Robbie Brady returns for Burnley as Chelsea romp to victory at Turf Moor
Ireland's Robbie Brady made his Burnley return as Chelsea shrugged off the absence of Eden Hazard to ease to a 4-0 win.
Brady has been sidelined for the past 11 months after he suffered a serious knee injury, with the Irishman's return further delayed by a frustrating hamstring issue.
He played the full 90 minutes today at Turf Moor and his return will be a timely boost for Ireland manager Martin O'Neill ahead of next months Nations League clash against Denmark.
Eight days after conceding five at Manchester City, Sean Dyche's side endured a second chastening afternoon against one of the Premier League's alpha teams.
Alvaro Morata had a host of chances in the first half and scored the opener in the 22nd minute while Ross Barkley, rewarded for his late equaliser against Manchester United last weekend with a start, and Willian added long-range efforts in the second half.
Substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek capped one of the best weeks of his career with a very late fourth.
The result lifted unbeaten Chelsea back above Manchester City, who face Tottenham on Monday, and to within two points of leaders Liverpool.
Burnley began strongly and Chelsea did not get anywhere near Joe Hart's goal for the first 10 minutes but, when they did, they nearly scored, Morata flicking on Barkley's shot and Hart tipping it over at full stretch.
Brady shot across goal and wide with Kepa Arrizabalaga stranded after flapping at a Johann Berg Gudmundsson cross but the pressure at the other end was growing.
Willian, playing in Hazard's position on the left, was looking particularly dangerous and, after shooting straight at Hart, he curled a delicious shot against the far post.
Burnley's reprieve was short-lived, though, as, a minute later, Jeff Hendrick was caught in midfield and N'Golo Kante fed Barkley, who provided the perfect through ball for Morata to poke past Hart.
Burnley responded well and James Tarkowski headed over from a corner, before Chelsea were forced into an early change when a tearful Pedro was replaced by Thursday's hat-trick hero Loftus-Cheek.
The home defence simply could not cope with Morata and he should have scored twice in four minutes but shot wide after running through a host of Burnley players then was denied by another fine stop from Hart having been played onside by a dawdling Matthew Lowton.
The half ended with referee Craig Pawson brandishing three yellow cards, the first two after Tarkowski and Morata squared up, with the Burnley defender unhappy at his opponent's reaction to a strong tackle in the penalty area.
The third was for a dive by Willian in the box, about which the Brazilian continued to protest his innocence after the half-time whistle.
Following a quiet start to the second half, again it was Chelsea who found another gear and, after Morata headed Willian's cross over, Barkley was allowed too much time and space and drilled a shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner in the 57th minute.
Five minutes later Chelsea added a third as Willian again cut in from the left and this time his right-footed shot was perfectly placed inside the far post.
Substitute Olivier Giroud tried to get in on the act but curled a shot just wide, while at the other end Ashley Barnes was fortunate to get away with a scything challenge on Arrizabalaga that showed Burnley's frustration.
Hart looked like he had prevented the scoreline becoming any worse with a stunning save to deny Giroud his first of the season, clawing the Frenchman's header against the bar, but Loftus-Cheek netted his fourth of the week with a deflected strike in injury time.