Burnley 0 Chelsea 4: Havertz continues red-hot form with Lukaku benched again as James and Pulisic get in on rout

FOR sale one minute, four star the next…and proof that Thomas Tuchel clearly has the magic touch when it comes to half-time ear-bashings.

Whatever the German says to his team at the break, it certainly does the trick, as Chelsea turned on the second half style.

In midweek they hit two at Luton to book their place in the last eight of the FA Cup. At Turf Moor it was even more impressive.

Two from Kai Havertz, and one apiece for Reece James and Christian Pulisic – three of which came in a sensational eight-minute spell – were far too much for Burnley to handle.

It also proved Tuchel was right to believe that all the talk over owner Roman Abramovich’s decision to put the club up for sale wouldn’t derail his team after all.

Yet don’t think this was a stroll in the park – or the Moor – for Chelsea. For half the game at least it was anything but.

No-one enjoys ruffling glamorous feathers as much as the Clarets…and boy didn’t they show it again with the way they set about the fat-cats from London.

To be fair, Sean Dyche didn’t really need to put too much thought into his pre-match team-talk. The result from the lunchtime kick off at Leicester had done that for him.

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Reece James opened the scoring for ChelseaCredit: Reuters
Reece James celebrates his openerCredit: PA

Indeed, it meant that victory would have taken the Clarets over both them and Everton. And for so much of the first half they looked the likelier winners, too.

Yet Dwight McNeil will be kicking himself for the rest of the season as to how the best of their chances didn’t end up in the net.

It came on half an hour, as Chelsea overdid their determination to play out from the back and Burnley snapped into yet another challenge.

Ashley Westwood’s ball into the box was shanked so much you imagine it had snow on it by the time it came down.

Maybe all the waiting did for Edouard Mendy, but as he jumped above Jay Rodriguez to punch clear, his connection was even more mistimed than the cross.

It was a gift from the Gods as it dropped at the feet of McNeil, who controlled with his right boot…only to dink over a keeper-free net with his left.

Of all the Clarets’ rough diamonds, the left-sided midfielder is the biggest gem of all. Suffice to say there have been days when he has shone a lot more than he did in this one.

He took a touch too many after Wout Weghorst sent him away, when he should really have at least drew a save from Mendy.

Not his finest few minutes of the season. Mind you, it wasn’t going to get any better for McNeil or his colleagues, as that quickfire second half treble proved.

And certainly not as cool a head as Thiago Silva was, in saving the day when Weghorst’s sidefooted volley had beaten Mendy.

But the more those chances came and went, the more you suspected Burnley would regret them.

Chelsea surely had to improve once Tuchel sent them back out with a few choice words ringing in their ears. And guess what…

Mind you, not even their German gaffer could have hoped for quite such an emphatic response, with the points were on the board and the cue back in the rack ten minutes after the restart.

Strike one came when Trevor Chalobah rolled a standard pass to his right and, to be honest, there was no obvious danger when he picked out James.

Yet he edged his way into the box and after turning McNeil inside out twice, he shot across keeper Pope and into the far corner.

It was the sweetest of moments for the wing back, making his first start since late December, and two months of battling a hamstring injury.

But it was to get even better for James and his pals almost immediately, when he traded passes twice with Christian Pulisic.

And when the American floated an inviting ball over the head of Connor Roberts, Pope was on his heels as Havertz nodded into the huge gap he had left at the near post.

A couple of minutes later Havertz had doubled up, improvising his finish from no more than five yards, with James once more involved, this time with a drilled low delivery.

Burnley were stunned, and Weghorst’s frustration showed when he snapped into a challenge that left James writhing and holding his left Achilles.

Still, the best response is pointing to the scoreboard as they say. And 20 minutes from time James could do that again, after a fourth that summed up Burnley’s miserable afternoon.

Saul Niguez’ cross would never have reached Pulisic had James Tarkowski not inadvertently teed it up as he tried to cut out the cross.

The Chelsea striker looked almost embarrassed to score as he smashed it in from bang in front.

Game over…how could anyone have ever doubted them?

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