The new arrivals Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner were on the scoresheet and established performers such as Reece James and N’Golo Kanté were also impressive as Burnley found themselves outclassed and Chelsea moved up to fourth.
Tottenham had to work extremely hard for a win here the start of the week, but a star-studded and fluent Chelsea side made it look easy. Burnley were never in the contest, Chelsea’s passing rendering their usual physicality and directness superfluous, and though he will not find himself up against lavishly funded Champions League teams every week, Sean Dyche must be worried with only a point to show from six matches and no goals scored at home.
“I enjoyed watching that, it was a really complete performance,” Frank Lampard said. “You always have to defend your box well here and we did that, but some of our passing and movement was really pleasing as well. You can see we are developing as a side. We were a lot more positive and aggressive in our play.”
Dyche did not disagree. “The best side won,” he said. “If you let a team of Chelsea’s calibre get their nose in front it’s difficult. If you let them get it a long way in front it’s incredibly difficult.”
Burnley almost got off to a flying start when Ashley Barnes stayed onside to collect Matt Lowton’s diagonal ball behind Kurt Zouma. After a reasonable first touch one would have put money on the striker to at least hit the target with only Édouard Mendy to beat, yet in lifting the ball over the goalkeeper Barnes managed to clear the bar as well.
The afternoon had already begun badly for the visitors when Christian Pulisic was injured in the warm-up, necessitating Timo Werner’s promotion from the bench to the left of Chelsea’s front three.
Werner, Kai Havertz, James and Ziyech laid siege to the Burnley penalty area in the first half-hour, testing the defensive resolve with a series of penetrating passes and crosses, most of them aimed at Tammy Abraham in the middle.
The centre-forward brought the first save from Nick Pope with a looping header and might have opened the scoring midway through the first half but for an alert block by Charlie Taylor. It was when Abraham laid the ball off with his back to goal that Chelsea made the breakthrough. Ziyech shot first time to beat a possibly unsighted Pope from the edge of the area and register his first Premier League goal.
Pope will be unhappy at failing to keep out a less than thunderous strike, though he could only have seen the ball late as the shot came through Dale Stephens’s legs.
Dyche made an attacking substitution at half-time, sending on a third striker in Jay Rodriguez in place of the toiling Stephens. It made little difference. Mason Mount brought a save from Pope after a spellbinding passing sequence with half a dozen Chelsea players finding and re-finding each other with impudent ease. It was the sort of free-flowing football that deserved a more incisive conclusion. Mount’s shot, when it came, was from the edge of the box.
For all their superiority Chelsea needed a second goal, a fact emphasised when Barnes shot wide and James Tarkowski too high around the hour mark.
When it came, just a couple of minutes after those Burnley chances, it was not from flowing football but from their opposition’s inability to defend a set piece, something an old centre-half like Dyche will find infuriating. Mount swung over a corner from the right and though Chris Wood got a touch it was not decisive and in no way hampered an unmarked Zouma’s ability to score with a firm header.
It soon got worse for the home side as Ashley Westwood’s pass down the left was pounced on by James, who found Ziyech for a perfectly measured pass to set Werner free in the area. The former Leipzig player had time to transfer the ball to his right foot to give an exposed Pope no chance and suddenly Burnley were looking at a hiding.
Though that never happened – Olivier Giroud being correctly flagged for offside after beating Pope with a fine finish – Chelsea are flying high again. Burnley are still looking for their first win and it is Manchester City next.