Thomas Tuchel got a first win in charge as his side cruised to a sold win against Burnley. Goals courtesy of Azpilicueta and Alonso secured the victory in a game that the Blues controlled throughout as it ended Chelsea 2-0 Burnley.
The Blues struggled to finish their chances in the opening forty minutes or so, with Mount and Werner unable to convert more than a few chances. However, with five minutes until the break Azpilicueta charged more than 70 metres up the pitch to finish off a streamlined Chelsea move, courtesy of a smart Hudson-Odoi layoff.
In the second half Hudson-Odoi shone as Chelsea’s best player in his newly-found right wing-back position, creating multiple chances. A constant stream of pressure was sustained throughout, thwarting Burnley’s attack and Marcos Alonso secured the win with an outstanding volley.
Following a more senior line-up in his inaugural game against Wolves, Thomas Tuchel opted for what has become common at Chelsea, with an emphasis on youth in his starting eleven. He made 4 changes with Abraham, Werner, Mount and Alonso coming into the new wing-back system. The main surprise was that of Marcos Alonso who, having been sidelined since September under Lampard, appears to be making a return to the team under Tuchel.
Sean Dyche made just two changes from his side’s win at Aston Villa, with former Blue Jack Cork as well as Vydra coming in for the Clarets in their usual 4-4-2 formation.
Initially, the game was scrappy with multiple fouls in the first few minutes, the two sides sizing each other up. Surprisingly, Burnley enjoyed some extended periods of possession in the opening period of the half but Chelsea soon took control of the game, as they had on Wednesday.
A few chances appeared with Hudson-Odoi scuffing a shot, Silva heading over and a Kovačić knuckleball arriving in Pope’s grasp. Despite these openings, Burnley looked comfortable enough and still looked potent enough on the counter.
Midway through the first half the Clarets remained potent and it was a stark contrast to the Wolves game with the opponents pinging passes around with great confidence. Alonso looked exasperated as he skewed a header in the best chance of the game so far.
Near the half hour mark Werner got the ball tangled up in his feet from an excellent Hudson-Odoi cross. Moments later, Mount blasted a first-time shot over the bar and the Blues wasted yet another chance. It was the best spell so far for Chelsea as link-ups became quicker but still the chances came and went.
That was until Azpilicueta finished off a slick Chelsea move on the break involving Mount and Hudson-Odoi, with a rocket into the roof of Nick Pope’s net, much to the delight of Tuchel on the sidelines.
Ironically, it was the club’s longest serving player who scored the first goal of the recently arrived Tuchel, but the identity of the goalscorer was largely irrelevant in the context of the game. For the German in the dugout, simply getting a goal was a relief and the Blues went in ahead.
HT: Chelsea 1-0 Burnley
Almost instantly after half time there was a sharpness about the team which hadn’t been seen prior to the interval. Pulisic’s arrival added creativity and within 5 minutes he had delivered three crosses but to no avail.
This intensity continued and the added threat of Pulisic was evident to see as all eleven players were eager to get forward. Even Rüdiger fired a shot wide but he also showed his defensive duties as he cleared Burnley’s first corner away.
Hudson-Odoi saw his effort deflected onto the post, preceding a decrease in the frequency of chances for the hosts. This reduction didn’t last long however as a CHO cross went agonisingly close to nestling in the bottom corner. Mount then fired his third long-range effort of the match at Pope which frustratingly whistled past the post.
Chelsea’s best player in Hudson-Odoi went off for James who fired a powerful hit straight at Pope and it was refreshing to see the Blues keeping the pressure up. Alonso then produced a world-class finish, controlling the ball and firing it into the net expertly.
For the remainder of the game the defence stood firm, ensuring a comfortable 2-0 win. The victory puts Chelsea 7th, edging them closer to the Top Four while Burnley remain 16th, 8 points clear of relegation.
FT: Chelsea 2-0 Burnley
Chelsea: Mendy (GK), Azpilicueta (C), Silva, Rüdiger; Hudson-Odoi, Kovačić, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Werner, Abraham
Subs Used: Pulisic (for Abraham, 46 mins), James (for Hudson-Odoi, 73 mins), Havertz (for Mount, 80 mins)
Burnley: Pope (GK), Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee (C), Pieters; Brady, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Vydra, Wood
Subs Used: Rodriguez (for Vydra, 57 mins), Gudmundsson (for Wood, 62 mins), Mumbongo (for Brady, 76 mins)
Chelsea 2-0 Burnley: Final Thoughts
A first win for Tuchel will be warmly received by players and fans alike, especially with the level of performance. Hudson-Odoi was the most exciting player to watch, creating a multitude of excellent chances from right wing-back.
The two scorers are perhaps evidence of the new era arriving at Chelsea, but the win takes precedent above this. Overall, it’s a positive result which, hopefully, will be the catalyst to a successful second half of the season. Chelsea 2-0 Burnley might end up being the start of something special.
Chelsea will look to build on this win when they travel to José Mourinho’s Spurs on Thursday. Meanwhile, Burnley face another difficult away day at Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Written by Noah Robson (@noahr24_)
Edited by Rob Pratley