Barkley jogs mem­o­ries as Chelsea sweep Burn­ley aside

Brady starts for home side but Sarri’s ti­tle con­tenders are in ram­pant form

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer - LOUISE TAY­LOR at Turf Moor

Ross Barkley rev­elled in jog­ging a few mem­o­ries as Chelsea re­asserted their ti­tle cre­den­tials in the shadow of the Pen­nines moors ris­ing above Burn­ley’s home.

At the start of the sea­son few ex­pected the for­mer Eng­land mid­fielder to force him­self into Mau­r­izio Sarri’s mid­field plans so ef­fec­tively but in scor­ing a fine goal and creat­ing an­other, Barkley em­pha­sised that he is no longer a for­got­ten man.

His per­for­mance helped a ruth­less Chelsea to rise to sec­ond place on a day when Sean Dy­che’s play­ers – among them, the re­turn­ing Rob­bie Brady – were sim­ply not al­lowed to stick to the game­plan which, for a short while, promised to serve them well.

Burn­ley’s man­ager is held in such high re­gard in this part of the east Lan­cashire that a lo­cal pub has changed its name in his honour. Half a mile down the road from Turf Moor, the Princess Royal has be­come the Royal Dy­che and its pa­trons would surely have been cheered by the fe­ro­cious tempo ini­tially es­tab­lished by the home side.

Back trou­ble

When Kepa Ar­riz­a­bal­aga flapped at a cou­ple of Brady crosses in the bril­liant early-af­ter­noon sun­shine Dy­che’s game­plan looked to be work­ing to per­fec­tion. Chelsea looked more than a lit­tle rat­tled. Then the vis­i­tors be­gan pulling them­selves to­gether and, as if anx­ious to is­sue a re­minder that they are far from a one-man team, started show­ing pre­cisely how good they could be in Eden Haz­ard’s ab­sence.

Back trou­ble had once again side­lined the Bel­gian cre­ator but even with­out Haz­ard, Joe Hart was soon called to arms. In­deed the for­mer Eng­land goal­keeper did very well to palm away a header from Ál­varo Mo­rata dis­patched af­ter Barkley’s mis­cued shot had bounced up into his path.

Chelsea were set­tling into a con­vinc­ingly co­he­sive pas­sand-move groove and Wil­lian soon hit a post. Within min­utes Sarri’s side were ahead as Hart proved pow­er­less to re­pel Mo­rata’s right-foot shot un­leashed in the wake of Barkley’s splen­did through pass.

As a Mo­rata shot whizzed marginally wide of a post, the mag­nif­i­cently rugged moor­land be­yond Burn­ley’s tightly ter­raced streets had be­come in­creas­ingly cloudy. It seemed a metaphor for Burn­ley’s af­ter­noon.

Fall­ing over

Turf Moor’s col­lec­tive mood was hardly im­proved by Mo­rata’s pen­chant for fall­ing over at the most fleet­ing of con­tact. How the home fans cheered when the Chelsea striker volleyed an invit­ing chance straight at Hart and how they booed as Mo­rata col­lapsed in the face of a strong but de­cent look­ing James Tarkowski tackle and im­me­di­ately de­manded a penalty. Tarkowski and Matthew Low­ton im­me­di­ately squared up to the striker.

Per­haps chan­nelling their an­noy­ance, Burn­ley upped their con­cen­tra­tion lev­els and be­gan clos­ing Chelsea down rather more as­sid­u­ously. If their aim was to turn the game scrappy, they were suc­ceed­ing. As the now low sun made a re-ap­pear­ance, David Luiz was has­sled and har­ried into a few lit­tle er­rors and, temporarily at least, the Chelsea lead looked frag­ile.

Chelsea, though, had very dif­fer­ent ideas and de­lighted in re-em­pha­sis­ing their class with a sec­ond goal. Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté had taken a firm grasp of mid­field and the lat­ter cued up Barkley for an im­mac­u­lately struck left-foot shot from 22 yards.

Hart had barely col­lected the ball from the back of his net be­fore he was re­triev­ing it once more. This time Barkley was the cre­ator, his de­liv­ery en­abling Wil­lian to cut in from the left, shift the ball on to his right and send a shot curv­ing im­pe­ri­ously be­yond Hart from just out­side the area. – Guardian ser­vice

PHO­TO­GRAPH: NIGEL RODDIS/GETTY

Rob­bie Brady made his re­turn to ac­tion af­ter 10 months side­lined with in­jury.

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