The Blues put recent home discomforts behind us on Saturday afternoon as we comprehensively dismantled visitors Burnley to reinforce our position in the Premier League’s top four.
Unlike in the defeats against West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton at Stamford Bridge, Frank Lampard’s side were able find the goals in the first half to match the domination of play, and we were 2-0 up by half-time thanks to a penalty won by Willian and scored by Jorginho, and a goal conceived in the Chelsea Academy with Tammy Abraham heading in a Reece James cross. It was our leading scorer’s 15th goal of the season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi, with the first league goal of his career, made it 3-0 shortly after the break.
This was the 100th meeting between these clubs and before this weekend, it was all-square for wins. Chelsea are now deservedly ahead.
N’Golo Kante was unavailable for today’s game due to a hamstring problem he felt following training yesterday and with Christian Pulisic also injured, two of the players who came into the side for the FA Cup game against Forest (and who scored), Ross Barkley and Callum Hudson-Odoi, retained their places.
Andreas Christensen made his first Premier League start since the defeat at Everton a month ago and produced a solid display as we kept a first clean sheet at home in the league for two months.
Burnley had a lack of options up front, with Ashley Barnes injured and Jay Rodriguez ill, so they played Chris Wood on his own. There was more concern for the Clarets’ when their centre-forward had claret pouring from his nose after a bash in the opening minutes, but he soldiered on.
Jeff Hendrick, who was supporting Wood in attack, sliced a shot high and wide in the very first minute, with Willian having a better effort deflected wide soon after up at the Shed End.
Next up, the impressive James had a shot, then a cross, and the young right-back saw a good deal of the ball in the opening 15 minutes as Chelsea put together some promising moves with a good tempo to our passing.
Burnley had the ball in the net after a free-kick was headed back across our penalty area for Jeff Hendrick to nod in, but VAR confirmed the original linesman’s decision to flag offside.
There were 25 minutes gone when another verdict from the officials went Chelsea’s way. Willian, fed by James, was on the left of the Burnley penalty area and heading for the byline when his back leg was taken from under him by a careless sliding challenge by Matthew Lowton. A clear penalty, and no mistake by Jorginho who sent Nick Pope the wrong way with his trademark spot-kick method.
Kepa kept a Dwight McNeil free-kick out at the base of his post as Burnley went for an element of surprise with most expecting another high-ball into the mix, and then from a corner soon after we needed goal-line clearances by Barkley and Azpilicueta to preserve the lead.
Initially it was a good response from the Lancashire side but soon they were 2-0 down. James, under pressure, sent over a brilliant cross from the byline on the right and Abraham’s header was straight out of the centre-forward’s text book, a towering leap and the ball sent down into the turf. As it bounced up, neither Pope nor Ben Mee back in the goalmouth could react quickly enough to keep it out as they distracted each other.
Pope did prevent James from making it 3-0 with a firm strike before half-time but we did not have to wait long after the restart to extend the lead. The way we began the second period was everything Lampard would have wanted.
Mount and Abraham almost linked up with an exchange of passes in front of goal before Hudson-Odoi did find the net with 49 minutes played. Azpilicueta supplied the cross, Abraham nearly got his head to it but behind him there was the young winger to boot the ball in from close range. Another VAR check, to see if Abraham had touched the ball and therefore made the scorer offside, was passed. 3-0.
Pope saved from Abraham after a good ball by Mount and then a Mount cross set up another chance for the no.9 which he headed wide from close to goal to his clear frustration.
Despite that, the 22-year-old was contributing plenty to the game and the rest of the second half was largely a question of could the Blues add more goals. with Lampard opting to make no substitutions.
Willian had a shot tipped over and Mount was denied by Pope when he turned a Hudson-Odoi cross goalwards, and other slick moves threatened the opposition goal, but the fourth goal that would have matched our tally in the 4-2 win at Turf Moor in October proved elusive, but this was just as impressive a win.
In the build-up to this game, Burnley boss Sean Dyche indicated that his side feel confident playing Chelsea compared with the other big sides, given past results. That proved wishful thinking today.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; James, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta (c); Barkley, Jorginho, Mount; Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Willian.
Unused subs Caballero, Zouma, Tomori, Emerson, Kovacic, Pedro, Batshuayi.
Scorers Jorginho 27 pen, Abraham 38, Hudson-Odoi 49
Burnley (4-2-3-1): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee (c), Taylor; Westwood, Cork; Lennon, Hendrick (Vydra 73), McNeil; Wood.
Unused subs Hart, Bardsley, Gibson, Long, Koiki, Pieters.
Booked McNeil 45+2, Westwood 54, Lennon 58
Referee Kevin Friend