt slightly unreal, but after the persistent gloom of the past few months, few at Palace will care.

After a run of three wins in the last 20 games, there’s no sense in quibbling too much about Palace’s biggest home league win since April 2022. But, equally, there has to be some context: Palace will face few sides who collapse quite as abjectly as Burnley did and, for a long time, the prospect of Oliver Glasner beginning his reign with a comfortable victory seemed distant.

Without Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, Palace simply aren’t a creative side but they still had more than enough to overcome a limp Burnley who are now eight points from safety and surely doomed.

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Palace, eight points clear of the relegation zone and with two of the sides below them facing potential points deductions, should be safe. “It’s much more important the way we played,” said Glasner. “It was a good performance but we see many things we can improve.”

The goals did eventually arrive, although the 33 minutes between Josh Brownhill’s red card and Chris Richards’s opener were evidence of the limitations of this squad. Two goals in 11 minutes – Jordan Ayew’s fourth of the season and a penalty from Jean-Philippe Mateta – then added gloss. Glasner insisted he had never doubted the breakthrough would come. “The message at half-time was to stay patient, keep the balance in the game and then we would create the chances to score,” he said.

At the final whistle Vincent Kompany made a point of approaching the Burnley fans. “It’s easy to go and give fist bumps when you’re winning 12 games in a row,” he said. “Now in a tough time you have to face up. It’s just a sign of respect. If I was a fan after a defeat and the players run off, maybe I’d take it even worse.”

Sam Allardyce, Frank de Boer, Roy Hodgson, Patrick Vieira, Roy Hodgson, Oliver Glasner … the pattern has been clear for Palace as they’ve alternated between the stolidly English and the excitingly continental. But this plunge into the bold waters of foreign sophistication may be less of a gamble than the previous two dips. De Boer had succeeded in the idiosyncratic environment of Ajax before failing at Internazionale, while Vieira’s time at Nice was mixed.

Glasner, though, has had consistent success at Lask, Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt, elevating mid-table clubs to challenge at the fringes of the elite – which, frankly, sounds just the thing for fanbase chafing at the ennui of merely existing in the Premier League.

For all their early control of possession, Palace created very few clearcut chances. But against Burnley this season all you have to do is wait. Ten minutes before the break, James Trafford’s ill-conceived pass – as Glasner pointed out, to an extent forced by Palace’s press – was intercepted by Jefferson Lerma, who was then hauled down by a panicking Brownhill. The red card was obvious; “Something we couldn’t afford,” said Kompany.

Glasner insisted he had no input into the team selection for Monday’s 1-1 draw at Everton, which makes it remarkable that Palace adopted the very 3-4-2-1 shape he preferred for much of his time at Eintracht, the first time Palace had deployed a back three in the league since August 2022. It was a 3-4-2-1 again and what was notable was how Lerma and Ayew thrived in it, relishing the freedom to interchange.

Ayew found Richards unmarked at the back post to break the deadlock with a header, and then he arrived at the back post to knock in Matheus França’s cross. França, signed for £16m from Flamengo in the summer, has barely played since, but it was his run that led to a harsh penalty decision against Vitinho and Palace’s third.

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It was a necessary win rather than a particularly impressive one, but nobody would disdain a 3-0 victory in their opening game. The Glasner era is up and running.