Norwich earned their first Premier League point of the season at the seventh attempt as they battled to a goalless draw at Burnley – but it could have been different had the hosts not seen all four of their first-half penalty appeals waved away.
Matej Vydra saw three shouts for a spot-kick go against him before he was subbed off injured on 35 minutes, with the first, from a collision with Tim Krul, perhaps the harshest decision against him. Soccer Saturday pundit Kris Boyd described it as a “stonewall penalty” on Sky Sports.
There were also two challenges from Grant Hanley on the Czech cleared by referee Kevin Friend and then VAR, while the officials rightly turned down a handball call against Norwich’s Dimitrios Giannoulis just before the break and correctly ignored Charlie Taylor’s tumble in the box in the second half.
There were half-chances for both sides after the break, with Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil failing to capitalise for the hosts, while Mathias Normann clipped the bar with a cross-shot and tested Nick Pope with a free-kick.
But ultimately, the game was further evidence of why both of these sides have failed to land a win in the Premier League so far this season, with Norwich bottom of the table and Burnley now 18th.
How it happened…
With the rain and wind whipping around Turf Moor, the stage was set for a hard-fought battle between two sides yet to score maximum points in the Premier League this season – and that’s exactly the way it played out, with five bookings dished out during the opening 45 minutes.
There were almost as many penalty appeals, too, with Krul escaping punishment for a punch from a free-kick which saw him clatter Vydra moments after connecting with the ball on 15 minutes.
- Burnley made two changes from their draw with Leicester last time out, with Maxwel Cornet missing with a hamstring injury and Ben Mee also coming out. Aaron Lennon and Nathan Collins stepped in.
- Norwich made one change from their defeat to Everton, with Dimitris Giannoulis replacing Brandon Williams in defence, and were again without Christoph Zimmermann and Todd Cantwell.
Soon after, Vydra went down again in the box, this time from a shove in the back from Hanley which was judged not to have been a foul by referee Friend.
The Burnley striker then saw a hat-trick of appeals waved away on the half-hour mark when he was tripped by Hanley as he ran onto a long ball, although that incident appeared to happen just outside the area.
Vydra was subbed off as a result of the physical treatment he’d had in the game but even with him back in the stands there was another VAR check in first-half stoppage time, this time Giannoulis cleared over handball appeals after he blocked a Matt Lowton shot.
Both keepers were forced into sharp stops at the start of the second half, with Krul pushing away a long-range effort from Dwight McNeil before Nick Pope saved a Mathias Normann free-kick from the edge of the area, following a remarkable end-to-end dribble from Norwich centre-back Ozan Kabak.
Good chances came and went at both ends, with a Rodriguez air-shot and muddled McNeil effort from close-range reprieving Norwich, either side of Normann’s cross-shot almost deceiving Pope and skimming the woodwork.
There was yet another Burnley penalty appeal on 73 minutes, when Charlie Taylor fell to the floor during a tussle in the box with Max Aarons, but Friend rightly refused the spot-kick on this occasion. He opted not to book Taylor for simulation but did show a yellow to Aarons for waving an imaginary card and calling for one.
Rodriguez and Lowton headed off target as Burnley pressed and pressed for a late breakthrough, but Norwich managed to hold out for their first point of the campaign.
Burnley go to Manchester City after the international break for a 3pm kick-off on Saturday October 16, while Norwich are next in action at home to Brighton at the same time.