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Burnley 2-4 Chelsea, Premier League: Tactical Analysis

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Clinical Blues win seventh straight

First half

Burnley made an aggressive, high pressure start to the match, creating a direct and transitional game. Chelsea had to compete with many long balls in the air (Zouma often challenging with his strength in the air) and were forced to play long up to their frontline when under pressure themselves — unable to maintain possession of the ball to move forward. Burnley could maintain a higher position up the field in this type of game, and set pieces to create chances from, but couldn’t sustain such intensity throughout the half.

During moments of broken play, Chelsea would cause Burnley a lot of problems with the ball, both when recovering the ball from throw-ins (Burnley narrow and all on the one wing, allowing direct attacks at their backline) and when recovering the ball between midfield and defensive lines from forward passes. Similar to the game last season, Chelsea created and scored by recovering the ball from a throw-in.

After taking the lead, Chelsea began to have a few more moments of possession from midfield and created chances when they pushed up in their own half and played through Burnley’s moments of high pressure. Burnley would also create chances during this period, both by attacking Chelsea’s box with numbers in open play (fullbacks both high, front four joining box, central midfielders moving wide to play early crosses into the box from deep) and through set pieces, missing crucial opportunities to equalise before halftime.

Instead, Chelsea would be the team to score again before halftime by recovering the ball high up from Burnley’s attempted forward pass into midfield, which presented Pulisic with opportunity to once again drive at Burnley’s backline and score his second of the game.

Second half

Burnley again started the half aggressively with high pressure and playing on the front foot inside Chelsea’s half. Barnes had another opportunity to score from Cork’s ball over the top of Chelsea’s backline, but he and Burnley again failed to take advantage of their strong moment. Instead, Chelsea were clinical at the other end to score from the second delivery of a corner (Pulisic header for his hat-trick), and then by playing through Burnley’s high pressing to find Abraham between lines and Willian in the final third — scoring Chelsea’s fourth before the 60th minute.

Burnley continued to create opportunities in the final third only to be denied by individual defensive moments from Chelsea’s defenders to recover or block shots. Chelsea meanwhile continued to both keep the ball under Burnley’s high pressure and break through it to create opportunities in the final third. Burnley broke from deep in their own half twice during the final stage of the game to finally score two long shots, but it was too little too late.

Burnley vs. Chelsea xG Timing Chart
Understat

Conclusion

Burnley made an aggressive start to both halves, and had moments of high play inside Chelsea’s half throughout the game. They missed crucial chances during these moments, which would cost them. Chelsea were clinical when recovering the ball high up and Pulisic created a lot of problems running with the ball at Burnley’s backline before scoring two of his goals in the first half. Chelsea would again score two quick goals after a missed chance for Burnley at the start of the second half, which would be enough to kill the game before the hour mark.