Leroy Fer fired home an 82nd-minute winner as Swansea City opened the new Premier League campaign with a 1-0 victory at newly promoted Burnley
Fer pounced from close range after Tom Heaton palmed away a Fernando Llorente header to ensure the Clarets were left to rue a series of missed chances at Turf Moor.
Sean Dyche put his trust in the players that won the Championship last term, with sole outfield signing Johann Berg Gudmundsson starting on the bench, but Andre Gray – the top scorer in the second tier in 2015-16 – was not his clinical self.
Lukasz Fabianski also made several outstanding saves – including denying Dean Marney excellently following Fer’s opener – as the Swans departed Lancashire with all three points.
The hosts fired the first warning shot within six minutes as Sam Vokes caused a fuss in the Swansea penalty area before teeing up a good effort from Scott Arfield on the edge of the box.
Modou Barrow’s pace caused problems for Burnley left-back Stephen Ward early on, before Llorente stung Heaton’s gloves with a 25-yard effort just after the 20-minute mark.
Gray saw two chances go begging after being released in behind the Swans’ defense, the former Brentford forward snatching at the first before blasting a second effort straight at Fabianski five minutes before the interval.
The away side’s insistence on interchanging their wingers resulted in the best opportunity of the first half, as Barrow provided a cross for Wayne Routledge to hammer wide. Jordi Amat then saw a headed effort cleared off the line by Arfield on the stroke of half-time.
Burnley opened up the second half in the same way as they started the first, with Marney finding the roof of Fabianski’s net with a looping header before Michael Keane somehow bundled a finish wide of the back post from all of four yards out.
Vokes was the next man to fail to break the deadlock after some good interplay between Gray and Arfield. The Wales international saw a low drive pushed around the post by Swansea’s busy goalkeeper.
The best chances continued to fall to centre-backs, with Federico Fernandez failing to keep a six-yard effort down when it looked easier to score, resulting from a corner delivery that was flicked on well at the near post.
Further drama ensued as referee Jon Moss waved away a penalty appeal from Marney after 73 minutes, before a fantastic cross from Matt Lowton forced Fernandez into some heroic defending deep inside his own box.
The travelling Swans, however, were able to weather the second-half storm and went ahead with eight minutes left when Fer popped up to scramble home after good work down the left from substitute Jefferson Montero, who crossed for Llorente to test Heaton.
Fabianski capped a fine display by denying Burnley a late equaliser with a reaction save to frustrate Marney and hand Swansea the victory.
Key Opta stats:
– Fer netted his first goal for Swansea in his 12th appearance in all competitions for the Welsh side.
– Since moving to Swansea City in the summer of 2014, Fabianski has kept 23 clean sheets in the Premier League; only Joe Hart (29), David De Gea (25) and Simon Mignolet (24) can better this haul.
– This game was Burnley’s first defeat in their last 24 league games.
– Swansea are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games played in the month of August (W6 D2 L0).