Thomas Tuchel’s tactics tee up comfortable Chelsea win over Burnley

Recalled Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso both on target in 2-0 Chelsea win

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This was not merely Chelsea’s maiden win under Thomas Tuchel. It was a victory with his imprint all over it.

The first goal of the new era came from Cesar Azpilicueta, the captain Frank Lampard was phasing out but who Tuchel has restored to the team.

It was set up by Callum Hudson-Odoi, a rare Chelsea youngster who seemed to stagnate under Lampard but who has been pivotal for his successor. His second goal came from Marcos Alonso, who had been exiled for the past four months.

Aided by Tuchel’s tactics, Alonso’s goal was a reminder he is a fine finisher - a volley following chest and knee control.

The Spaniard has always been at his best as a wing-back and his switch to 3-4-2-1 was instrumental in beating Burnley.

Chelsea were sterile in Wednesday’s stalemate with Wolves but altogether sharper in clocking up 19 shots.

“A win gives us the most confidence possible; otherwise you always have to convince players you are on the right track,” said Tuchel. “Defensively and offensively, it was a very good performance. We controlled the match completely.”

Yet it required something unexpected to break Burnley’s resistance. “It should be a signal to our guys up front that we needed two defensive players to score,” Tuchel added.

Azpilicueta has been recalled to resume the role he had under Antonio Conte on the right of a back three. If the veteran is less mobile than he was, he still had the energy to overlap from his own half on a 76-metre run to get into the penalty box to score, albeit aided by a slight deflection off Erik Pieters.

It was a goal that offered plenty of vindication of Tuchel. Using a back three gave Azpilicueta the licence to get that far forward. Hudson-Odoi, who has been reinvented as a right wing-back – Reece James, one of the success stories of Lampard’s management, was again only a substitute – teed the captain up. The pass to release Hudson-Odoi came from Mason Mount, another Lampard protégé, but one who was brought back after being benched against Wolves. Mount had skied a succession of shots but found space at will, brought the quick passing Tuchel wanted and combined time and again with Hudson-Odoi.

It should be a signal to our guys up front that we needed two defensive players to score

Hudson-Odoi had been Chelsea’s brightest player against Wolves and repeated that feat. He rattled the woodwork with a shot that took a heftier deflection off Pieters and repeatedly tormented the Dutchman. He almost drew an own goal from Ben Mee, who required a fine save from Nick Pope, while Christian Pulisic perhaps should have converted another cross.

The American had come on at half time for Tammy Abraham and, perhaps surprisingly, operated as the centre-forward while Timo Werner stayed on the left and extended his goal drought to 12 league games. Werner directed three efforts straight at Pope, the best chance from a Hudson-Odoi cross.

“He is not the only striker in the world who is very sensitive when he does not score,” added Tuchel. “No talks, no hugs, no warm words can make up for this feeling. Maybe he needs a stupid goal, like a deflection.”

But it was hard to accuse the manager of favouritism towards his fellow Germans. Kai Havertz was demoted and confined to a cameo, in which he set up Pulisic for a chance the youngster should have taken. “We lacked precision in the finishing,” Tuchel admitted.

Burnley had a different problem. Until James Tarkowski’s injury-time header, which went over, they had no shot of any variety. They lost the injured Ashley Barnes before the game. Chelsea are yet to concede under Tuchel, with their defenders doubling up as scorers.