Emphatic finishes from Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso gave Thomas Tuchel his first victory as Chelsea head coach against a below-par Burnley.
Captain Azpilicueta – the longest-serving player in the team – drilled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s lay-off high past Nick Pope just before half-time in the Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Azpilicueta’s fellow Spanish defender Alonso added a classy second late on, skilfully controlling a Christian Pulisic cross before lashing a volley over Pope at his near post.
The impressive Hudson-Odoi was unlucky not to score in between with a shot that was deflected on to a post by Burnley defender Erik Pieters.
Chelsea comfortably registered a second successive clean sheet under Tuchel, whose first game was the midweek goalless draw with Wolves, as Burnley did not manage a shot on target.
The only downside for Tuchel was Timo Werner’s failure to score for a 12th league game as Chelsea climbed three places to seventh in the table, while Burnley remain 15th.
Old faces welcome Tuchel’s new era
No players in Tuchel’s starting line-up have been at Chelsea longer than Azpilicueta, a 2012 signing from Marseille, and Alonso, who arrived four years later from Fiorentina.
It was strangely fitting that an Azpilicueta goal should christen the Tuchel era given he was the only member of Chelsea’s current crop to play alongside predecessor Frank Lampard as well as under him.
Azpilicueta’s goal was reminiscent of Lampard’s habit of appearing in the penalty area at the right time, crowning a flowing break by overlapping Hudson-Odoi and firing into the roof of the net.
It was Azpilicueta’s first goal in more than a year and, while Alonso’s effort was not quite as surprising given his propensity to find the net, his mere inclusion in Tuchel’s side was an eye-opener given he had not played for more than four months.
Recalled in place of Ben Chilwell, Alonso produced a superb piece of skill, chesting down Pulisic’s centre and taking another touch on his knee before unleashing a powerful volley.
The finish gave the scoreline a fairer slant with Chelsea dominant, attempting 19 shots to Burnley’s one, and Hudson-Odoi a menace throughout.
Chelsea remain three places and four points off the Champions League spots but this display – against a Burnley side that had been in fine form – will give Tuchel belief that the gap can be bridged.
Burnley unable to recreate Anfield heroics
For the majority of the first half, the game had the feeling of Burnley’s memorable recent win at Liverpool, when they frustrated their hosts for long periods and pinched a late winner.
Until Azpilicueta’s opener Pope was troubled only by a couple of routine long-range efforts from an increasingly desperate Werner.
But once Burnley went behind they did not have an answer and were not helped by the withdrawal though injury of leading scorer Chris Wood just after the hour.
James Tarkowski’s stoppage-time header from a corner was the sum total of their efforts, and even that failed to hit the target as Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy remained a spectator.
Successive wins – at Anfield and at home to Aston Villa – lifted Burnley eight points clear of the relegation zone and suggest this meek display should be a one-off.
However, any lengthy absence for Wood would worry manager Sean Dyche given his side remain the second lowest scorers in the division with 13 goals as they drew a blank for the 11th time in 20 games.
They were indebted to England keeper Pope for limiting the margin of defeat, denying Reece James, Werner and Pulisic in the second half as well as preventing Ben Mee turning a Hudson-Odoi cross into his own net.
‘We never got scared’ – what they said
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel told BBC Sport: “We had a lot of half chances but we had to wait a long time. What impressed me was that we never lost control and we had courage and confidence to impose our style.
“We never got scared and we stayed patient. The attitude and energy was very good. We only conceded one shot in the 94th minute.
“It was a hard team effort and a deserved win. The guys against Wolves also took their chance. I’m very happy with the performance and energy. It gives us a big boost for confidence.”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: “The best side won. I’ve got no complaints. In the second half they were by far the better side. We were a bit off in the second half and Chelsea had a better tempo.
“Sometimes people forget there is a vast gap between a team like Chelsea and ourselves, but they really turned up in the second half.
“We do have days when the other teams play well and get a result. It’s all about what happens over the course of the season. You have got to hold a threat and today we didn’t.”
Azpilicueta is Chelsea’s lucky charm – the stats
- Chelsea have claimed four consecutive wins in all competitions against Burnley for the first time since December 1982.
- Burnley have failed to score in seven of their past nine away Premier League games, managing only two goals.
- Thomas Tuchel is the first Chelsea manager to keep a clean sheet in each of his first two Premier League games since Rafael Benitez in 2012.
- Burnley’s first shot did not arrive until the 94th minute – their longest wait for their first shot in a Premier League game.
- Chelsea have yet to lose a league game in which Cesar Azpilicueta has scored (W5 D4).
- Callum Hudson-Odoi has been directly involved in five goals in his past eight starts in all competitions, scoring three and providing two assists.
- Mason Mount (22y 21d) became the youngest English player to make 50 Premier League starts for Chelsea since John Terry in 2002 (21y 124d).
Burnley welcome Pep Guardiola’s league leaders Manchester City to Turf Moor on Wednesday at 18:00 GMT.
Chelsea visit Tottenham – managed by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho – on Thursday at 20:00.
- 6Thiago Silva
- 20Hudson-OdoiSubstituted forJamesat 73′minutes
- 19MountSubstituted forHavertzat 80′minutes
- 9AbrahamSubstituted forPulisicat 45′minutes
- 12BradySubstituted forMumbongoat 76′minutes
- 18WestwoodBooked at 60mins
- 27VydraSubstituted forRodriguezat 57′minutes
- 9WoodSubstituted forGudmundssonat 62′minutes
Match ends, Chelsea 2, Burnley 0.
Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Burnley 0.
Attempt missed. James Tarkowski (Burnley) header from very close range is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Thiago Silva.
Foul by Kai Havertz (Chelsea).
Ashley Westwood (Burnley) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Offside, Chelsea. César Azpilicueta tries a through ball, but Timo Werner is caught offside.
Offside, Burnley. Jóhann Gudmundsson tries a through ball, but Joel Mumbongo is caught offside.
Goal! Chelsea 2, Burnley 0. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Christian Pulisic.
Attempt saved. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kai Havertz.
Substitution, Chelsea. Kai Havertz replaces Mason Mount.
Offside, Chelsea. Thiago Silva tries a through ball, but Reece James is caught offside.
Substitution, Burnley. Joel Mumbongo replaces Robbie Brady.
Attempt missed. Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Jorginho.
Attempt saved. Reece James (Chelsea) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jorginho.
Substitution, Chelsea. Reece James replaces Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Foul by Mason Mount (Chelsea).
Ben Mee (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Attempt missed. Mason Mount (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.