Burnley away has all the ingredients for a tricky match but a strong second half display saw Chelsea win 4-0. The hosts dominated proceedings in the first half with chances falling the way of Dwight McNeil and Wout Weghorst.
However, they failed to capitalise whilst in the ascendancy and the Blues made them pay with three goals in seven second half minutes through Reece James and a Kai Havertz brace. A fourth would shortly follow through Christian Pulisic and guaranteed Chelsea finished a tumultuous week in a positive manner.
Edouard Mendy – 6
Another game and another clean sheet for the Senegalese international. For large chunks of the match, he was simply a spectator but in one of the moments he was called upon, he was uncharacteristically shaky. A poor punch from a high ball fell to the feet of McNeil but he blazed over to spare Edouard Mendy’s blushes.
Trevoh Chalobah – 6.5
This season has been a coming of age for the young defender and last week’s performance in the Carabao Cup final was the latest step on his journey. However, Saturday could be seen as a reality check on the difficulties of regular first team football. A poor passage of play saw him beaten far too easily by McNeil and then in failing to clear the ball allowed Burnley to restart the attack. There were a couple of bright moments as he stepped up out of defence on a few occasions to break up attacks.
Thiago Silva – 9
Where would Chelsea be without O Monstro? It isn’t even worth thinking about. In a first half where Burnley were dictating proceedings despite not having the majority of possession, the Brazilian’s interventions on more than one occasion ensured it stayed 0-0 at half time. First up was a strong header cleared away for a corner and then fantastic game awareness and positioning to be on the goal line and clear away Burnley’s best chance of the game.
Antonio Rüdiger – 8
In a season where Thomas Tuchel has found juggling player’s workloads a difficulty, the centre back is one who never seems to need a rest. Saturday was his twelfth consecutive start, and it was like his previous eleven. His regular long range effort was saved down low by Nick Pope and in a subdued first half he was the one with the initiative looking to get Chelsea moving forward. A couple of clearances and tackles capped off a solid display from the German.
Reece James – 9
After substitute appearances in the last two games, this was the Englishman’s first start on his return from a hamstring injury and he took to it like a duck to water. He saw a shot blocked in the first half but in the opening minutes of the second, he beat his man with some clever footwork before driving it hard and low into the far corner. Then he would turn provider for the third with a low ball across the six yard box. Much like Thiago Silva, James is an integral part of this Chelsea team.
N’golo Kante – 6.5
The Frenchman is another player who is key to helping this Chelsea side tick over although Saturday was another performance full of good and bad. Limitations on the ball were highlighted against a low block side but as Chelsea’s dominance told in the second half, he helped to slip in James down the side of Burnley’s defence. Defensively he was his usual energetic self and helped to break up many an attack.
Jorginho – 6.5
Another beating heart in the London club’s side but like his midfield partner on the day, fans wanted to see more from him. A rare shot from the Italian was destined for the far corner before a Burnley head intervened. His ball to break the lines to Pulisic was an example of something he should do more often.
Saul Niguez – 7
Asked to fill in at a slightly unfamiliar left wing back role, the Spaniard once again left the pitch with his reputation enhanced. Similar to his compatriot, Marcos Alonso, he isn’t the most mobile but showed willingness to get forward and was rewarded for his efforts as his ball into the box came to Pulisic for the team’s fourth. On one occasion, Aaron Lennon managed to get in behind him as he was caught out of position.
Mason Mount – 6
Since his dazzling December, Mason Mount has struggled for consistency in his game although injuries haven’t helped. Saturday was another example of a below par display where he struggled to exert himself upon the game with no key passes and only shot. However, it is important to note he improved in the second half after being moved back into a hybrid midfield and attack role and played an important switch in the build up to the second goal.
Kai Havertz – 8.5
The striker situation at Chelsea is a age old issue and has been a key discussion point again this season. The current holder of that shirt, Havertz, though has three goals in his last three games after a brace against Burnley. Quiet in the first half with a few nice turns coming to nothing, his second half performance underlined his improvement in the false nine role. Smart play to drift away from his man allowed a free header for his first before an unnoticed run into the middle of the six yard box ensured he was in the right place at the right time for his second.
Christian Pulisic – 8
During the Club World Cup, the American revealed he was desperate for more minutes and because of injuries to teammates those chances have arrived, and he is taking them. Havertz’s first came about from a perfectly weighted cross from himself before getting on the scoresheet albeit in fortunate fashion after James Tarkowski failed to clear. Other parts of the game saw his tricky and mazy runs on show. Confidence seems to be returning to his game and Chelsea fans know what that can lead to.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6.5
Centre back Wednesday night and right wing back Saturday afternoon, it has been some week for the English international. Like Pulisic, he is desperate to play more often and relished the chance to play in a different role. During his twenty minutes, the clear highlight was a pinpoint crossfield ball to launch another attack.
Mateo Kovacic – 6
Chelsea’s best midfielder in recent weeks only got twenty minutes on Saturday with his manager perhaps having half an eye on the games to come and the miles already in his legs. He entered the game with the result having long been decided and as such just cruised around the pitch linking up with his teammates and controlling the game until the final whistle.
Timo Werner – 6
The forward has fallen considerably out of favour this season and after a goal and two assists on Wednesday night, he would’ve been looking to kick on but in his twelve minutes Saturday, there were little signs of that. He had half a chance to turn and shoot in the box but that was snuffed out.
Written and edited by Harrison Burridge (@hburridge2)