On a day when football was largely irrevelant, Chelsea ensured they would extend their Premier League unbeaten run to 10 matches with a 4-0 win against Burnley.
Ross Barkley was joined on the scoresheet at Turf Moor by Alvaro Morata, Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek as the Blues eased past Sean Dyche’s side despite Eden Hazard missing out with a back injury.
The first quarter of the game was an even one as both sides had chances to break the deadlock. The visitors came closest after 12 minutes when Barkley’s scuffed shot was nodded goalwards by Morata but Joe Hart was equal to it making a great save at full stretch, something he continued to do all afternoon.
The hosts could have also gone in front as Robbie Brady dragged a shot wide following Kepa’s failure to deal with Matt Lowton’s cross before Sam Vokes couldn’t steer the ball inside the near post. Willian came within an inch of opening the scoring as his curling strike struck the foot of the post after some great hold-up play from Morata.
It was the Spaniard who put his side a goal ahead less than 60 seconds later. He latched onto Barkley’s fantastic through ball and stabbed past the onrushing Hart into the back of the net. He could have had another couple before half-time after poking wide following some great feet in the box and then seeing his half-volley thwarted brilliantly by the Burnley goalkeeper from Jorginho’s incredible clipped pass.
Morata’s chances carried on after the interval and 10 minutes into the second period he failed to keep his header below the crossbar from Willian’s cross. Although, just a minute later, the visitors doubled their lead through a man in red-hot form, Ross Barkley. N’Golo Kante rolled the ball into the path of his midfield partner who strode forward before driving an unstoppable low strike into the bottom corner on his left foot.
It took a little over five minutes for the game to be put beyond doubt as Willian got in the action. Some patient Chelsea build-up finished at the feet of the former Shakhtar man who manufactured space 25 yards from goal, allowing him to bend a right-footed effort past Hart and inside the far post to secure all three points.
Olivier Giroud, who had replaced Morata, had two chances that came agonisingly close. The first was a strong effort from the edge of the box which flashed just wide before Joe Hart made yet another top reaction save to deny the Frenchman’s point-blank header. However, for all the Clarets keeper’s hard work, his defence was undone once again inside injury time.
Willian’s corner somehow ended up at the feet of Ruben Loftus-Cheek just outside the six-yard box and, fresh from scoring a hat-trick against BATE in the Europa League, he swept it into the net to complete the perfect afternoon. Maurizio Sarri will be happy that his side continued to keep the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City.
They now look ahead to a Carabao Cup clash with Derby County on Wednesday night who are incidentally managed by a certain Frank Lampard.