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James Tarkowski was given his first Premier League start at Crystal Palace and looked every inch a Premier League player with a superb performance in Burnley’s first away win of the season.

There were some concerns when he stepped in for Ben Mee, who had started every Burnley league game for almost two and a half years, but there didn’t need to be with Tarkowski helping us to a third shut out in the last four games on the road.

Sean Dyche said of his performance: “That’s Tarky’s first Premier League start. I think that’s outstanding, to play against someone like Benteke, get hit by a lighter, stay focused, get the job done. if you put all that into a footballer’s life, an hour before the game, all these things are going to happen to you, I don’t think you’d feel that comfortable.”

There were top performances in all areas of the pitch, but no one can deny Tarkoswki’s place at the top of the man of the match vote and the player ratings.

He polled 44% of the man of the match vote, some way ahead of striker Ashley Barnes, who opened the scoring; he had a 19% share. Ashley Westwood, who was the pick of the midfield after coming in for the suspended Joey Barton, was third with 11% while Michael Keane, outstanding alongside Tarkowski, was third with 5% of the vote.

It was good to see the player ratings coming in with some high marks after the previous week against Manchester United. Nine of the twelve players rated scored eight or more with the other three in the high sevens.

It was the same top four as the man of the match vote although not in the same order. Tarkowski was the winner with a rating of 9.14 out of 10 and this time followed by defensive partner Keane who scored 8.97. Just behind in third place was Barnes with 8.81 and a rating of 8.59 out of 10 won fourth place for Westwood.

Tarkowski, of course, wins the maximum ten points towards the Up the Clarets Player of the Year with five points for Barnes, four for Keane and three for Westwood.

Although out of the side, Mee had already collected 26 points during April and with only the two full backs able to catch him, he’s gone on to win his second player of the month having previously finished first in December.

But in his absence, Keane’s four points have reduced Mee’s lead at the top of the player of the year table. There are just 11 points between them now with three games to go while Tom Heaton is close to guaranteeing third place.

The Palace result is below with the result for the April player of the month and the current player of the year table.

The West Brom vote will be next and will be underway within an hour of the final whistle.


44% – James Tarkowski
19% – Ashley Barnes
11% – Ashley Westwood
5% – Michael Keane
5% – Sam Vokes
4% – Stephen Ward
4% – George Boyd
3% – Tom Heaton
2% – Scott Arfield
1% – Jeff Hendrick & Matt Lowton
1% – Jon Flanagan


9.14 – James Tarkowski
8.97 – Michael Keane
8.81 – Ashley Barnes
8.59 – Ashley Westwood
8.41 – Sam Vokes
8.32 – Stephen Ward
8.19 – Matt Lowton
8.16 – Tom Heaton
8.00 – George Boyd
7.95 – Jeff Hendrick
7.78 – Scott Arfield
7.73 – Jon Flanagan


26: Ben Mee
21: Stephen Ward
18: Matt Lowton
13: Tom Heaton
11: Michael Keane
10: Andre Gray & James Tarkowski
6: Robbie Brady
5: Ashley Barnes & George Boyd
3: Jeff Hendrick & Ashley Westwood

2: Joey Barton


138: Ben Mee
127: Michael Keane
89: Tom Heaton
62: Jeff Hendrick
53: Ashley Barnes
49: Stephen Ward
47: Steven Defour
46: Matt Lowton
39: Andre Gray
38: Joey Barton
37: James Tarkowski
32: Dean Marney
25: Johann Berg Gudmundsson
18: George Boyd
10: Scott Arfield
9: Robbie Brady & Sam Vokes
7: Aiden O’Neill & Paul Robinson
3: Tendayi Darikwa & Ashley Westwood
1: Jon Flanagan, Michael Kightly & Nick Pope

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