It was another miserable weekend for Clarets supporters, as Burnley were swept aside for the second game running by one of the game’s superpowers.
The 4-0 scoreline certainly didn’t flatter Chelsea and in the last portion of the game they looked as though they might score at will against a demoralised looking Burnley side.
On a day of few positives for Burnley, Sean Dyche was at least able to give games to Robbie Brady, making his first appearance since December 2017, and Steven Defour. Both played the full 90 minutes and whilst their impact was limited yesterday, their creativity has been missed and they’ll both play vital roles in the coming weeks.
One other factor to punctuate the misery is that goalkeeper Joe Hart, made four absolutely outstanding saves. That aside though, it’s a struggle to make much of a case for Burnley.
They started brightly enough, but after Jeff Hendrick lost possession midway through the first half, Ross Barkley coolly set up Chelsea’s opener, for Alvaro Morata to score.
Shortly into the second half, man of the match Barkley scored himself, shooting from 25-yards to effectively end the contest. Burnley huffed and puffed but created little going forward, only managing one effort on target – a tame header from Chris Wood.
Shortly after his goal, Barkley got a second assist as Willian, cut in from the left onto his right foot to curl a finish past Hart. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who had scored a midweek hat-trick in the Europa League, netted a fourth in injury time to seal a comfortable win for Chelsea.
Last season’s success for the Clarets was built on a very strong defence, which has seemed much more porous this season. The team has now conceded nine goals in two games – albeit against Manchester City and Chelsea.
In fairness, Burnley won’t be facing the kind of quality every week they’ve had to contend with for the past two games. It speaks volumes that Chelsea could replace Hazard with Pedro, then Pedro with Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Then late in the game the brought on Olivier Giroud and Cesc Fabregas.
Another aspect of the game that was noteworthy was the refereeing performance of Craig Pawson. Having been highly critical of Jon Moss’ lamentable performance last week, I have to say that Pawson did well yesterday and should be praised for booking both Morata and Willian for cheating, or “simulation” as it’s euphemistically known!