Christian Pulisic struck a perfect hat-trick as Chelsea survived a late scare to beat Burnley 4-2 at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Burnley were the better of the two sides in the first period but found themselves behind by two goals at half-time thanks to a couple of individual errors. Christian Pulisic reaped the rewards, scoring the first with his left foot at the end of a fantastic solo run before finishing off the second goal with his right foot.
Ten minutes into the second half, Pulisic completed his treble, and it was a perfect hat-trick as the new fan favourite converted Mason Mount’s cross with his head. A couple of minutes later, Chelsea were four to the good, with Willian producing a fine finish after being put through on goal by Tammy Abraham.
Burnley did pull two goals back late on through a Jay Rodriguez screamer and a deflected strike by Dwight McNeil. But, it was too little too late, as Chelsea held on for a two-goal win, their seventh on the trot. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Frank Lampard’s win following a largely convicing display.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
A quiet evening for the most part for Kepa, despite spells of Burnley dominance. The Spaniard made three saves in the game, with the stop to keep out Erik Pieters’s deflected shot being the save of the game. Could not have done anything to deny either Jay Rodriguez or Dwight McNeil, with the latter scoring a long-range screamer, while McNeil saw his strike deflect off Fikayo Tomori.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
Up against the tricky McNeil, Azpilicueta had a difficult start to the game, with the Burnley winger asking some tough questions from him. But, as has become the norm this season, the Chelsea captain took no time to find his feet and contain the youngster. Shifted to the left-back slot after the introduction of Reece James and continued remaining solid. Not too influential going forward.
Kurt Zouma: 7/10
Another largely accomplished performance by Zouma. With Burnley taking the game to Chelsea in the first half, the Frenchman combined well with Tomori to ensure Kepa was not troubled much. Dominant in the air, nothing went past him, with Ashley Barnes well contained. Not at fault for either goal that the hosts scored.
Fikayo Tomori: 7/10
Tomori, like Zouma, was solid once again for the most part, especially in a difficult first half, when he did well to keep Rodriguez quiet. In the second half, a last-ditch tackle on Rodriguez stood out, saving a certain goalscoring opportunity. Unlucky to have McNeil’s shot deflecting off him and into the goal. A decent enough performance, nonetheless, by Tomori.
Marcos Alonso: 6.5/10
As was the case against Ajax, Alonso was more solid than he usually is once again, although Burnley found some joy in behind him at times. Linked up well with Christian Pulisic, allowing him space to drift into central areas, but his end product was lacking on the day.
Mateo Kovacic: 8/10
Oh how well has Kovacic performed in the absence of N’Golo Kante this season! Once again, the Croat was colossal in the middle of the park, working his socks off to ensure Chelsea dominated what was an engrossing midfield battle.
Drove the Blues forward when on the ball, boasting a scintillating passing rate of 92 percent while also completing 6 long balls. Lampard will have quite a headache picking his best midfield combination when both Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are at his disposal.
Not as domineering as Chelsea fans have grown accustomed to watching Jorginho this term. The Italian international was still a solid customer in the middle of the park, putting in the crunching tackles in a tight first half and spraying the ball forward when the opportunity presented itself.
The only real blemish in his performance was that he was switched off when Rodriguez had a free run in midfield before unleashing his magnificent strike. A rare poor moment in a consistent season.
Unlike most performances in the last month or so, Willian was unspectacular and seemed to be lacking the cutting edge in the first hour or so, apart from the pass to set Pulisic up for his second goal. But, his finish for Chelsea’s fourth goal was right out the top drawer, with the Brazilian scoring at Turf Moor for a second successive season.
Mason Mount: 7/10
A player who has seen his influence waning in recent games, Mount was back at it on Saturday. His performance will largely go under the radar and perhaps, rightly so, seeing as the night belonged to Pulisic.
But, in a game wherein he was being monitored by Gareth Southgate, the Englishman did very little wrong, keeping things ticking in the final third. Capped off a strong showing with the assist for Pulisic’s third goal, an inch-perfect cross that met its match in the American’s headed finish. Southgate ought to have been left impressed.
Christian Pulisic: 10/10
Specially mentioned in our preview as the player to watch out for, Pulisic was rewarded with a start after a couple of convincing cameos. And, he grabbed his opportunity with both hands, looking in the mood to make the difference from the get-go, when he teed Mount up early on.
A little before the hour mark, Pulisic had indeed made the difference, scoring three goals in a span of 35 minutes. The first, his maiden goal in Chelsea colours, was a superb finish across Nick Pope at the end of a brilliant solo run, after he had won the ball off Matthew Lowton.
21y 38d – Christian Pulisic today became @ChelseaFC‘s youngest hat-trick scorer in Premier League history, beating Tammy Abraham’s record that stood for 42 days. Escalation. pic.twitter.com/UKStkkmkyD
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 26, 2019
The second was a finish with his right foot and the final was a caressed finish with his head to complete the perfect hat-trick, becoming the youngest Chelsea player to net a Premier League treble. Did lose the ball for the first Burnley goal, but that was the only blip in an otherwise perfect night.
Tammy Abraham: 6/10
Yet again, Abraham was not involved a great deal, as his mini dry run continued against Burnley. The only time he had a look-in was when he curled his effort just wide ahead of half-time. Did leave a bit of a mark in the game, providing the assist for Willian’s goal with a well weighted ball. Needs to be in among the goals once again, though.
Reece James: 7/10
With the game in the bag, Lampard threw James on for his second Premier League appearance. And, mere moments after being introduced, the teenager made a double block to stop two goalbound efforts. In just under half-an-hour, the full-back attempted 20 passes, completing each of them. A step in the right direction, his first Premier League start is not too far away.
Olivier Giroud: 6/10
A player who has been starved of minutes this season, this was Giroud’s chance to get himself in the conversation in the wake of Michy Batshuayi’s winner against Ajax. But, apart from being whiskers away from getting a touch on Callum Hudson-Odoi’s pass across the goal, the Frenchman was on the periphery. An opportunity missed.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 5/10
Given the last 20 minutes or so, Hudson-Odoi was a bundle of energy and created a chance just minutes are being subbed in, only to see it evade a touch inside the six-yard area. Thought he had won a penalty late on, only to be booked for diving after intervention from VAR. Now faces a huge challenge for his spot after Pulisic’s exploits on the night.