It says much for Chelsea’s lame title defence that this was the first time they had won consecutive games in the Premier League since December. As has often been the case this season, it was still not an evening without complications.
Chelsea deserved their victory. On the whole they played the better football and went about their work with a greater gusto than a Burnley team that did not always reach recent standards.
An own goal from Burnley defender Kevin Long gave Chelsea the lead in the first half and Antonio Conte’s team survived a fortuitous equaliser from Burnley’s Ashley Barnes shortly after the hour to win the game a moment or two later thanks to a low right foot shot from wing back Victor Moses.
Victor Moses of Chelsea scores a goal to put his side ahead against Burnley on Thursday night in the Premier League clash
Moses fired a low-driven, right-footed shot past Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope just minutes after they were pegged back
Moses celebrates with Alvaro Morata, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro after restoring Chelsea’s lead in the second half
Burnley’s Ashley Barnes (right) scores his side’s first goal of the game against Chelsea on Thursday night in the league match
Barnes celebrates scoring the equaliser after he got a touch on Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s shot in the 64th minute
Burnley’s Barnes celebrates scoring their first goal with team-mates which made it 1-1 in the second half of the match
This was not, however, a good night for Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata and how many times have we said that this season?
Paired up front in an old fashioned partnership with Olivier Giroud, this looked and felt a little bit like an audition for an FA Cup semi-final place up front against Southampton on Sunday. If that was the case then surely Giroud will play.
The Frenchman was industrious all night and showed a sure touch and sound awareness. He carried a threat.
MATCH FACTS, LIVE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon (Wells 87), Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Barnes, Wood (Vokes 72).
Subs not used: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Hendrick, Bardsley.
Goals: Barnes (64)
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger, Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Emerson (Zappacosta 84), Pedro, Morata (Hazard 71), Giroud.
Subs not used: Caballero, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Christensen.
Goals: Long own-goal (20) Moses (69)
Referee: Robert Madley
Moses’ cross was turned into his own net by Burnley defender Kevin Long to give Chelsea the lead heading into half-time
Burnley’s Long reacts after scoring an own goal and the first for Chelsea inside the opening 20 minutes of the game
Chelsea took the lead early in the first half and secured a 2-1 victory over Burnley to move to within five points of fourth place
Chelsea’s Moses celebrates with team-mates after Burnley’s Long scores an own goal to put the Blues 1-0 up early in match
Morata, on the other hand, missed a golden chance to score with the score at 1-0 and was then involved with a verbal exchange with Burnley fans on being replaced by Eden Hazard with 20 minutes to go.
Morata had run hard but his confidence is clearly on the floor. With one league goal to his name since Chelsea won those two games against Brighton and Stoke at Christmas, it would be no surprise if we hardly see him again this season.
On leaving the field, it was easy to understand his frustration. The supporters are very close to the dug outs at Burnley and Morata could clearly hear everything that was coming his way as he made his way off the field, even if he couldn’t necessarily understand it.
Morata missed a good chance to double Chelsea’s lead in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Pope in the second half of the game
Morata beat Pope but his effort was just wide of the post and the striker was replaced shortly after by Eden Hazard
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte greets striker Morata as he is substituted off for Hazard in the 71st minute of the match
That, though, was not really the former Juventus and Real Madrid forward’s low moment of the evening. That had arrived in the 56th minute.
With Burnley playing some better football than they had in the first half, Chelsea were glad to escape up field from a corner for the home side and when N’Golo Kante spotted Morata on the charge he sent him clear with a lovely pass.
Morata’s pace was terrific as he quickly put distance between himself and those in pursuit. But when he reached the penalty area he made the wrong decision and paid a price. Giroud had made ground to his left and had the goal at his mercy had his partner supplied a pass.
However, Morata is no doubt aware of how poor his goal return has been since he hit the ground running back in the autumn and tried to beat Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope only to thud his shot wide and into the hoardings next to the goal.
That moment probably summed up Morata’s season in the Premier League. Much of what he did was good but when it mattered the end result was not what it should have been.
So we will expect to see Morata on the bench at Wembley as many of the six players rested by Conte return for what is now the biggest game of their season. Chelsea still have an outside chance of a top-four place but that is all it is.
Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger controls the ball under pressure from Burnley’s Aaron Lennon during the Premier League clash
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud in action with Burnley’s Long during the league match on Thursday night at Turf Moor
Burnley manager Sean Dyche and Chelsea manager Conte on the touchline during the first half of the league match
Conte in his technical area during the first half of the match where he saw his side take an early lead against Burnley
Here they were impressive in the first half particularly with Giroud happy to drop off the Burnley back four, turn with the ball and look to play team-mates in on goal. Twice he managed it in the first 20 minutes and on one of those occasions Morata eased clear to bring a low save from Pope as he shot right-footed across goal.
Chelsea pressure suggested a goal would come but when it arrived in the 20th minute it was a little lucky. A cross from the overlapping Moses should have been cleared but Pope could only palm the ball onto Long and it rebounded back in to the goal.
On an evening still warmed by some surprisingly hot April weather, Burnley looked at times as though they were already on holiday.
But they did rouse themselves either side of the break and equalised in the 64th minute when Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s speculative long-range shot struck Barnes and flew into the net.
Chelsea appealed for offside but Barnes was just the right side of his defender. Minutes later it was forgotten anyway as a left wing cross passed in front of the Burnley goal and Moses controlled the ball and drove it low past Pope to the goalkeeper’s left.
Burnley’s English striker Barnes (right) vies with Chelsea’s German defender Rudiger during the first half of the game
Emerson Palmieri of Chelsea crosses the ball under pressure from Matthew Lowton of Burnley during the first half
Giroud (left) and Burnley’s Jack Cork (right) in action as Chelsea headed into the break 1-0 up in the match away from home