Burnley safe? New Zealand’s Chris Wood hits first-half hat trick (video)
Has Chris Wood scored the goals to essentially end the race to avoid Premier League relegation?
It’s early at the Molineux, but the Kiwi striker has scored a six-minute brace as part of a 29-minute hat trick and Burnley holds a 3-0 halftime lead over Wolves.
Burnley’s now on pace for a nine-point cushion above the bottom three and a three-spot leap on the table thanks to goal differential changes, but they’ll need to keep up it another 45 minutes.
Given Newcastle’s draw with Liverpool, the fixture lists for Brighton, Fulham and West Brom, a Clarets win would leave little chance for anyone but the Cottagers and Baggies to go down to the Championship.
Wood, 29, has his eighth, ninth, and 10th goals of the Premier League season, better than a third of Burnley’s league haul. He’s also sealed a fourth-straight double-digit goal season in the Premier League.
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Wood’s first goal came off a Mathew Lowton assist, the New Zealand striker smashing a low drive past Rui Patricio from a tight angle.
He got his second when Dwight McNeil zipped onto a sleepy pass and in front of Nelson Semedo, feeding Wood for a tap-in finish and a 2-0 lead in the 21st minute.
And McNeil cued up Wood’s third, too, just before halftime.
The Clarets for the moment have climbed not one, nor two, but three places on the table thanks to goal differential advantages over Southampton and Newcastle.
That said, Burnley’s defense will have to hold out without conceding for an hour, having conceded 14 goals in its last seven matches and last keeping a clean sheet on Feb. 20 versus Burnley (a 0-0 draw).
Already New Zealand’s Premier League goals pacesetter, Chris Wood could also become the New Zealand player with the most PL appearances?
At 131, another two seasons in the Premier League could help Wood close enough ground on Ryan Nelsen (198).
And how about his third goal?