Burnley 0-4 Chelsea
Burnley 0-4 Chelsea: Alvaro Morata, Ross Barkley, Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all score as Maurizio Sarri’s men climb into second place in the Premier League with routine win at Turf Moor
- Chelsea climbed into second place in the Premier League with a convincing 4-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor
- Alvaro Morata scored a much-needed goal to put the Blues ahead in the 22nd minute with a composed finish
- The Spanish striker latched on to a through-ball from Ross Barkley before calmly slotting past Joe Hart
- Ross Barkley doubled Chelsea’s lead with a thumping effort from 25 yards that flew into the back of the net
- Willian inflicted further misery on the Clarets when he cut inside and hit a low finish into the bottom corner
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek wrapped things up for the visitors when he struck a fourth goal deep into added time
They started the game singing the name of Frank Lampard, come the second half it was that of Ross Barkley rolling down from the Chelsea away following, a deserved recognition for a player so in tune with himself right now.
One goal, two assists and yet more reason to rejoice at the re-emergence of an England midfielder boasting the cunning our national side has long since craved.
Blues boss Maurizio Sarri was asked afterwards for the words to describe the 24-year-old and finally settled on ‘complete’. He was certainly in complete control of this contest.
Substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek wrapped things up for the visitors when he struck a fourth goal deep into added time
Burnley (4-4-1-1): Hart 6; Lowton 5, Tarkowski 5.5, Mee 5, Taylor 5; Gudmundsson 6, Cork 5.5 (Westwood 73, 5), Defour 6, Brady 6; Hendrick 5 (Barnes 65, 6); Vokes 5.5 (Wood 59, 5).
Subs not used: Heaton, Bardsley, Vydra, Long.
Bookings: Tarkowski, Hendrick, Brady, Gudmundsson.
Manager: Sean Dyche
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa 6; Azpilicueta 6.5, Luiz 7, Rudiger 6.5, Alonso 7; Kante 7.5, Jorginho 6.5 (Fabregas 78, 6), Barkley 8.5; Pedro 6 (Loftus-Cheek 30, 7), Morata 7.5 (Giroud 74, 6), Willian 8.
Subs not used: Caballero, Kovacic, Zappacosta, Cahill.
Goals: Morata 22, Barkley 57, Willian 62, Loftus-Cheek 90+2.
Bookings: Morata, Willian.
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Referee: Craig Pawson 7
Man of the Match: Barkley
Alvaro Morata opened the scoring when he latched on to a through ball from Ross Barkley before calmly slotting past Joe Hart.
It is more than five years since an Englishman has scored in three consecutive Premier League matches for Chelsea. That, of course, was Lampard.
But their current No.8 is fast emerging as the team’s number one, especially in the absence of Eden Hazard, missing because of a back complaint.
Barkley’s creation of Alvaro Morata’s opener was Hazard-esque, a cute cushion with his left boot followed by a killer stab with his right, cutting through the heart of the Burnley defence and allowing his team-mate to slot home.
His goal was just as impressive, carrying the ball from deep before drilling into the bottom corner from 25 yards. A bit like Lampard, you might say. To draw comparison to both Hazard and Lampard in one afternoon is quite a feat.
The last time Hazard missed a league fixture was in December, when Barkley was still an outcast at Everton and less than a week away from a £15million move to Stamford Bridge.
Ten months on, however, and only now does it truly feel like he is a Chelsea player. With it, he’s an England starter, too.
Where was he during the summer, when Gareth Southgate’s men lacked the guile to make it through to the World Cup final their graft had deserved? The harsh truth is that very few really cared what Barkley was doing, so muted was his name in conversation surrounding the national team.
His only top-flight outings for Chelsea had been a pair of 3-0 defeats and, having been injured for the majority of 2018, his relatively modest transfer was even beginning to look inflated.
Not now. Flip the numbers of his fee and you have a more accurate reflection of his worth to Chelsea’s title challenge.
And that is what this campaign should be about. Given the accusation they would amount to little without Hazard given the playmaker’s spectacular start to the season, here was a most convincing riposte from the understudies.
Led by Barkley and aided by fellow scorers Morata, Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek – and N’Golo Kante, always Kante – Sarri’s side eased to within two points of leaders Liverpool.
The Italian is now the only Chelsea manager to go unbeaten in their first 10 Premier League matches and, on the only two other occasions the team have started a season like this, they have signed off as champions.
On full-time, Barkley was as bullish as he had been during the previous 90 minutes.
‘I believe we can stay in the title race,’ he sounded. ‘We put in a top-drawer performance. We are growing, we have momentum game by game and we can continue to improve.
‘I am made up with how things are going, we are all chipping in with the goals.’
Of his man-of-the-match, Sarri added: ‘He is playing very well. He has improved defensively, his physical condition is improving and he is very good technically. I think now he is complete.’
On the evidence of this, Chelsea could afford to exercise caution with Hazard’s fitness.
They were simply slicker in everything they did here, Willian rivalling Barkley for star-man plaudits. The Brazilian drew a strong save from Joe Hart on 17 minutes before beating the goalkeeper with a measured curler moments later only to be denied by the post.
Morata had laid on the latter with some fine hold-up play and incisive throughball, so he was deserving of similar service for the opener on 22 minutes, Barkley the creator.
Come half-time Morata could – and perhaps should – have had a hat-trick. He outsmarted Ben Mee with a razor-sharp turn inside the area but his finish was blunt in comparison as he poked wide.
He then beat the offside trap only to hammer straight at Hart and his half was complete when receiving a yellow card following a scuffle with James Tarkowski. You certainly could not accuse the Spaniard of hiding this week.
In truth, Chelsea’s slender lead never looked delicate – Burnley did not have a shot on target in the opening 45 – but their two best players on the day made sure of the result anyway.
Barkley’s goal arrived first on 57 minutes before the brilliant Willian cut infield from the left and located the same bottom corner six minutes later. Barkley had provided the pass. Game over.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche said: ‘They can punish you these teams. Their technical quality and physical power comes through. But we knew that, they’re a top side. Moments on Sunday make you realise that, so we have to give them credit.
‘We tried to win and were punished for being more expansive because we want to start beating these teams. If you just aim for damage limitation and try to keep it to one, you don’t learn anything.’
This, though, was a severe lesson, compounded by a Chelsea fourth in stoppage-tome.
Loftus-Cheek was unfortunate not to start after his Europa League hat-trick against Bate Borisov on Thursday but the midfielder – introduced on the half hour after Pedro fell ill – got the goal his energetic display deserved with a close-range blast.
The star, though, had been Barkley, and the Chelsea supporters let him know as much.