Premier League: Chelsea survive early scare to earn convincing 3-1 victory over Burnley
By Pete Hall - Twitter: @PeteHall86
Last Updated: 19/08/14 12:44pm
Chelsea survived an early scare to convincingly sweep aside a determined Burnley side and earn a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor.
The hosts went completely against the script in the 14th minute of the Monday Night Football encounter in the Premier League when Scott Arfield fired past Thibaut Courtois, starting ahead of Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal, to send the home fans into raptures.
However, that lead lasted just four minutes, as Diego Costa opened his Blues account, lashing the ball into the bottom corner after a low Branislav Ivanovic cross had come back off the post.
The goal of the game came just four minutes after the equaliser, when Andre Schurrle emphatically finished off a fine throughball from Cesc Fabregas to give the visitors the lead in the blink of an eye.
Best of the Match
- Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas. Could be the missing piece to Mourinho's puzzle.
- Goal of the Match: Andre Schurrle. One of the best team goals you will see all season.
- Moment of the Match: Diego Costa booking. Was there contact?
- Talking Points: Did Chelsea show why they are title favourites? Did Diego Costa do enough to suggest he'll be a hit? Will Cech stay? Burnley did okay, will they stay up?
Not content there, the Premier League title favourites notched a third in the 34th minute, with Ivanovic getting in on the act.
As a result, the second half was not much of a spectacle, with Chelsea happy to take their foot off the gas whilst simultaneously keeping a dogged Burnley side at bay.
A booking for Costa was the only sour point in what was an impressive performance from the Blues, and sent a clear message to their title rivals in the process.
Jose Mourinho has a habit of grabbing the headlines, and he certainly did that prior to kick-off, as it was announced Courtois would start in place of Cech in the Blues’ goal.
And after Burnley had soaked up early pressure, Courtois’ first job was to pick the ball out of his net.
A left-wing corner was not properly cleared by the Blues' backline, with the ball played back into the feet of Arfield, who had the time and space to pick his spot past the Belgian stopper from the edge of the box.
The Clarets’ goal certainly jolted Mourinho’s men into life, and they were level just four minutes later.
Ivanovic was picked out on the right wing, and his low cross, whilst being poorly directed, almost caught Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton out, but the ball ricocheted into the path of Costa, who swivelled and fired the Blues level from eight yards.
Then came a thing of beauty. Ivanonic picked Fabregas out on the edge of the home side’s box, and whilst shaping to shoot, delightfully laid the ball through to Schurrle, who finished brilliantly on the run.
The action was relentless at this point. Minutes later came arguably the game's major talking point. Costa latched onto a woeful backpass from Ben Mee, knocked the ball past Heaton, who seemed to catch the Spanish striker, but referee Michael Oliver adjudged Costa's tumble to be simulated, and booked him for diving, much to his and his manager's surprise.
However, a third goal soon followed, with Ivanovic on the end of the move this time, volleying in from six yards from a Fabregas corner, although Sean Dyche would not have been happy with Burnley’s lacklustre marking.
The second half offered little in the way of goalmouth action as Chelsea took a step back.
Courtois was called into action by the impressive Arfield, who brought the best out of the Belgian, who was at full stretch to tip a fine strike over the bar.
Didier Drogba's late appearance got the away fans' pulses racing, but the result, and the emphatic response to falling behind, certainly reiterated many experts' view that this Chelsea side is the team to beat this season.