Christian Pulisic scored a hat-trick to announce his arrival in English football in sensational style as Chelsea beat Burnley for a seventh consecutive win in all competitions.
The 21-year-old American winger scored a ‘perfect’ hat-trick with a left foot, right foot and headed effort.
He was the difference in an even first half, first of all winning the ball on the halfway line before running all the way and slotting home.
His second was also a break from midfield after Willian won possession.
Burnley were in the game until that stage but Chelsea ran away with it in the second half.
Pulisic headed in from Mason Mount’s cross for his first career treble, before Willian blasted home a fourth moments later.
Jay Rodriguez’s long-range strike and Dwight McNeil’s deflected effort brought huge roars from the Turf Moor faithful but they had left their comeback far too late.
Pulisic’s breakthrough game
Pulisic, who has already been dubbed Captain America in some parts, has had a slow start to life in England as he adjusted from the switch from Borussia Dortmund.
This was his first Premier League start since August, but there can be little doubt he is ready now.
It was not just his goals which were impressive. He caused so many problems for Burnley with surging runs down both flanks and through the centre, as well as some testing crosses.
But what will clearly be remembered are his three goals.
His first was all his own work as he won it from Matthew Lowton before skipping past James Tarkowski and slotting home.
Then Willian stole the ball off a Burnley defender before finding Pulisic, who did the rest – albeit with the help of a deflection.
After the break, he popped up with an unlikely header to become only the second American to score a hat-trick in the Premier League.
Willian’s fierce drive into the bottom corner was merely a footnote on this game.
Chelsea’s fans chanted “we want 10” but the only other Chelsea action of note was a penalty awarded to Callum Hudson-Odoi which was overturned by the VAR, and which subsequently earned the substitute a yellow card for diving.
Burnley’s ‘big six’ struggles continue
The omens were never good for Sean Dyche’s hosts. They have now only won one of their last 26 Premier League games against ‘big six’ opposition, while their last home win against Chelsea was in 1983.
A win would have taken them above Arsenal into fifth spot and for 45 minutes that looked plausible.
Ashley Barnes, back from an injury, missed three good first-half chances for the Clarets, with Kepa making a good stop from Erik Pieters’ deflected strike.
The game was basically over after Pulisic’s moments of magic but fans will wonder what could have been had Rodriguez and McNeil’s goals – both assisted by 84th-minute substitute Robbie Brady – arrived 10 minutes sooner.
‘It was beautiful to watch’ – what they said
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, speaking to Sky Sports: “This is a really tough place to go and the way we controlled the game, our midfield combinations and movement, was beautiful to watch. I really enjoyed watching them today.”
On his handling of Christian Pulisic: “He had a week’s break this summer. He arrived for a big price and wanted to come straight back in but at the same time why am I going to throw him in? So I have to do it in the right way and get the best out of him. I’m delighted for him.”
On making just one change from midweek: “It’s a balance, I always think one, two or three games ahead. But there’s an argument that we are doing okay, they are hungry, and I felt one change was enough today. It’s important we keep our feet on the ground. We played well but we can play better.”
On conceding two late goals: “I will be the first to criticise sloppy goals, and they were. But not tonight because of the way they played, their movement on the ball, there were so many great things to admire. I’m not letting that in the dressing room tonight, we came to a really tough place and won comfortably.”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche, speaking to Match of the Day: “Chelsea are a good side and they are in top form, credit to them but the second goal was our own doing.
“It was similar to the game we played against Liverpool and the second goal was a killer.
“Our mentality continues to grow and we are creating a better standard of chances against these top sides and there’s a growing belief in what we can do, but we can’t commit those mistakes.”
On Callum Hudson-Odoi being booked for diving: “I can’t stand diving, it is ridiculous, that has to get out of the game.
“Everyone is talking to me about respecting the referees, but players need to respect the game as well.”
Man of the match – Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
- Chelsea have won their last six away games in all competitions – only once in their history have they won more consecutively on the road (seven between February-April 1989).
- This was the fifth time Burnley have conceded 4+ goals in a Premier League home game, with Chelsea doing so on two of the last three occasions.
- Chelsea have won four consecutive top-flight away games while scoring at least three goals each time for the first time in their history.
- Chelsea have scored 16 goals in their five away league games this season – only Norwich (17 in 1993-94) and Manchester City (20 in 2011-12) have scored more in their first five on the road in a Premier League season.
- Only Watford (34) have conceded more Premier League away goals in 2019 than Chelsea (30).
- Christian Pulisic became the first player from the USA to score for Chelsea in the Premier League, meaning the Blues have now had players from 36 different nations score for them in the competition (excluding own goals).
- Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic became just the second American player to score a Premier League hat-trick, after Clint Dempsey in January 2012.
- Christian Pulisic became Chelsea’s youngest hat-trick scorer in Premier League history (21y 38d), while he also became the first player to net a ‘perfect’ league hat-trick for the Blues since Didier Drogba against Wigan in May 2010.
- Willian has scored three goals in his last six appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, as many as he had in his previous 30 for the Blues.
- Burnley’s Dwight McNeil became the first teenager to score a Premier League goal against Chelsea since Marcus Rashford in April 2017.
Burnley travel to Sheffield United on Saturday (15:00 GMT) while Chelsea, after hosting Manchester United in the EFL Cup fourth round on Wednesday (20:05 GMT), visit Watford on Saturday (17:30 GMT).