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Andrew McSteen’s four takeaways from Crystal Palace’s 3-0 win against Burnley – The ideal start, but tougher tests to come

The Oliver Glasner Crystal Palace era got underway with a comfortable victory against lowly Burnley in the afternoon kick-off at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

After a positive but ineffectual first half, which saw the visitors go down to 10 men after 35 minutes, the attacking intent from the home side paid off with a trio of strikes across an 11-minute second-half period.

A Chris Richards back post diving header opened up the scoring in the 68th minute, followed by a Jordan Ayew slot home and Jean-Philippe Mateta penalty (79th) to secure all three points.

Here are Andrew McSteen’s four takeaways from Selhurst Park:


Walking to the ground and observing supporters milling about by the Main Stand before the game, you could sense an air of expectation and positivity in SE25 on Saturday.

The way the Roy Hodgson era ended was not what anyone wanted, but a new manager always brings a bounce with them.

Could Glasner provide enough of one in just his few days in charge to allow the squad to put a miserable run of form behind them? The answer was yes, he could.

Crystal Palace v Burnley – Premier League, Selhurst Park, 24 February 2024
Picture : Keith Gillard

Yes, Burnley were joint-bottom of the Premier League going into the game. Yes, Burnley mustered just two shots in the whole game, none on target. Yes, Burnley were one of the worst-ever sides to have played in the top flight at Selhurst, but you can only beat what you have in front of you.

In some ways, the result was never in doubt – although any Palace fans watching the first half may have doubted that – but the performance, full of attacking intent, had also been coming.

Anyone watching both the recent Chelsea loss at home and Everton away draw in the league would have seen elements of improvement, particularly with new signings Daniel Munoz and Adam Wharton settling in the side and the players around them getting used to them.

Bigger tests will come at both ends of the pitch – not least with Tottenham Hotspur next – but for 103 minutes, fans saw Eagles defenders in the opposition box, free-kicks and corners reaching Palace players and additional time at the end of the game, not bringing about a massive worry and stress.

In the 10th minute of second half additional time, Glasner was flagged by one of his assistants, the coach then signalling to Joel Ward, on the halfway line for an attacking throw, to push up into the final third.

This meant all Palace outfield players were in the final third and this was a sign of things to come.


For the first time since Burnley away in November the Eagles kept a Premier League clean sheet. It was touch and go, though, at one point after the Lancashire side had the ball in the net late on, but VAR ruled it out for an offside infringement.

Crystal Palace v Burnley – Premier League, Selhurst Park, 24 February 2024
Picture : Keith Gillard

The return of Sam Johnstone in the Palace goal, replacing Dean Henderson, has appeared to settle the defence and from watching behind the Holmesdale Road goal and in the media box the difference appears to be the communication with the team.

But the main reason for the lack of clean sheets in recent months for me has been the loss of Cheick Doucoure, his key work in front of the Palace defenders ensuring that extra layer of security.

Jefferson Lerma has stepped up to the plate and he was my man of the match on Saturday. The Colombian seemed to be everywhere and has appeared to have recovered fully from his recent injury.


No one was more deserving of a goal on Saturday than Chris Richards. Ever since joining the club in July 2022, the USA international defender has bided his time.

Only in the first team in recent months due to injury, first to Doucoure and now Marc Guehi, Richards has played in numerous positions in just 2024 alone for the SE25 outfit.

Crystal Palace v Burnley – Premier League, Selhurst Park, 24 February 2024
Picture : Keith Gillard

Richards is still learning the game at this level, but he seems settled on the left side of a central back three alongside Joachim Andersen in the middle and Joel Ward on the right.

While this formation is not Glasner’s doing – it has been deployed against both Manchester sides and Everton – it fits with the attacking intent that the Austrian coach wants to see from his newly inherited squad, particularly with his two wing-backs, Daniel Munoz and Tyrick Mitchell.

With Ward likely to make way when Guehi returns – potentially after the upcoming international break – and should Glasner keep with the formation, then Richards could cement himself in the team long-term and not just in a role to cover others.

Still, as said earlier, this defensive formation and the players involved will have much tougher tests to come.

But let this not take away from Richards’s progression.


Watching Everton last week and Burnley on Saturday, I just wonder what might have been – will Glasner get to coach a Palace team this season with the currently injured Doucoure, Guehi, Ebere Eze and Michael Olise all starting?

Just the thought of that is exciting.

Crystal Palace v Burnley – Premier League, Selhurst Park, 24 February 2024
Picture : Keith Gillard

Although Doucoure has not been officially ruled out until the end of the season, yet, you feel sorry that Glasner will almost likely not get a chance to field this ideal team.

However, while acknowledging their influence, Glasner has played it with a straight bat, saying he already looks at the team as a whole, refusing to single out any individuals.

But how tempting it is to think, ‘What if?’

If Glasner and the club ensure no key players leave in the summer, that question could be answered.

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