TALKING POINTS: Burnley 0, Chelsea 3
Burnley remain without a win six games into the Premier League season, after Chelsea cruised to victory at Turf Moor.
The Clarets are bottom of the pile with one point from 18, after failing to lay a glove on Frank Lampard’s Blues, who scored through Hakim Ziyech, Kurt Zouma and Timo Werner, and could have had more.
Here are the talking points from the game:
With Johann Berg Gudmundsson out with a calf problem, we waited to see whether Robbie Brady came in like for like, or whether Josh Brownhill was moved out narrow on the right, with Dale Stephens coming into the middle.
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It was the latter, but bar the opening 10 minutes, when Burnley played with a good tempo and urgency, Stephens was a passenger, and Brownhill and Dwight McNeil were pushed back by Chelsea’s marauding full backs.
It wasn’t until Sean Dyche shifted to more of a 4-2-3-1 just before half-time, that the Clarets stemmed the flow and provided a glimpse of a threat.
Jay Rodriguez came on for Stephens at the break, and the pattern continued, but a second Chelsea goal killed any momentum.
I asked Dyche whether, in hindsight, he would have started in a 4-2-3-1, and he said: "We didn't get a grip of it first half, we changed it and it had an effect, and I wanted to explore the idea of whether we could get three of our four centre forwards on the pitch, and until the second goal, I thought it had an effect again.
"Without making loads of chances, we looked stronger and like we could affect them a little bit more.
"The second goal kills us.”
We asked the question after Rodriguez’s introduction changed the game at Aston Villa this rime last year, but is the 4-2-3-1 the way forward?
You retain your back four, and it doesn’t prevent the full backs getting forward, the central midfield two remains the same, but you get McNeil able to roam and get on the ball in between the lines, while you have a number of outballs - diagonals to Rodriguez and Ashley Barnes against the full backs, and Wood through the middle.
With the wide struggling for goals, maybe the solution will be to get more forwards on the pitch.
LACK OF GOALS
Burnley have now scored once in five league games, and only three in six so far this season.
The last time the Clarets failed to score in their opening three league games, it was the start of Chris Waddle’s ill-fated season in charge in 1997/98.
That season, Burnley didn’t score at all until the seventh league game, as Paul Barnes put them ahead at former club York City, who came back to win 3-1.
The Clarets recovered from a poor first half of the season to stay up on the final day, and it looks like it will be a similarly tough campaign ahead.
But while it took the signing of Andy Payton, swapped for Barnes, and introduction of Glen Little to inspire that season, Burnley have strikers who have proved they are capable of double figures at this level.
So far, they have struggled to take their chances.
The worry on Saturday was that there was little in the way of creativity.
Barnes lifted an early opening over, before being clattered by Edouard Mendy - more of that later - but that was about it, other than Barnes hammering a shot just wide on the turn in the second half.
When you are shipping soft goals and struggling to create, it is a recipe for disaster, and that has to change.
CONCEDING FROM CORNERS
If Burnley get carved open by £50m-plus players, you can almost hold your hand up and accept it.
But conceding from set plays is a concern.
It is an area where the Clarets are usually so strong, in both boxes, but they have now lost key goals from corners in successive games.
It is the start of a problematic pattern, or coincidence? Time will tell.
As Dyche noted: “Two in two games now (from corners) is not pleasing.
"There's a bit of luck involved, but after that it's really tough.”
There was a bit of luck in Zouma’s goal, as it basically hit him after taking a nick off Chris Wood and flew in.
However, as with Son Heung-min’s winner on Monday night, he wasn’t effectively marked, and that is an area where improvement is required.
When Burnley conceded a number of goals from set plays in 2014/15, Dyche, rightly, pointed at the quality of delivery and movement, but the Clarets are more streetwise these days, and shouldn’t be giving themselves a mountain to climb by conceding in that manner.
WHAT IS A PENALTY?
Now, no one is claiming Burnley would have gone on and won the game, or even got a point, but an incident early in the game had Dyche, and myself, scratching our heads.
Matt Lowton lifts a ball over Zouma, and Barnes takes a touch, and, as Mendy comes out, lifts the ball well over the bar.
It was a great chance, but, just after Barnes connects, Mendy slides in and clatters the striker.
Barnes doesn’t appeal, it wasn’t mentioned in commentary, but, had it happened anywhere else on the pitch, it would have been a foul, so why wasn’t it a penalty?
Yes, the ball has gone, and it is out of play, but Ryan Fraser wasn’t getting to the rebound when he steered the ball against the post at Newcastle, and was brought down by Nick Pope, and won a spot kick.
Dyche said: “I'm confused about penalties now, I don't know what is a penalty now.
"People get touched on their shoulder and their legs buckle and it's a penalty, and then someone is fouled, pretty harshly, I would say, and it's not a penalty.
"The penalty thing now in the Premier League...I'm confused now what is and what isn't.
"I don't know how it's not a penalty. If he just toes it past him, and the keeper does that, it's a penalty.
“So I can only imagine the referee thinks he's lifted it too far, and therefore couldn't get it and it's not a penalty.
"The obvious thing is if it's in the middle of the pitch, what do you think happens? It's a foul, 100%.
"I've spoken to the powers that be about it, and they assure me we get treated the same as everybody else, but if you look at the facts, it's impossible we get treated the same.”
It was a minor quibble on a day when Burnley were off the pace, but can we honestly say they are treated the same as other clubs when it comes to winning penalties?
The statistics suggest not.