Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Having lost to Bournemouth and Southampton, Chelsea knew a defeat this afternoon would amount to a third consecutive home Premier League loss for the first time since 1993.
Well, quite frankly, once the hugely reliable Nick Pope had made a rare misjudgement just before the break – no chance!
Chelsea were home and hosed and, as they consolidated fourth place in the table, it’s now seven defeats in nine league games for the Clarets, including one at home to Aston Villa on New Year’s Day (ironically, their next opponents).
That is a run manager Sean Dyche needs to turnaround quickly.
Highlights of the game
Burnley had frustrated Chelsea in the corresponding fixture last season and did so for almost the first half-hour here. Indeed, they could have even led had it not been for Jeff Hendrick’s strike being correctly ruled offside.
That was until Willian was brought down by Matthew Lowton and Jorginho rifled home the resulting spot-kick.
Home manager Frank Lampard would have been well-aware that recent form at Stamford Bridge was below par, so he would have been relieved when they doubled their advantage seven minutes before the break.
Ironically, the goal arrived just as Burnley were threatening an equaliser. Young Tammy Abraham continued his fine form this term by heading downwards and beyond Pope from a cross by another youngster, Reece James.
Without a first-half goal in nine since beating West Ham 3-0 on November 9, Chelsea had scored twice in 11 minutes.
Four minutes after the break and one of the Premier League 2020 highlights for the home side this term came as Callum Hudson-Odoi notched his first-ever top-flight goal, a right-footed finish from a Cesar Azpilicueta delivery.
Game over and but some fine saves for Pope, a dispirited Burnley could have conceded more.
They do deserve credit for continuing to battle with Dwight McNeill at the heart of their best endeavours. They went close when Ben Mee saw his header hacked off the line by Ross Barkley.
That was as close as they got, though, and they need to quickly end a run which, if it continues, will leave them facing a battle to beat the drop.
When these two sides met in October, Chelsea were inspired by the best performance to date from their new signing Christian Pulisic.
This was far less thrilling but no less important as they look to cement a top-four spot.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was that there was no VAR controversy to write home about, less than 24 hours after the latest one to spoil the game.
Not that there wasn’t elsewhere!
Abraham has scored 13 Premier League goals for Chelsea this season – Lampard is the only Englishman to score more in a single campaign in the competition for the club (on three occasions).
Hudson-Odoi has been directly involved in 12 goals in his 14 starts at Stamford Bridge in all competitions, scoring six and setting up six.
At 19 years, 65days, Hudson-Odoi is the youngest player to score his first Premier League goal for Chelsea since Carlton Cole against Middlesbrough in April 2002 (18years, 197days).
Chelsea have completed a league double over Burnley for the first time since 2009-10, a campaign when Lampard played in both matches.
Burnley have won just one of their 12 Premier League meetings with the west Londoners (drawn three, lost eight).
Five of the six Premier League points claimed by Burnley in this fixture have come at Stamford Bridge.
Burnley have collected just one point in 10 Premier League games this season against teams currently in the top half of the division (drawn one, lost nine), drawing 1-1 with Wolves in August.
Chelsea have lost seven of their 22 league matches, just one fewer than the whole of last season. They have been beaten in five of their past 11 league fixtures.
The Blues have claimed 17 points at Stamford Bridge, in contrast to 22 in away games.
Burnley have won only one of their last 30 league games against established top-six opposition (drawn six, lost 23).
Chelsea go to Newcastle next weekend, and three days later host London rivals Arsenal in what could well be a feisty derby; it’s a quick repeat of the fixture from just a fortnight ago.
Brighton, meanwhile, host Aston Villa a week from today and then travel to face another club on the south coast in Bournemouth on January 21.
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