Burnley took another stride towards a Premier League return by giving new Norwich manager David Wagner a painful reality check.
Vincent Kompany’s Clarets, now seven points clear at the summit, took advantage of some dreadful defending in both halves to rack up a ninth straight league victory and leave the Canaries still without a home win in any competition since October.
Anass Zaroury, substitute Vitinho – with his first touch – and debutant Hjalmar Ekdal were the men on target for the runaway leaders.
Fears that a bug in the camp might leave Burnley depleted proved to be premature, although usual picks Charlie Taylor and Samuel Bastien began on the bench and there was no sign of goalkeeper Ari Muric or forward Jay Rodriguez.
Norwich were unchanged, which was no surprise given that they went into the game on the back of successive away wins, at Preston and Coventry, scoring four times in both.
This was the Carrow Road faithful’s first chance to see Wagner’s new-look side in action, although his first game as Dean Smith’s successor had been a home FA Cup loss to Blackburn. New signing Marquinhos, the on-loan Arsenal teenager, began as a sub.
It was a tough start for the hosts however as Kompany’s side turned the screw from the first kick.
Kenny McLean’s error almost let Burnley in when Nathan Tella latched on to the Scot’s poor touch but Grant Hanley threw himself in the way to block.
The breakthrough arrived in the ninth minute though after Ian Maatsen had fired narrowly wide – and Krul passed the goal-kick straight to Zaroury, who was lurking on the edge of the box. The Morocco marksman accepted the gift, with Hanley, who had rushed to the goal-line, unable to block this time.
It was an inexplicable error – yet Krul had almost been caught out in similar circumstances at Preston and Coventry.
Norwich replied with Kieran Dowell’s shot after Teemu had pulled the ball back in the box but Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Muric’s replacement, blocked with a leg.
That came from Norwich playing out for the back again but mostly that was being stopped at source by Burnley’s relentless high pressing. The home fans cheered when that plan was junked shortly before the break, with Hanley then heading over from a corner.
The half ended with referee Stroud continually reaching for his yellow card, with Burnley trio Josh Brownhill, Ashley Barnes and Connor Roberts cautioned along with Dowell.
A corner turned out to be Norwich’s undoing in the 54th minute when Vitinho, who had replaced Tella seconds before, out-jumped Max Aarons at the near post to nod past Krul.
Burnley made it three from their next corner, this time to the back post where Maatsen’s hook back was stabbed in by Ekdal on his debut.
Norwich should have been awarded a penalty when Barnes blocked Gabriel Sara’s cross with an arm. It was that kind of day as Burnley marched on. The two sides went down together last season but on this showing only one will be returning straight away.