By Paul Lagan at Turf Moor
Burnley v Chelsea
Raheem Sterling sent the best possible on-field message out to England head coach Gareth Southgate – ‘dump me from the squad at your peril’, as the Blues outclassed Burnley 1-4 at Turf Moor.
The Blues head into the international break, with Sterling stuck at the Cobham training ground. He will be licking his wounds, but with the comforting knowledge that his sensational match against Burnley, where he scored a goal and was the architect of the other three will not be lost in the corridors of the FA.
England face Australia in a friendly and then Italy in a Nations League match – both at Wembley.
Burnley simply could not handle the pace and tenacity of Sterling, and justified head coach Mauricio Pochettino to start him rather than out of sorts Mykhailo Mudryk
Chelsea started well enough, on the front foot, breaking free on the right within 15 seconds of the whistle.
Trouble was it was Armando Broja chasing down the right wing. There was no one in the box – it should have been him, so the Albania international, cut the ball back and retained possession which ended back at the half-way line.
But the first real effort of note, came on 14 minutes when Raheem Sterling, playing on the left, cut inside but his shot inched wide of James Trafford’s goal.
Forty five seconds later and the Blues were behind to a counter-attack – notably on Chelsea’s left. The ball was passed to Wilson Serge Eric Odobert, who slotted home a low, left-footer past Robert Sanchez.
Despite this obvious setback, Chelsea continued to play their game – looking lovely in possession, while not being dangerous enough on the Clarets goal.
Marc Cucurella was yellow-carded for a needlessly slash out at Odobert, with Enzo also getting a yellow, presumably for a little bit of wordplay with the referee Stuart Attwell.
Some intricate, wing play by Sterling, on 37 minutes saw the Blues have a shot on goal. It was an angled effort, which Trafford was perfectly placed at his near right post to block and hold.
Good play by both sides.
That good play was rewarded, with a tad piece of luck thrown in, four minutes from the break. Sterling once again produced some excellent wide play. This time his near byline shot took a defection off the luckless Ameen Al Dakhil and the ball looped over the hapless Trafford and the ball nestled into the far side of the net. Thiago Silva got a yellow for blatant obstruction two minutes into the three added on.
The veteran defender remonstrated with Attwell as they walked off the pitch at half-time and apparently head coach Pochettino was also given a yellow for his verbals with the man in black.
Striker Nicolas Jackson, back from a one-match suspension for accumulation of yellow cards replaced Broja at half-time.
Three minutes in to the second half, and live wire Sterling was at it again. He arrowed in to the penalty area. He was upended by Vitinho.
Up stepped Cole Palmer to take the spot kick.
But VAR then intervened for a possible foul, which was ignored and Palmer placed the ball perfectly into the corn er of the net, sending Trafford the wrong way to restore the lead.
Sanchez was called in to action to thwart Hannes Piterson Delcroix, whose thumper on 55 minutes saw the Chelsea goalie tip the goal-bound effort over the crossbar for a corner.
Sterling, who was omitted by the recent England boss for the upcoming internationals, responded with a classic goal on 65 minutes – outrunning the defence and coolly finishing off a low left-footer past Trafford.
Burnley then kicked off before Attwell instantly stopped play as VAR questioned a possible offside.
VAR then said no offside and the Blues were comfortably 1-3 up.
There was simply no stopping Sterling now, and on 75 minutes, the west Londoner’s pace on the left sent shivers down the Burnley defence and justifiably too – he sent the ball across the six-yard box, where Palmer gleefully picked it up, tapped it to in-running Jackson, who, in one fine action, pulled the ball back, created space and the smashed the ball home from close range to make it an unassailable 1-4 score to the visitors.
Teams: Chelsea, Sanchez, Disasi, Cucurella, Silva, Sterling, Enzo, Broja, Palmer, Gallagher, Caicedo, Colwill
Subs: Mudryk, Noni, Jackson, Ugochukwu, Chukwuemeka, Petrovic, Maatsen, Gilchrist, Matos.
Burnley, Trafford, Taylor, Brownhill, Berge, Foster, Vitinho, Cullen, Al Dakhil, Ndayishimiye, Delcroix, Odobert
Subs: Muric, O’Shea, Cork, Rodriguez, Roberts, Ramsey, Amdouni, Koleosho, Larsen
Referee: Stuart Attwell
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