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Burnley 0-4 Chelsea, Premier League: Tactical Analysis

A game of 10 minutes and 80 minutes, as Chelsea dispatch Burnley with ease

First half

Burnley started the game well, with great intensity with and without the ball. But after they managed to deny Chelsea’s first few attempts to establish possession, the visitors were eventually able to take control of the game with the ball and go on to create a number of chances to score.

In the opening minutes of the half, Burnley attempted to play with aggression and look to take an early lead to hold onto, rather than trying to stay in the game and save their energy for the closing stages. They would draw Chelsea to press with the ball in midfield, before advancing on the right with numbers. With Defour moving to the right of Tarkowski and Lowton moving forward, they would have two players to draw pressure on the right to open up space for Gudmundsson.

The ball moving over to Defour would pull Chelsea’s central midfielders and wingers forward, before Alonso would need to step forward to pressure the ball up to Lowton. This would then leave space behind for Gudmundsson to run behind and receive the ball, and in turn draw David Luiz out of the box to cover him, leaving Hendrick, Vokes and Brady (the latter free beyond the far post) up against Azpilicueta and Rüdiger inside the box for the cross.

After establishing the high position, Burnley continued to play early crosses into the box and tested Chelsea’s backline constantly, but the Chelsea defenders were able to effectively deal with the pressure and clear the ball.

When Chelsea began to have the ball, Burnley attempted to match Chelsea’s numbers when pressing high inside Chelsea’s half (Cork moving up to cover Jorginho). Arrizabalaga’s composure and quality on the ball was important in these moments to allow Chelsea to keep the ball and find the free man to move the ball up from the back to the final third.

From midfield, Hendrick and Vokes continued to try to pressure the central defenders and prevent the ball going to Jorginho, while Burnley’s block behind them was tight and pressing forward passes. Kanté and Barkley dropping back to receive the ball wide and find passes over to the opposite side, to Jorginho, or to the front three between lines allowed Chelsea to break the pressure, from where they could quickly move forward to create a chance or push Burnley back to their own box.

Chelsea created a number of chances to score in the first half. Willian would accelerate away from defenders with the ball to cross or shoot. Kanté received the ball well between lines and found the right moments to play passes behind for Azpilicueta overlapping, Barkley both drew pressure in towards him and quickly circulated the ball to open spaces between lines and for switches. Rudiger played long diagonal passes behind for Alonso, Willian or Loftus-Cheek on the left. And Jorginho played long passes over the top for Morata. Hart made a number of saves, but Chelsea went into the break with the lead.

Second half

The second half continued with more Chelsea possession and more chances created. Burnley continued to try to pressure with intensity and attack by getting behind Alonso on their right, but they couldn’t create the same situations as they had in the opening minutes since Chelsea’s distances were closer when pressing. Sustaining the pressure on Chelsea’s possession is unrealistic for an entire game, and eventually Chelsea were able to break Burnley down and extend their lead.

Similar to the situation for the first goal, Kanté broke with the ball behind Burnley’s midfield before playing an early ball around the back of the midfielders for Barkley to have the ball ahead of him, and this time he took the shot on and scored Chelsea’s second.

Willian quickly made it 3-0 not long after, and from then on Chelsea’s possession was slower and more patient, where they made a number of long passing sequences to open up Burnley before playing forward to create. Giroud had a few chances to score upon coming on, before Loftus-Cheek scored his fourth goal of the week to make it 4-0.


After Burnley’s good start to the game, Chelsea took control through possession and created a number of chances to score. Their quality with the ball continued in the second half, where they took more of the chances they created than in the first, and would have scored more than four had it not been for a number of saves by Hart.

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