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The long trip to Norfolk proved to be a fruitful one with the Clarets coming home with another three points after this resounding 3-0 win against Norwich City at Carrow Road which brought us our third double in what is becoming the most incredible of seasons.

An early Anass Zaroury goal, superbly assisted by home goalkeeper Tim Krul, was followed by two second half goals scored by substitute Vitinho and debutant Hjalmar Ekdal on an afternoon that had the fans in the away section drooling at our eighth away win and arguably one of the best.

I suggested this one is a long trip. We do go further in mileage to some games but I’ve always felt I must be out of the country by the time I’ve reached Norwich, given how long it takes. It felt even longer because of the kick off time, meaning I was triggered into life, or as close as I ever get to that state, around 4 a.m. with the sound of my alarm.

It was coach again for me this week, as was the case for Ipswich a week earlier. There was an early mention of the location of Norwich. Of course, we know where it is, but I saw a reference a couple of days earlier on social media that it was in the South East. East, undoubtedly but I was not so sure of the south bit. The short debate ended with a quick look at a map which actually shows that it’s further north than Birmingham.

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The main debate centred on the potential team news. We knew there were players going to be missing such as Jack Cork (suspended) along with injured trio Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Manuel Benson and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson but the rumours flying around, again on social media, was that many other players were out including both Arijanet Muric and Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

“Charlie Casper’s in goal,” was one comment I’d seen. Imagine if he had played and kept a clean sheet, what a story that would have been, making his debut on the very same ground where his granddad Frank played his last ever game just over 47 years go which was our first game under new manager Joe Brown. Some Burnley fans had a banner that day proclaiming “We won’t go down, we’ve got Joe Brown”, but sadly we did go down with Joe Brown.

As for yesterday, we’d reached Norwich long before the team news was released and when it was, “Ameen Al-Dakhi’s first start for the Clarets”, was the headline from the club. I was baffled to be honest given he’d already played at Ipswich. I was even further# baffled when his name didn’t appear on the team list or among the substituted.

The debutant was Ekdal who was lining up in a side that didn’t look to be without too many players. Muric wasn’t there but Peacock-Farrell was in goal. Casper was on the bench. Jay Rodriguez wasn’t there but Guðmundsson was back and the team looked far stronger than we dared hope with a bench that not lacking either. Norwich were unchanged from the team that had hit both Preston and Coventry for four on their travels in David Wagner’s first two league games as manager.

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Neither was our start to the game. We set off superbly and could have been in front with no more than two or three minutes gone. Kenny McLean gave the ball away to Nathan Tella who was through on  goal. His shot was beating Krul but Grant Hanley got across to get in a block. Hanley once said he would never play for Burnley. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for that.

Burnley were looking to get Zaroury involved and first Ashley Barnes and then Guðmundsson found him with outstanding cross field passes from the right. ,The second of those led to the opening goal although it didn’t immediately look as though it would when Zaroury played it back in for Ian Maatsen who shot just wide.

It was, rightly, a Norwich goal kick and I suppose there is some excuse, when watching the game, to switch off for a few seconds at such a point. I did, and needed a quick alert to what was going to happen next. Sky television, apparently, took the opportunity to show a replay of the move that had led to the goal kick and did miss what happen next. Krul, with an inch perfect pass, found Zaroury who said thanks and hit a right footed shot into the net with the aforementioned Hanley on the line but unable to do anything about it.

This had been a terrific start for the Clarets and had we just been able to add another goal, we’d have seen Norwich off very quickly. It didn’t come and they did get back into the game to some extent although, generally, we did always look in control.

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There was one concerning moment when Teemu Pukki got clear to the left of goal. His ball in found Kieran Dowell but Peacock-Farrell got a foot to his shot and out for a corner. Then, with half time approaching, Hanley headed way over the bar. Twice, at the other end, Krul could only parry shots away from Guðmundsson and Maatsen.

We didn’t know then, as the player went off for half time, that, at 1-0 up, we really had seen the best Norwich could offer. We’d been the better side without any doubt at all. I just thought another goal would be enough to see us through to another win and we didn’t have long to wait.

