EPL

Raheem Sterling inspires Chelsea to back-to-back victories at Burnley

By Sports Desk October 07, 2023

Raheem Sterling made a point to Gareth Southgate as he sparked a Chelsea comeback in a 4-1 win at Burnley, who slumped to a fifth consecutive home defeat to start the Premier League season.

Burnley stunned Chelsea 15 minutes in when 18-year-old Wilson Odobert became the Clarets’ youngest Premier League scorer.

But Sterling, again snubbed by the England boss for next week’s internationals, helped turn the game around either side of half-time as Chelsea maintained their long unbeaten record at Turf Moor, where they have only once dropped points in nine visits in the Premier League era.

It was Sterling’s cross that deflected off Ameen Al Dakhil for a 42nd minute equaliser before he won the penalty dispatched by Cole Palmer early in the second half.

Sterling then capped a fine performance with Chelsea’s third in the 65th minute, hitting a confident strike into the bottom corner before substitute Nicolas Jackson added a fourth, with Sterling again involved in the build-up.

Coming off the back of Monday’s 2-0 win at Fulham, Chelsea have won back-to-back Premier League matches for the first time since March, but these remain baby steps for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who were arguably second best for much of the first half.

Vincent Kompany showed no sentiment in making four changes to the Burnley side that took their first league win of the season at Luton on Tuesday night, and was rewarded with a surprise early lead.

Lyle Foster cut in from the right but as he saw his own angle to shoot rapidly closing, the South African unselfishly played in Odobert who threaded the ball between Marc Cucurella and Robert Sanchez.

Burnley were suddenly in buoyant mood. Fans might have been disappointed to see Luca Koleosho only on the bench but Odobert and Mike Tresor, both making their first starts, made them forget with some fearless attacking play.

The pair almost combined for a second in the 22nd minute as Odobert sent in a cross from the left and Tresor capitalised on a sleeping Chelsea defence to win the ball, then missed the target.

Chelsea, who had not won in their previous 19 Premier League games when conceding first, initially struggled to muster a response, but Sterling looked like Chelsea’s best way back into the match and so it proved.

He went close in the 37th minute, beating two defenders before trying to put the ball through the legs of James Trafford, who just about kept it out.

But there was nothing Trafford could do five minutes later when Sterling’s cross took a wicked deflection off Al Dakhil to loop into the net.

Two minutes into the second half, a sudden burst of speed from Sterling took him away from Vitinho, who clipped the Chelsea man on the edge of the box.

Stuart Attwell pointed to the spot and a lengthy check from VAR Darren Bond allowed Cole Palmer time to pick the spot for his first Chelsea goal as he sent England under-21 team-mate Trafford the wrong way.

Odobert saw a dipping, curling shot touched over by Sanchez, but it was Chelsea who scored a decisive third 10 minutes later.

Moises Caicedo won back possession with two challenges on the half-way line and Gallagher quickly picked out the run of Sterling, whose confident finish found the bottom right corner of the net.

Burnley fans started to head for the exits in the 74th minute when Sterling crossed to Palmer, who found Jackson, on as a substitute on his return from suspension, and he skipped away from Dara O’Shea in front of goal before applying the finish.

Odobert and substitute Koleosho both threatened for Burnley late on, but they became only the fifth side to start a season with five consecutive home defeats in top-flight history.

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