SAN FRANCISCO, October 31, (THEWILL) – Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech produced a stellar performance as the Blues overcame Burnley 3-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday.
New man Ziyech’s introduction to the Chelsea team was hampered by an injury spell, but he has since blended with the team and followed up his goal in the 4-0 UEFA Champions League win over Russian side Krasnodar in midweek by opening the scoring at Turf Moor.
The game was interesting from the start. In the fifth minute, Burnley’s centre forward Ashley Barnes collided with Senegalese goalie Edouard Mendy after lifting a shot over the goalkeeper and the crossbar. The referee David Coote did not deem it worthy of a penalty.
On another occasion, when Chelsea left back Ben Chilwell was nudged out from under Reece James’ cross by Burnley’s winger Josh Brownhill, the referee similarly waved for play to continue. In the continued play, Nick Pope had to stretch and tip a looping Tammy Abraham header behind.
But the keeper was caught out when Ziyech fired a low drive from the edge of the box that nutmegged central midfielder Dale Stephens and found the bottom-right corner in the 26th minute.
Burnley’s centre back James Tarkowski made an important intervention to deny Werner a tap-in in the first period, but he was lost at sea when Zouma rose to steer Mason Mount’s corner into the net in the 63rd minute.
The hosts had come unravelled at that point and after Ashley Westwood’s cross-field ball was intercepted by James, Ziyech slid a pass through for Werner to put the game to bed in the 70th minute.
Chelsea have now kept a clean sheet in each of their past four outings and have now achieved back-to-back clean sheets on the road in the top flight for the first time since October 2018.
Mendy replacing Kepa Arrizabalaga has helped tighten things up. The ex-Rennes keeper appears to be emulating club great Petr Cech, who, in August 2004, was the last Blues keeper to avoid conceding in each of his first three Premier League appearances.
There are improvements in front of goal too. Ziyech is the first Chelsea player since Diego Costa in 2014 to score in both of his first two starts. He also provided a display of the range of passing that makes him such a threat from the wing.
The Clarets delivered nine crosses from open play but failed to register a single shot on target. Of their five attempts, only one of them came from inside the box. Sean Dyche’s side lacks a cohesive plan going forward and a trip to Turf Moor no longer represents the tough challenge it used to.
In their next game, Chelsea are back in action in Europe at home to Rennes on Wednesday. For Burnley, a Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday awaits.