Match report: Chelsea 1 Burnley 1

Chelsea had to settle for a point as we were held to a draw by a stubborn Burnley despite being the better side throughout.

We had long been pushing for the opening goal in the first half, with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James and the impressive Ross Barkley all forcing early saves from visiting goalkeeper Nick Pope, before Kai Havertz, just moments after being sent flying into the crowd and needing lengthy treatment, met James' cross perfectly to head us into the lead.

We were unfortunate not to extend that advantage too, as Pope denied us on several further occasions and Thiago Silva sent a header against the outside of the post from another dangerous James cross.

However, completely against the run of play, Burnley were allowed to score a second-half equaliser when substitutes Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra were left unmarked in the box to turn in past Edouard Mendy, despite needing two attempts to do so, and there wasn't enough time left for Chelsea to find a second goal against the Clarets' determined defence.

The selection

Thomas Tuchel made one change to the side which triumphed 3-0 against Newcastle United in our last Premier League fixture.

That also meant four changes from the midweek Champions League win over Malmo, although none of them came at the back, as Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger continued ahead of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for the third consecutive game.

In midfield, wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell returned to side after sitting out the Malmo match, as did N'Golo Kante alongside the day's captain Jorginho in the centre.

Barkley came in for his first Premier League start under Tuchel, operating in a number 10 role behind a front two of Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Mason Mount returned among the substitutes having missed our last two matches.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche retained an unchanged side from the team that recorded their first league victory of the season by beating Brentford 3-1 a week earlier.

The day started with Stamford Bridge marking Remembrance, as captains Jorginho and Ben Mee laid poppy reefs in the centre circle before players, supporters and officials observed a minute’s silence, while a bugler played The Last Post.

Early test for the keeper

Burnley tried to come out strong, using strikers Chris Wood and Maxwel Cornet to put pressure on our defenders, but it didn’t last long and the away team were soon on the back foot.

It was Chelsea who created the first chance of the game inside the opening five minutes, and it came via our new-look front three. When Rudiger cleared the ball low to snuff out a dangerous looking Burnley attack, Havertz controlled the ball perfectly and quickly moved it to Barkley. The Englishman ran straight at the visitors’ defence and laid a pass off to Hudson-Odoi on the right, but his powerful low shot was well saved by Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope and the Blues winger couldn’t get his follow-up on target.

We were soon piling on a bit of early pressure, too, as Reece James had a shot charged down in the box shortly afterwards and, from the resulting short corner, Christensen headed narrowly wide of the left-hand post from Hudson-Odoi’s clipped cross.

The Clarets seemed to be struggling to get out of their own penalty box as a Barkley cross caused panic and then another ball into the box from Chilwell was nearly headed in for an own goal, until Pope intervened with another good save low to his left.

Barkley then went the closest yet after a mazing run to cut in from the left, exchanging passes with Reece James before curling a fantastic first-time effort from the edge of the box, but it skimmed the outside of the post on its way wide with Pope stranded.

Burnley were still getting the ball forward quickly when they could, but the best they could manage in the opening half-an-hour was an ambitious bicycle kick by Cornet from outside the box, which looped harmlessly for Mendy to gather on his line.

There were no such problems creating openings for the Blues, as Rudiger headed a Barkley corner narrowly over the bar for the second time of the day. We were threatening, as the tactical switch seemed to be working, with Barkley influential in a number 10 role behind a front two, all that was missing was the final touch to beat Pope.

Persistence pays off

We were knocking on the door louder and louder as the first half wore on, though, Pope showing quick reactions to save James’ deflected ball across goal with his feet after a brilliant run by Kante and clever pass from Jorginho.

There was concern for Havertz as he went over the pitchside hoarding after stretching to deliver a cross in the six-yard box and appeared to need help from concerned supporters around him to regain his feet and exit the crowd, but after treatment he was okay to continue.

Even better, he put the ball in the back of the net with virtually his next touch. For once, we managed to catch Burnley with bodies committed forward, allowing James space down the right to whip in a perfect cross towards the penalty spot, where Havertz was arriving with impeccable timing to head in low past the motionless goalkeeper.

The goal forced Burnley to try and up their game in the closing stages of the first half, but they only succeeded in reducing our own opportunities rather than creating any of their own, with a wild shot over the bar from range by Barkley the only attempt on goal as we approached the break.

We wasted no time reasserting our dominance when the second half began, either, with a succession of early openings largely created by the continued space Barkley was finding between the Burnley lines.

First Chilwell was just beaten to the return on a one-two with Havertz at the end of an incisive move down the middle, then James had a typically powerful shot charged down before Thiago Silva came the closest yet to extending our lead, heading a James cross against the outside of the post.

Havertz will have been disappointed not to get a second goal to his name too, as his effort looped over from close range under pressure following another good passing move involving Kante, Barkley and James to find space on the right.

Settled pattern

The game then took on a very similar pattern to the early stages of the first half, with Chelsea enjoying the vast majority of possession and being under very little threat at the back, despite Burnley’s attempt to inject some more pace into their attack with the introduction of Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra.

However, not long after the hour mark we did start to turn up the tempo in our search for a second goal to make the three points safe, as shown when one lovely passing move ended with Hudson-Odoi weaving his way through the box, but his left-footed shot was save by Pope.

We were exerting pressure on the Clarets’ back line again, with Jorginho drilling a low volley from outside the box only to see it blocked and Barkley firing over with what turned out to be his last touch of an impressive performance before being replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tuchel enthusiastically high-fiving the midfielder as he left the pitch.

Warning unheeded

However, inside the final 15 minutes, Burnley did start to cause some concern, as Mendy had to be alert to gather a looping header and the visiting fans briefly thought they’d scored when a scuffed corner hit the side netting at the near post.

Shortly afterwards, those Burnley supporters did have something to cheer, though. A rare lapse in concentration at the back from Chelsea allowed two Clarets strikers to get free to meet a hopeful ball into the box and, when Rodriguez fluffed his header, it wrong-footed the unlucky Mendy and Vydra was able to turn in from close range.

Tuchel reacted by bringing on Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic, both returning from recent absences, as we went back on the attack and laid siege to the Burnley penalty area in search of the win our performance fully deserved. However, we couldn’t find a way past Pope and the massed ranks of defenders, despite a long series of Chelsea corners, and had to settle for a draw on this occasion.

What's next?

The majority of the Chelsea players head off with their national teams after this game as we enter the last international break of 2021, with the Blues' next fixture coming on Saturday 20 November, when we travel to Leicester City for that day's early kick-off in the Premier League.

Chelsea (3-4-1-2): Mendy; Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante (Mount 85), Jorginho (c), Chilwell; Barkley (Loftus-Cheek 72); Hudson-Odoi (Pulisic 85), Havertz
Unused subs: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Sarr, Saul, Ziyech
Scorer: Havertz 34
Booked: James 77

Burnley (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee (c), Taylor; Gudmundsson (Vydra 70), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Cornet (Pieters 88), Wood (Rodriguez 61)
Unused subs: Hennessey, Roberts, Collins, Long, Cork, Barnes
Scorer: Vydra 80
Booked: Taylor 69, Tarkowski 85, McNeil 90+1

Referee: Andre Marriner

Crowd: 39,798

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