Chelsea bring Burnley back to earth with 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea maintained their blistering start to the Barclays Premier League season, defeating Burnley 3-0 at Stamford Bridge to go top of the ladder.

The Blues chalked up their fourth successive win under new Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti thanks to goals from Nicolas Anelka, Michael Ballack and Ashley Cole.

Ancelotti will have been thrilled by Chelsea's patience, as much as their panache.

The scoreline might look comfortable, but the title hopefuls were frustrated until deep into first-half stoppage-time, when Anelka finally broke through Burnley's defence.

Ultimately, however, this was a deserved victory against a side who had already beaten Manchester United and Everton this season.

"I am very happy," Ancelotti said.

"We have improved the confidence of our play and we are very happy. All the players are in very good condition.

"Every week we work to play well and for a coach it's important that we play good football. That's the most important thing of all because it means we are on the right way as a club.

"At the moment, I propose an idea and the players then develop this idea. They are doing this very well now.

"I know we have the possibility to win the title but the season is very long. It will be difficult, for sure, but we have the possibility to step up."

Burnley had travelled south with a spring in their step, but this defeat will serve as a reminder to Owen Coyle's promoted team that the top flight can be an unforgiving environment.

Coyle, however, refused to overreact in the aftermath, knowing that six points out of a possible 12 represents a reasonable return in their first season in the top flight.

"I have a remarkable group, and Brian (Jensen) is a very good keeper," Coyle said.

"He responds to everything we are doing and is an integral part of our group.

"I was never worried that the score would get out of hand because this group will always give us everything they have.

"We have been taught a bit of a lesson by Chelsea but the fact that we have come here and are disappointed with being beaten is a measure of how far we've come."

The only disappointment for Ancelotti was that his side did not bolster their goal difference by an even greater margin, and Anelka, for one, could have helped himself to a hatful in the first half alone.

Having already seen a low shot saved by Jensen, the Frenchman had an even more inviting chance in the third minute, when he snaffled possession from Tyrone Mears and burst clear. He ignored the waiting Didier Drogba in favour of trying to round Jensen, who saved at his feet.

But Anelka was not the only striker in a generous mood. Burnley's Martin Paterson was equally culpable in the 10th minute when he squandered a glorious chance to put the visitors into a shock lead.

After Frank Lampard had inexplicably gifted the ball to Mears, the full-back sprinted clear and picked out Paterson with a square pass. The Northern Irishman simply had to roll into the corner, but directed his shot just wide.

That, however, was a rare moment of threat from Burnley, who were reliant on Jensen to hold back the blue tide almost single-handedly.

He produced another magnificent stop to deny Ballack, after the German had been teed up by Lampard, and then reacted smartly to block a close-rangrtly to block a close-range volley from John Terry.

When Lampard then saw an almost identical chance fisted away, Chelsea might have feared the worst.
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They need not have worried. With Burnley eying the clock as it ticked into stoppage time, Michael Essien split their defence to release Drogba and the Ivorian's cross was bundled in at the back post by Anelka.

That left Burnley's hopes of snaffling a pont hanging by a thread and they were dashed entirely moments after the re-start, when Lampard's chipped cross into a crowded penalty area was headed in by the diving Ballack.

A two-goal cushion allowed Chelsea to relax and play some picture-book football. A particularly pretty move in the 52nd minute led to the third goal, Lampard's lofted pass allowing Cole to flash a first-time volley over the diving Jensen for just his third strike in three years.

From then on, Burnley's efforts were devoted to simply keeping the score down.

They succeeded, partly through Chelsea's profligacy - Anelka clipped the top of the bar when it looked easier to score - and also through Jensen, who produced outstanding saves to deny Essien, twice, and Ballack.

Mears also cleared an effort from Salomon Kalou off the line in the dying seconds, but by then the match was long decided.

Agence France-Presse
Chelsea bring Burnley back to earth with 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge Chelsea bring Burnley back to earth with 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge Reviewed by Sopheap Chhin on 8:11:00 PM Rating: 5

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