Chelsea swept aside Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor as they continued their unbeaten start to the season. Alvaro Morata opened the scoring with his second league goal this season, followed by two quickfire goals from Ross Barkley and Willian which sealed the points for Chelsea. Ruben Loftus-Cheek added gloss to the scoreline late on fresh off the back of a hat-trick in the Europa League.
Burnley have now conceded 10 goals in their last three Premier League games. Whilst there is no real embarrassment in being beaten by Chelsea and Manchester City, 5-0 victors in Burnley’s last game, Sean Dyche cannot accept shipping so many goals if they want to stay in the Premier League.
Chelsea cope just fine without Hazard
Much has been made of Chelsea’s reliance on Eden Hazard this season. The mercurial Belgian is their top scorer and is generally instrumental in Chelsea’s success. The fact Chelsea registered such a convincing victory without Hazard will be a relief to Sarri and the fans. Morata is slowly starting to look the player he did at the start of last season and the likes of Ross Barkley and Loftus-Cheek seem capable of providing goals from the midfield.
If Chelsea want any chance of silverware this season they will need to share the goals out across the team. Performances like today indicate that the team are capable of collectively carrying the goalscoring burden as a squad.
Barkley and Loftus-Cheek forcing themselves into contention
Chelsea have long been criticised for the way in which they run their youth setup. They have a vast amount of talent in their academy yet none of these players seem to be able to break through into the first team. John Terry is, in fact, the last academy member to fully break into the team.
This unfortunate statistic could soon be at an end, however. There have been countless calls to give Loftus-Cheek a chance in the first team after a solid season on loan at Crystal Palace last term and impressing in the bit-part role he played in England’s run to the World Cup semi-final in the summer.
Sarri has admitted that he had a tactical ‘problem’ when it came to fitting Loftus-Cheek in the team and that he needed to improve if he wanted to force himself into contention. He seems to have taken that on board and after four goals in his last two games he has well truly laid down his gauntlet.
Ross Barkley has similarly had an upturn in fortune. He barely played last season as he struggled with injury. Many people thought that Barkley’s time at Chelsea would fizzle out and he would struggle for minutes. Conversely, he impressed during preseason and is looking like the player who excited so many at Everton. Doubly impressive is that he is directly competing for a spot with Mateo Kovacic, signed on loan from Real Madrid in the summer.
Burnley need to stop conceding
It sounds a bit simplistic but Burnley just need to stop shipping so many goals. They were a team that had been once renowned for their defensive solidity and especially their ability to get results against the ‘big six’ clubs. Everyone knows about their struggles with the Europa League this season, but this can no longer be a valid excuse.
Dyche needs to take his players back to the drawing board and get them winning games again. It’s congested down at the bottom end of the table and if they are not careful then they may suddenly find themselves embroiled in a relegation dogfight.
Is Willian Chelsea’s perennial Bridesmaid?
Willian is a funny little player. He has been at Chelsea since 2013 and was only really signed to stop any of their rivals picking him up. Since then he has made 251 appearances for the club and scored 47 goals. His best return in the Premier League was last season when he notched up 13 goals.
Amongst Chelsea fans he is a divisive figure. Some believe him to shirk responsibility on the pitch and just simply do not rate him as a player. This was exacerbated by his Instagram post where he covered Antonio Conte in trophy emojis and said he would have left the club had Conte stayed on.
On the flipside, Willian has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent players since joining the club. In Jose Mourinho’s disastrous last season at Chelsea Willian was the one shining light when other influential, senior players seemed to down tools.
He is 30 years old now and is not the player which Eden Hazard is, but is it time that Willian started getting more recognition for the job he does?
Is Joe Hart getting back to his best?
The short answer to that question is no, probably not. Hart will probably never match his feats from 2011-14 when he could genuinely be considered one of the best keepers in the Premier League.
He is improving, however. After being shunned out of Manchester City and less-than-successful loan spells at Torino and West Ham, many thought Hart was finished. He has been good this season though and had made many important saves. It feels wrong to praise a goalkeeper who has let in four and five goals in his last two games, but the state of Burnley’s defence obviously did not help him.
Hart is vastly experienced and by all accounts a great figure in the dressing room. If Burnley do find themselves at the wrong end of the table for much longer, he might just be the perfect sort of character to have around.