Stoke City 2 Burnley 0: Hughes' men continue strong run with straightforward win
Stoke City's recent resurgence continued with a fifth Premier League win in seven as Mark Hughes' men comfortably beat Burnley 2-0 at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.
Hughes found himself under pressure earlier in the season after losing four in a row, but the club's patience is now paying dividends as they built on last week's strong 1-0 win at Watford with another impressive display to leave Stoke with just one defeat in nine.
Although the visitors started with purpose, Stoke soon seized control of proceedings and went ahead through Jonathan Walters' fine 20th-minute finish.
Stoke deservedly doubled their advantage before the break, with Marc Muniesa rounding off a flowing move to score his first Premier League goal for the club.
Burnley became more of a threat in the second half, but Bruno Martins Indi and Muniesa were in fine form at the back for Stoke, letting very little past them.
Sensing they had already done enough for the win, Stoke showed no attacking intent towards the end and their defensive solidity proved enough to take them on to 19 points and into the top half of the table, while Burnley remain with just a point away from home this season.
Burnley initially gave no indication that they were affected by their woeful away form, though Stoke did gradually take control after Martins Indi headed Xherdan Shaqiri's corner onto the post in the 10th minute.
But there was no such luck for Burnley 10 minutes later.
Makeshift wing-back Mame Biram Diouf - who was this week likened to Brazil legend Cafu by Muniesa - did well on the right, playing a swift one-two with Shaqiri before crossing for Walters to finish deftly past Paul Robinson at the near post.
Marko Arnautovic was making a nuisance of himself out on the left and it came as no surprise to see him inspire Stoke's second 10 minutes before the interval.
The Austrian breezed past Jon Flanagan with a step over and cut he ball back towards the penalty spot, where Muniesa was waiting to provide a clinical finish to a move he started with a driving run.
Burnley produced an improved display after the break and were angry in the 54th minute when Muniesa fouled Andre Gray when he was through on goal and only received a yellow card.
Stoke should have finished Burnley off 13 minutes later, though, as substitute Joe Allen - returning from a one-match suspension - shot straight at Robinson after great work by Arnautovic on the left.
Burnley almost pulled one back six minutes from the end to force a nervous finish, but Lee Grant did well to push Gray's effort around the post and Stoke cruised over the line to secure back-to-back wins.
Key Opta Facts:
- After winning just one point in their five five Premier League games this season (W0 D1 L4), Stoke City have lost just one of their last nine games in the competition (W5 D3 L1).
- Burnley have won just one of their last eight league games against Stoke City (W1 D4 L3).
- Burnley have scored just five goals in their last 15 Premier League away games and never more than once in a game in that run.
- Jonathan Walters scored his first Premier League goal in 15 appearances.