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Latest update : 2009-08-29

Goals by Nicolas Anelka, Michael Ballack and Ashley Cole helped Chelsea to a comfortable 3-0 win over Burnley at Stamford Bridge and propelled Carlo Ancelotti's squad to the top of the Premier League.

AFP - Carlo Ancelotti's English honeymoon will stretch into September after Chelsea eased to a 3-0 win over Burnley on Saturday.

The west Londoners chalked up their fourth successive win under their new Italian manager thanks to goals from Nicolas Anelka, Michael Ballack and Ashley Cole and will go into the two-week international break in buoyant spirits.

Ancelotti will have been thrilled by Chelsea's patience, as much as their panache.

The scoreline might look comfortable but the Premier League title hopefuls were frustrated until deep into first-half stoppage time, when Anelka finally broke through Burnley's defences.

Ultimately, however, this was a deserved victory against a side who have already bloodied the noses of Manchester United and Everton this season.

Burnley had travelled south with a spring in their step but this defeat will serve as a reminder to Owen Coyle's newly-promoted team that the top flight can be an unforgiving environment.

The only disappointment for Ancelotti was that his side did not bolster their goal difference by an even greater margin and Anelka, for one, could have helped himself to a hatful in the first half alone.

Having already seen a low shot saved by Brian Jensen, the Frenchman had an even more inviting chance in the third minute, when he snaffled possession from Tyrone Mears and burst clear. He ignored the waiting Didier Drogba in favour of trying to round Jensen, who saved at his feet.

But Anelka was not the only striker in a generous mood. Burnley's Martin Paterson was equally culpable in the 10th minute when he squandered a glorious chance to put the visitors into a shock lead.

After Frank Lampard had inexplicably gifted the ball to Mears, the full-back sprinted clear and picked out Paterson with a square pass. The Northern Irishman simply had to roll into the corner, but directed his shot just wide.

That, however, was a rare moment of threat from Burnley, who were reliant on Jensen to hold back the blue tide almost single-handedly.

He produced another magnificent stop to deny Ballack, after the German had been teed up by Lampard, and then reacted smartly to block a close-range volley from John Terry.

When Lampard then saw an almost identical chance fisted away, Chelsea might have feared the worst.

They need not have worried. With Burnley eying the clock as it ticked into stoppage time, Michael Essien split their defence to release Drogba and the Ivorian's cross was bundled in at the back post by Anelka.

That left Burnley's hopes of snaffling a pont hanging by a thread and they were dashed entirely moments after the re-start, when Lampard's chipped cross into a crowded penalty area was headed in by the diving Ballack.

A two-goal cushion allowed Chelsea to relax and play some picture-book football. A particularly pretty move in the 52nd minute led to the third goal, Lampard's lofted pass allowing Cole to flash a first-time volley over the diving Jensen for just his third strike in three years.

From then on, Burnley's efforts were devoted to simply keeping the score down.

They succeeded, partly through Chelsea's profligacy - Anelka clipped the top of the bar when it looked easier to score - and also through Jensen, who produced outstanding saves to deny Essien, twice, and Ballack.

Mears also cleared an effort from Salomon Kalou off the line in the dying seconds, but by then the match was long since won.


Date created : 2009-08-29