Chelsea tightened their grip on a top-three finish as a stunning second-half salvo floored relegation-threatened Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor.
The Blues needed just seven second-half minutes to take full advantage of the first-half reprieve handed to them by Burnley’s wastefulness, with Reece James’ slaloming, solo effort opening the floodgates before Kai Havertz’s double sealed the Chelsea victory with 35 minutes to spare.
Burnley should have gone into the break at least a goal to the good but were punished for their profligacy, with Dwight McNeil guilty of missing an open goal after Thiago Silva had cleared an effort from Wout Weghorst off the line in an encouraging, yet fruitless, first period for the Clarets.
The victory sees Chelsea open up an eight-point cushion over fifth-placed West Ham – who have played a game more – in the race for Champions League qualification, while Burnley stay in the bottom three, a point from safety having sustained a severe blow to their goal difference.
N’Golo Kante of Chelsea is challenged by Dwight McNeil
Dyche called on his players to rekindle the form which had seen Burnley claim seven points from three games before Tuesday’s defeat to Leicester and, after weathering a positive Chelsea start, the Clarets rose to that challenge in the first half.
Charlie Taylor had to block a James’ shot on the goal line on the quarter-hour mark but from there on the goal-mouth action was concentrated on the Chelsea goal, with Thiago Silva coming to the visitors’ rescue on 17 minutes when he thwarted Weghorst’s goal-bound effort.
Nathan Collins replaced the injured Ben Mee and Jay Rodriguez replaced Maxwel Cornet as Burnley made two changes from Tuesday’s defeat to Leicester.
Saul Niguez, Jorginho, and Reece James returned as Chelsea made three changes to the side beaten on penalties by Liverpool in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
Burnley’s dominance should have been rewarded on the half-hour when Edouard Mendy flapped at Ashley Westwood’s deep cross and presented the ball to McNeil but, with the Chelsea goal gaping in front of him, he ballooned a shot over the bar.
Connor Roberts produced a crucial headed clearance to prevent Jorginho’s rasping drive from handing Chelsea an undeserved lead on the stroke of half-time, but that defensive resoluteness escaped Burnley within seconds of the restart as the visitors ran riot.
James bewildered McNeil with a superb weaving run into the Burnley area before lashing the opener past the hapless Nick Pope, and the Clarets stopper was picking the ball out of his net five minutes later when Pulisic’s sumptuous cross was nodded in at the far post by Havertz.
Burnley’s collapse was complete when two became three on 55 minutes as Havertz doubled his Premier League goals tally for the season with the simplest of tap-ins from James’ centre, and further salt was added to the wounds when Pulisic capitalised on James Tarkowski’s error to slot in a fourth.