Emphatic finishes from Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso gave Thomas Tuchel his first victory as Chelsea head coach against a below-par Burnley.
Captain Azpilicueta – the longest-serving player in the team – drilled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s lay-off high past Nick Pope just before half-time in the Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Azpilicueta’s fellow Spanish defender Alonso added a classy second late on, skilfully controlling a Christian Pulisic cross before lashing a volley over Pope at his near post.
The impressive Hudson-Odoi was unlucky not to score in between with a shot that was deflected on to a post by Burnley defender Erik Pieters.
Chelsea comfortably registered a second successive clean sheet under Tuchel, whose first game was the midweek goalless draw with Wolves, as Burnley did not manage a shot on target.
The only downside for Tuchel was Timo Werner’s failure to score for a 12th league game as Chelsea climbed three places to seventh in the table, while Burnley remain 15th.
Old faces welcome Tuchel’s new era
No players in Tuchel’s starting line-up have been at Chelsea longer than Azpilicueta, a 2012 signing from Marseille, and Alonso, who arrived four years later from Fiorentina.
It was strangely fitting that an Azpilicueta goal should christen the Tuchel era given he was the only member of Chelsea’s current crop to play alongside predecessor Frank Lampard as well as under him.
Azpilicueta’s goal was reminiscent of Lampard’s habit of appearing in the penalty area at the right time, crowning a flowing break by overlapping Hudson-Odoi and firing into the roof of the net.
It was Azpilicueta’s first goal in more than a year and, while Alonso’s effort was not quite as surprising given his propensity to find the net, his mere inclusion in Tuchel’s side was an eye-opener given he had not played for more than four months.
Recalled in place of Ben Chilwell, Alonso produced a superb piece of skill, chesting down Pulisic’s centre and taking another touch on his knee before unleashing a powerful volley.
The finish gave the scoreline a fairer slant with Chelsea dominant, attempting 19 shots to Burnley’s one, and Hudson-Odoi a menace throughout.
Chelsea remain three places and four points off the Champions League spots but this display – against a Burnley side that had been in fine form – will give Tuchel belief that the gap can be bridged.
More to follow.
- 6Thiago Silva
- 20Hudson-OdoiSubstituted forJamesat 73′minutes
- 19MountSubstituted forHavertzat 80′minutes
- 9AbrahamSubstituted forPulisicat 45′minutes
- 12BradySubstituted forMumbongoat 76′minutes
- 18WestwoodBooked at 60mins
- 27VydraSubstituted forRodriguezat 57′minutes
- 9WoodSubstituted forGudmundssonat 62′minutes
- Graham Scott
Match ends, Chelsea 2, Burnley 0.