Chelsea

Unsung hero: Ruben Loftus-Cheek quality again in otherwise average Chelsea display

Unsung hero: Ruben Loftus-Cheek quality again in otherwise average Chelsea display

More top four blunders as Chelsea fail to capitalise and draw at home to Burnley in the same week Manchester United and Arsenal are beaten.

Chelsea were left frustrated on Monday night despite being handed a golden opportunity to race ahead in a sprint for a top-four spot.

Surprise, surprise it was Eden Hazard who carved out the first opportunity of the game. Driving in from the right-hand side of the pitch, the winger found a pocket of space to unleash a shot. Tom Heaton blocked but no one was equal to the rebound.

Hazard was on hand again to chip through a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentine did well to lob the ball over the outbound Heaton, but Jack Cork was equal to the effort with a heroic goal-line clearance.

Despite the opening exchanges looking very much in favour of the Blues, it was the visitors who bagged first. Jeff Hendrick unleashing an absolute beauty from the edge of the area, following a corner, past the helpless Kepa.

Just four minutes later, Chelsea were back level. The powerful Loftus-Cheek starting the move off before the intricate feet of Eden Hazard left Lowton for dead and found Kante who dispatched with the sweetest of strikes for a rare goal.

Just two minutes later the hosts were in the lead thanks to an incredible effort. Gonzalo Higuain combining with Cesar Azpilicueta whose backheel set the forward up perfectly to send a shot cascading off the crossbar and int the back of the net.

Celebrations were short-lived, however. A free-kick gifted Burnley and Ashley Barnes a goal, the forward in the right place at the right time to feed off two headers and score from close range.

Chelsea were without Hudson-Odoi and N’Golo Kante for the final 45 minutes, the youngster hobbling off before the break due to injury.

Pressure from Chelsea rarely came to anything. Azpilicueta forcing a near-post save from Heaton, before Giroud was thrown on in typical fashion to grab a late goal. Alas, nothing would come from it.

On a disappointing day, Chelsea fans can find solace in the fact that Ruben Loftus-Cheek looked immense again. The big midfielder powered his way through the game and made himself a handful for a usually physically superior Burnley team. Could have scored himself in the 19th minute but settled with bossing the game and creating opportunities for his teammates.

His behemoth efforts were instrumental in setting up the opening goal and, finally, he looks to be the kind of player so many predicted he’d become.

Chelsea fans, how impressed have you been by Loftus-Cheek recently? Is he looking worth the wait? Join the discussion by commenting below… 

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