Match Preview – Burnley vs Chelsea

By
Updated: February 9, 2017
Manchester United vs Chelsea

After comfortably dispatching Arsenal, during a week in which they also faced a trip to Liverpool, Chelsea’s reward is an away day to the third best home team in the league. Yep, you read that right. Burnley sit behind only The Blues and Tottenham in home form – having won 9, drawn one and lost three. Their reliance on the performances of the team at Turf Moor is proven by the stark opposite results away from home. The Clarets haven’t won away this season, with 10 losses and a single draw.

So, while this fixture sure looked nice on paper, be sure not to underestimate the mighty Burnley at their own ground.

Luckily for Chelsea fans, their team hold the best away record; winning 8, drawing two and losing two. The +8 goal difference doesn’t sound hugely impressive, but they’ve only conceded the 10 goals. With Burnley conceding 11 at home, this game looks set to be a closer, more defensive contest than people may expect.

The Arsenal result should give The Blues a massive confidence boost. More than anything it shows how far the team has come since the reverse fixture in September. They last played Burnley just three games into the season, with Eden Hazard, Willian and Victor Moses scoring in a comfortable victory. In fact, Hazards goal wasn’t hugely dissimilar from his run and strike against Arsenal. Chelsea would be wise to get the ball to the Belgian magician early and often in this game while he is still riding a wave of confidence.

Under Antonio Conte, Chelsea have looked anything but complacent. Against the teams they are expected to beat they have found ways to break them down, and have made sure they’re clinical in front of goal. The Blues will be looking to consolidate a terrific week for the club by continuing their momentum.

In the last six games Chelsea has won four, drawn one and lost one. Burnley has won three and lost three – all three wins coming at home and the loses away. They really are a different side at Turf Moor.

Team News

For Conte, there appeared to be no new injury concerns after the previous match. Hazard and David Luiz are possibly still carrying niggling injuries that they’ve had for weeks, but it’s hardly affected their performances.

As Burnley will likely line up looking to reduce the amount of chances Chelsea create on the counter attack, a more creative player may be introduced. Cesc Fàbregas has a strong chance of starting the game, either in place of Nemanja Matic or as a third centre-midfielder. (N’Golo Kanté can’t get dropped because he’s brilliant and just never gets tired). Willian could come in for Pedro, because…. well…. the Spaniard is pretty ineffective away from home. Diego Costa looked desperate to score against Arsenal, having missed the penalty at Anfield. He’s now gone a MASSIVE two games without a goal. The Spaniard hasn’t gone more than two games without a goal this whole season – he’ll look to shoot at every opportunity

Burnley have fresh suspension concerns in their midfield. Jeff Hendrick was sent off in the match against Watford. Meanwhile, summer signing Steven Defour is still struggling with a groin strain.

Joey Barton looks set to make his third start for The Clarets, while random Chelsea transfer target, Michael Keane, will be in the heart of defence. Tom Heaton is a brilliant goalkeeper who averages 4.7 saves per game – brace yourselves for an almighty battle between him and Diego Costa.

Prediction

Up until the 85th minute my prediction against Arsenal was spot on. This game is more worrying than any game against Burnley should be. Expect some sort of dip in performance from the masterclass against Arsenal. Oh, and as I’ve mentioned at every possible opportunity; Burnley are very good at home!

The Blues should be too much for The Claret’s – Hazard and Costa will get a goal each. Conte’s refusal to allow complacency to creep in has been one of the best things about this season – probably aided by the players own admission of failure from last season. Look for Fabregas to start, and Nathaniel Chalobah to come off the bench to score a screamer. My prediction: 0-3 Chelsea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *