Chelsea bulldozed their way to a comprehensive victory over Burnley on Sunday afternoon, as the Blues’ potent attacking play saw the Clarets crumble in the Premier League clash.
Maurizio Sarri’s side took the lead midway through the first half, as Ross Barkley’s precision through-ball was confidently tucked away by Álvaro Morata. Sean Dyche’s side were unable to find a response, and a quick fire double from Barkley and Willian saw the Blues race into an unassailable three goal lead. Ruben Loftus-Cheek made it 4-0 late on, as Chelsea ran riot.
The Blues laid down the gauntlet to their title rivals with a swashbuckling performance, as Burnley’s dismal showing saw them slump to 15th in the table – just three points away from the relegation zone.
As always, the match brought up a number of key talking points, and here’s five things we learned from the encounter.
5. Chelsea Can Play Luxury Football With or Without Eden Hazard
While a significant proportion of Fantasy Football managers across the country groaned when seeing that Eden Hazard wouldn’t be starting against Burnley, the Blues didn’t seem to suffer at all from his absence.
Filling in as his replacement, Willian provided a bucketful of flair and guile going forward with the ball, ensuring that Burnley’s defence were given a torrid afternoon.
Chelsea will be eager to have Hazard – who is still their best attacking player by far – back on the field as soon as possible, but the side’s performance without their talisman will provide great encouragement to the Blues faithful.
4. Joe Hart Could Be in Contention for a Shock England Recall
While Joe Hart conceded four goals against Chelsea, his goalkeeping display was top notch, and he made a series of impressive reflex saves to ensure his side weren’t on the end of a double figures drubbing.
While he became the punchline to every goalkeeping joke under the sun during his dismal spell with West Ham last season, Hart has bounced back in almost Partridge style this season – clawing back his career with a sterling start to the campaign.
While Jordan Pickford is England’s deserved number one, and has distribution skills far beyond Hart’s, the 31-year-old’s recent form means he could be in line for a Three Lions recall.
3. N’Golo Kanté Absolutely Hasn’t Been Eclipsed by Jorginho
The arrival of Jorginho at Stamford Bridge has seen the Blues dramatically change their style of play, with the Italy international now the focal point of the midfield.
Many pundits questioned whether Jorginho’s inclusion in the Chelsea side would negate the need for Kanté, but the 2018 World Cup winner proved that he’s still the relentlessly beating heart in the middle of the park on Sunday afternoon.
Chasing down opponents with characteristic vigour, Kanté allowed his teammates’ creativity to flourish, and was even involved in some bold attacking play himself as the game wore on.
2. Burnley’s Reputation for Rock Solid Defending Is a Thing of the Past
Last season Burnley’s rock solid defence earn them a spot in the Europa League, as Dyche expertly moulded a granite-like backline.
Unfortunately for the Clarets, their formerly miserly defence appears to have undergone a dramatic transformation.
The Lancashire side have the joint third worst defensive record in the league this season, and will need to recapture their former grit to stay clear of the relegation zone.
1. David Luiz Could Singlehandedly Scupper Chelsea’s Title Challenge
Chelsea picked up a clean sheet against the Clarets, but David Luiz again looked unconvincing when put under pressure.
The man’s passion for the club can’t be questioned, but his tendency to make silly mistakes and lose concentration continues to undermine his otherwise strong defensive attributes. The Brazil international made a series of needless fouls on opposition players, and was often caught out of position.
Luiz was one of Chelsea’s star performers when his side won the league under Conte, but he seems to have lapsed back into his old ways of late. An impenetrable defence is essential for the title challenge, and the Blues’ loveable ‘Geeezzza’ could prove their undoing this season.