Sterling bounces back from England snub to lead Chelsea’s rout of Burnley

07 October 2023 16:12
Raheem Sterling responded to his recent England squad snub with a performance of personality and poise to propel Chelsea to a third successive victory for the first time in seven months.This trip to another of the Premier League’s improving sides was always going to be a challenge. Chelsea did not have everything their own way, falling behind to Wilson Odobert’s goal, but eventually registered a characterful win that will delight head coach, Mauricio Pochettino – their second on the road in the league in five days.Sterling created the first two Chelsea goals – an Ameen Al Dakhil own goal and a Cole Palmer penalty – before finishing the third himself. Sterling also had a hand in Nicolas Jackson’s fourth as he delivered a clear message to Gareth Southgate that his omission from the squad to face Italy and Australia this month is a glaring one.Had this match been scheduled a week earlier, perhaps the preamble would have been dominated by talk of pressure valves and how the respective men in the Turf Moor dugouts could release them. Instead, wins in the week for both sides had lifted the fog for Pochettino and Vincent Kompany. Something had to give here and in Sterling Pochettino possessed the trump card.Time and time again the supercharged wideman drove at Burnley right-back Vitinho, who Kompany had to hook after an hour.Yet after Sterling squandered the game’s first chance of note, curling wide from the edge of the box, Kompany’s charges hit their mark, momentarily quelling the visitors.It was as if the early near-miss jolted a hitherto jittery home side into action. Turf Moor erupted when the electric Odobert capped a Clarets move that flowed like fine wine, Lyle Foster holding off Chelsea bodies to play in the 18-year-old Frenchman who finished neatly beyond Robert Sánchez after darting in from the left. It appeared to be classic 2023 Chelsea: early promise, dominance of possession and a genuine chance spurned by a big name. Until the tide turned.At that early stage, it seemed a pattern had been established and it surely was not the one Pochettino envisaged on his pre-match tactics tablet. Odobert was an outlet on the left, teasing Marc Cucurella and forcing a yellow card from the Spaniard after 26 minutes. When Chelsea had it – which was most of the time – they were guilty of overplaying, with Armando Broja too often a passenger up front. Continue full article

Source: TheGuardian