Chelsea recorded their first home win in the Premier League in 2021 as they beat Burnley 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Coming off a disappointing 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in his first match in charge on Wednesday, newly appointed manager Thomas Tuchel got the victory he wanted to kick off his reign in charge of the Blues.
The three points mean that Chelsea move up to seventh in the Premier League ahead of their big clash against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.
The defeat for Burnley, however, sees them fall to 16th, ending their recent winning streak that included impressive victories against Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Story of the match
Thomas Tuchel made four changes to the side that drew with Wolves midweek, as Marcos Alonso, Timo Werner, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham started in place of Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud. This marked Alonso's first appearance in a Chelsea shirt since he was subbed off at half time in the 3-3 draw at West Bromwich Albion in September 2020.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche made two changes from the side that beat Aston Villa 3-2 on Wednesday, with Matej Vydra and former Chelsea academy graduate Jack Cork coming in for Jay Rodriguez and the injured Josh Brownhill.
Burnley started the game in a more attacking way than many expected, but couldn't make their pressure result in any clear cut opportunities. This was not the case for Chelsea, who had an easier time creating chances, with the first real opportunity falling to Marcos Alonso, who couldn't convert Jorginho's cross as he misdirected his header at the back post.
Chelsea managed to control the majority of the first half, and made their pressure pay just before half time, with Callum Hudson-Odoi setting up Cesar Azpilicueta, who fired his shot into the roof of the chance giving Nick Pope no chance in the Burnley goal. Chelsea went into the break 1-0 up.
The emphasis of Tuchel's tactics in the second half was all about counter attacking, enforced by his half time change of bringing on Christian Pulisic for Tammy Abraham. This opened the door for Callum Hudson-Odoi to have more freedom in the second half, and he came close to doubling Chelsea's lead on 55 minutes as he hit the post.
Hudson-Odoi once again was involved in the action 12 minutes later, as his fizzing cross came off Ben Mee, which needed a sublime save from Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope to stop the ball going into his own net.
Even after Hudson-Odoi was replaced with just over 15 minutes to play, Chelsea remained dangerous down their right hand side. Jorginho's lofted pass played in substitute Reece James, whose goal bound effort was saved by the feet of Pope.
Chelsea finally got the second goal they deserved on 83 minutes, as good work from Pulisic on the left set up Marcos Alonso, who controlled and volleyed home from just inside the six yard box. It was Alonso's first goal in nearly a year, and showed Tuchel that it was a risk worth taking bringing him out from the cold and back into the starting XI.
The game finished 2-0 to Chelsea and could have been a lot more, and will bring them great confidence going into their clash against Tottenham on Thursday.
Since moving to a three at the back under Tuchel, Chelsea have found themselves to be more defensively solid, better at the retaining possession of the ball, and more creative in attack. In Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso, they have two players perfectly suited to the way that Tuchel wants to use this Chelsea side. As a right wing back, Hudson-Odoi appears more focussed on creativity and less concerned about getting into the box than he did under Frank Lampard as part of his front three, often off the bench. His deliveries has been excellent and always looks dangerous getting in behind, being his own player rather than focussed on being like Raheem Sterling or Sadio Mane, which was insisted by Lampard. On the other side, Marcos Alonso came into the side to replace Ben Chilwell and looked very comfortable there, despite it being 5 months since his last appearance. A full 90 in the tank, a clean sheet and a goal will do the Spaniard wonders, and both should retain their place in the side for the Tottenham game on Thursday.
Burnley caught out
Burnley pride themselves on keeping it tight at the back, and have delivered some excellent defensive displays at times this season, most notably in their shock 1-0 win at Anfield against Liverpool. And despite Ben Mee and James Tarkowski looking as strong as usual at the back, they still have frailties dealing with width. On numerous occasions, Chelsea managed to break in behind Erik Pieters and Matthew Lowton, with Pieters in particular struggling with dealing with the pace of Hudson-Odoi down his side. Their defensive display can be summed up by Robbie Brady, who was quoted as saying during the match "I know where he [Hudson-Odoi] is, I just can't stop him. What do you want me to do?" (Source: Liam Twomey via Twitter).
Time for Jorginho to get more respect
With the most key passes and chances created in the match, Jorginho delivered one of his best performances of the season, and, alongside Mateo Kovacic, is proving to be a staple of Tuchel's possession based football. Often the scapegoat and considered not good enough by a lot of Chelsea fans, the Italian is continuing to silence his critics and prove his value to the Chelsea team, with the Blues now being unbeaten in their last 15 games that he has started. And while N'Golo Kante will undoubtedly come back into the team once fully fit, it will be very harsh on whoever it is out of Jorginho and Kovacic that drop out the side, as they have both been excellent of late.