Kai Havertz bagged a brace as Chelsea ran out comfortable winners over Burnley at Turf Moor.
The Blues came into the game having won four straight at the Clarets’ home but were forced back for much of the first half and should have been behind as Dwight McNeil shot over the bar after Edouard Mendy’s muffed punch fell to him eight yards out and Thiago Silva cleared off the line from Wout Weghorst.
Reece James changed the game within minutes of the restart, turning McNeil inside and out before firing in from a narrow angle. Soon afterwards, Christian Pulisic clipped a cross to the back post finding Havertz pulling behind the centre backs to head home.
Within ten minutes of the start of the second half, the advantage was three with James putting the ball on a plate for Havertz to nudge home from close range.
An awful error from James Tarkowski gifted the Blues’ fourth, as his attempted clearance fell straight into Pulisic’s path and the American easily stroked home from six yards out.
TALKING POINT – AN ABERRATION FOR BURNLEY
Some games you just have to forget. The Burnley of the first half are more representative of Sean Dyche’s side. Reece James was a threat they could not deal with, partly perhaps due to a demoralised McNeil not giving his left back Charlie Taylor enough assistance. It was no surprise all three early second-half goals came down that flank.
It is unlikely Dyche will allow the organisation to fall apart in this manner again this season – prior to this they had the best defensive record outside the top eight and you would expect them to return to this frugality when they face Brentford next week.
MAN OF THE MATCH – REECE JAMES (CHELSEA)
The full-back looks back near his best. It is no surprise the Blues endured patchy form in his absence with a hamstring injury in January. When the Blues looked at their best in the early stages of the season it was when they had James and Ben Chilwell causing havoc on either flank. He will forever be compared to Trent Alexander-Arnold as an attacking full-back but though he lacks the magic of the Liverpool man he is not far behind when it comes to effectiveness. Without him Chelsea may not have found a breakthrough.
Burnley: Pope 6, Roberts 5, Tarkowski 5, Collins 6, Taylor 6; Lennon 6, Westwood 5, Brownhill 6, McNeil 4; Rodriguez 6, Weghorst 6.
Subs: Cornet 6, Barnes 5.
Chelsea: Mendy 6, Chalobah 7, Silva 8, Rudiger 7; James 9*, Kante 7, Jorginho 6, Saul 7; Mount 6, Pulisic 8; Havertz 8.
Subs: Loftus-Cheek 6, Kovacic 6, Werner 6.
30′ McNEIL MISSES OPEN GOAL FOR BURNLEY! Mendy failed to deal with a high, hanging cross, as Rodriguez stood his ground, and an errant punch fell to the feet of the left footer eight yards out but he clipped his shot over the bar with the goal gaping.
48′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA! James fires home from a narrow angle to put the visitors in front. Chalobah played him in just inside the righ-hand side of the area and he turned McNeil a little too easily inside then out before firing home low inside the far post.
53′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA! Pulisic turns in from the right flank and clipped a perfect ball to the back post which Havertz headed home.
55′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA! Havertz scores his second. It was put on a plate by James after Kante slipped the ball to the full back in the right-hand side of the area. The German didn’t get much of a connection on the ball but it crept over the line.
69′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA! All too easy. Saul put the ball into the box and Tarkowski mis-kicked his clearance and Pulisic then nudged home from close range.