With just about eight minutes of the second half gone, JBG played a delightful ball down the right for Tella. Andrew Omobamidele got across to concede a corner but there was a surprise before it could be taken with Vincent Kompany opting for a change, introducing Vitinho with Tella giving way. We all know what a good job Kompany is doing as a manager but he’s also either a lucky manager or a genius with Guðmundsson’s corner headed home by Vitinho with his first touch.

I recall Sam Vokes coming on at Watford in 2018 and scoring with his first touch but on that occasion, a defender had got a touch between the free kick we were about to take when he came on, and him scoring. I would reckon it would be impossible to score a goal quicker than Vitinho did having just come on.

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I was relaxed now. I really didn’t see this Norwich team coming back from two goals behind but just in case, we quickly added a third and from another right wing corner. This time Guðmundsson hit it beyond the far post where Maatsen played it back in for debutant Ekdal to turn home.

There was just an hour gone; the game was over and the points were won, surely. We were now in total control and against one of the better teams in the division. We might not have added any more goals, not as though we needed to, but we never gave Norwich a sniff of getting back in. We did what good sides do; we shut the game down and won it with ease.

By the time the final whistle blew, many of the Norwich fans had deserted but the Burnley fans were in good voice celebrating another win with the players in front of them. Chris Iwelumo, more popular with the Burnley fans now than he ever was in the season he played for us, was celebrating the win in front of us while filming the celebrating Burnley fans.

This had been another fantastic away day. Was it our best performance on the road this season? It’s a candidate but the view on the return journey was that it was pipped by the 3-0 win at QPR.

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We’ve moved further ahead of Sheffield United, who drew at Rotherham, but with both Luton and Middlesbrough winning, we remain 17 points ahead of third and it’s impossible not to keep having a peak at the league table.

When we won promotion seven seasons ago, it was tight almost to the end with ourselves, Middlesbrough and Brighton. With two games to go, all three of us were level on points. Teo years earlier, we had successive wins against Nottingham Forest, Derby and Blackburn. The first two were key wins given they were against teams just below us while the third of them was a key win given who the opposition were. At that point, coming away from Ewood, I dared to say confidently that I thought we were on our way up.

That win was our 34th league game of the season and had taken us to 69 points and eight points clear of third place Derby. With five games less played this season, I just can’t see how this remarkable team isn’t going to go up. Of course, if we lose all our remaining games, we won’t, but I don’t think we are going to need to many more points to finish in the top two.

Yesterday was our ninth successive league win. I’m sure that’s only the second time I’ve seen that, the other occasion coming in the 1991/92 season. It’s not a record; I believe that came in the 1912/13 season when we reached ten wins. It’s also the fourth successive away win in the league and the last time we achieved that was in 2013 when we won at Derby, Leeds, Doncaster and Ipswich in successive games.

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I wondered last May, as I saw us relegated, whether I’d ever have the chance of seeing us play Premier League football again. Yes, it’s remarkable. It’s incredible to see how things have gone this season. So, seven points clear of second, and 17 points clear of third once the afternoon fixtures were played, we made our way home and were back in Burnley not too long after 8 p.m. although it did feel a hell of a lot later.

It had been a long, long day but one I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. It’s a real pleasure watching this team.

The teams were;

Norwich: Tim Krul, Max Aarons, Andrew Omobamidele, Grant Hanley, Dimitris Giannoulis, Kenny McLean, Kieran Dowell (Christos Tzolis 72), Gabriel Sara, Onel Hernández (Marcelino Núñez 61), Josh Sargent (Adam Idah 61), Teemu Pukki. Subs not used: Michael McGovern, Marquinhos, Sam McCallum, Jacob Sørensen.
Yellow Cards: Dimitris Giannoulis, Andrew Omobamidele, Kieran Dowell, Marcelino Núñez, Adam Idah.

Burnley: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Connor Roberts, Hjalmar Ekdal (Charlie Taylor 79), Jordan Beyer, Ian Maatsen, Josh Cullen, Josh Brownhill, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Lyle Foster 73), Nathan Tella (Vitinho 54), Anass Zaroury, Ashley Barnes. Subs not used: Charlie Casper, Samuel Bastien, Darko Churlinov, Scott Twine.
Yellow Cards: Josh Brownhill, Ashley Barnes, Connor Roberts.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

Attendance: 26,536 (including 1,243 Clarets).

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