Giant killing Burnley was no more after their visit to Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea outplayed and outclassed the visiting side en route to a fluid and entertaining 3-0 victory. Chelsea’s movement across the pitch was exceptional, the midfield combinations exciting and the quality of passing at times was exquisite, as Anelka, Ballack and a rare Ashley Cole goal gave Chelsea the points. Were it not for an inspired performance from Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen, the Blues could have run up a cricket score.
Rotation is the name of the game these days, and Ancelotti made two changes from the side that beat Fulham, re-introducing Michael Essien and Deco, in place of John Obi Mikel and Florent Malouda. Essien would play deep in midfield, with Ballack and Lampard on either side, whilst Deco and Anelka supported Drogba in attack. Burnley were unchanged from the side that beat Everton.
It took just six minutes for Jensen to save the visiting side. Anelka picked up a loose ball and raced to goal, but as he tried to round the goalkeeper, Jensen was able to smother the ball and prevent a certain goal. It was a wake up call for Burnley, who moments later, spurned what proved to be their best chance of the match. Elliot robbed Frank Lampard on the edge of the Chelsea box, only for Patterson to screw his shot dreadfully wide, with Cech scrambling.
Twenty minutes in and Jensen was at the fore again, this time denying Ballack. A neat pass from Deco found the German in the box, and after turning Andre Bikey, he found the gigantic frame of Jensen bearing down on him, the shot striking the goalkeeper’s arm and going out for a corner.
Jensen then made two sharp reactions saves within a couple of minutes, firstly denying a fierce John Terry volley from a corner, and then saving from Frank Lampard’s close range effort, also from a Chelsea corner. However, in stoppage time, Chelsea’s banging on the door finally reaped its rewards as Burnley caved in. Michael Essien’s glorious forty yard pass released Drogba, who looking up, squared to his strike partner Anelka, who finished from close range despite the attention of Clarke Carlisle. Together, the Anelka-Drogba axis is beginning to look quite fearsome.
Two nil came just a minute into the second half. Good work from Lampard down the left saw him stand a cross up to the back post, where Michael Ballack was on hand to head past Jensen. After waiting for most of last season to break his league duck, Ballack has now scored twice already this season, having netted at Sunderland two games previous to this.
Three nil was a mere formality, and came just five minutes after Ballack’s header. Ashley Cole was marauding with more and more frequency down the left, and after playing a neat one-two with Lampard, rifled a smoking left footed volley into the top corner, leaving Jensen for once stranded. It was just the third goal of his Chelsea career for Cole and easily his best. His badge banging celebration made it clear to all that he truly is now a Chelsea blue.
Nicolas Anelka struck the bar a few moments later from a tight angle after being picked out by the brilliant Michael Ballack. The German captain seems to have really found a niche on the right hand side of Ancelotti’s midfield and he is proving to be a steady influence with his two footed range of passing, his eye for a goal and his tactical intuition.
Joey Gudjonsson made his entrance as a substitute for Burnley, and likewise for Chelsea, Juliano Belletti made his first league appearance of the season, replacing Jose Bosingwa at right back to loud cheers from the Stamford Bridge faithful.
McDonald and Kalou came on for Alexander and Drogba for their respective sides, in between two more saves from Jensen, both to deny Michael Essien. From the second save, a corner resulted, where Jensen’s lightning quick reactions saw him tip over Ballack’s glancing header.
Guerrero replaced Blake and Mikel replaced Ballack as the game drew to a close, though there was time for one more moment of goal mouth action. Deco’s clever ball released the lively substitute Kalou, who lobbed Jensen with panache, only for Tyrone Mears to somehow clear the ball off the line. A fourth goal would not have been undeserved for a rampant Chelsea.
John Terry became our eighth highest appearance maker ever, with 410, level with the great Eddie McCreadie, whilst Petr Cech became our third highest foreign appearance maker, with 225. Neither were unduly troubled as our perfect start to the season continued.
Chelsea (4-3-2-1): Cech; Bosingwa (Belletti 65), Carvalho, Terry (c), A Cole; Ballack (Mikel 82), Essien, Lampard; Anelka, Deco; Drogba (Kalou 75).
Manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Burnley Jensen; Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Jordan; Alexander (c) (McDonald 73); Fletcher, Elliott, McCann, Blake (Guerrero 77); Paterson (Gudjonsson 58).
Manager Owen Coyle.
Referee Mark Clattenburg.