West Brom defied the critics to serve up a clinical display in a 4-0 Premier League win over Burnley on Monday.
Tony Pulis’ side, not known as one of the top flight’s great entertainers, have won few neutral fans, but put on a show to dish out another Hawthorns thrashing to Burnley – who were beaten by the same score on their last visit in 2014.
The Baggies scored three first-half goals – and could easily have had more – to put the match beyond their beleaguered visitors before the interval, with Scotland trio Matt Phillips, James Morrison and Darren Fletcher on target.
Burnley were run ragged at times, but still had chances of their own, Jeff Hendrick spurning the best of them when it was only 1-0.
Distant hopes of a second-half revival were banished by a deserved goal for the lively Salomon Rondon as West Brom sealed their first back-to-back wins of the season.
The result moves the hosts up to ninth, while Sean Dyche’s Burnley stay 12th, having taken only one point from five matches on the road and conceding four goals in a league fixture since their last trip to The Hawthorns.
West Brom, unchanged from their victory over champions Leicester City before the international break, led after just four minutes as Phillips – who scored the winner at the King Power Stadium – netted in fortuitous circumstances.
Dean Marney inadvertently slid Morrison’s right-wing cross into the path of the former QPR forward, who turned smartly to power home from six yards.
Chris Brunt then tested Tom Heaton with a long-range volley as Pulis’ men threatened again, with Burnley finally stirring to life in the 14th minute, only for Hendrick to loop a poor effort wide of the far post when well placed.
It took only two minutes to underline how costly that miss was as Morrison capped a swift counter-attack with an excellent side-footed finish after collecting Rondon’s pass.
West Brom continued to push forward and Heaton was again called into action just past the half-hour mark to tip Rondon’s curler over the crossbar.
There was nothing the England goalkeeper could do to prevent the third going in before half-time, with Fletcher turning in Phillips’ back-post delivery.
Dyche introduced Ashley Barnes for Steven Defour at the break and the Clarets were marginally better, though never looked likely to make a game of it.
Indeed, their bad night got worse in the 64th minute when Allan Nyom cut the ball back for Rondon, who spun and fired into the net via a deflection.
The late introduction of Andre Gray did little to impact on the overall picture, though Johann Gudmundsson’s free-kick had to be tipped onto the crossbar by Ben Foster.
With the destination of the points long since settled, there was an oddly flat atmosphere, but Pulis and his side can reflect on an excellent night’s work ahead of Saturday’s trip to struggling Hull City.
KEY OPTA STATS
– This was only the third time in 284 games that a side managed by Tony Pulis have scored four goals in a Premier League game, two of which have been this season with West Brom (4-0 v Burnley and 4-2 v West Ham).
– West Brom’s 4-0 win over Burnley is their joint-biggest margin of victory in a Premier League match.
– Burnley haven’t won away in the league at the Hawthorns since December 1969, losing on nine of their 10 visits since.
– Since the start of 2015/16, Salomon Rondon has been involved in 17 Premier League goals (13 goals, 4 assists); more than any other WBA player.
– James Morrison netted in back to back Premier League games for the first time since September 2008.
– Matt Phillips scored in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time in his career.