On the Up

Burnley FC


Chelsea FC

Turf Moor, East Lancashire

Monday, 18th August 2000 GMT

After another World Cup to forget, the English fans will be happy to get the Premier League back in their lives. After what must seem like an eternity, all of the 20 teams will be in action this weekend. Some major new signings, some star-name departures and a whole season to look forward to, the fans could not ask for more.

More so for Burnley FC fans. A 33-year wait to get into the top division of the league in 2009 was followed by immediate relegation which means a five-year wait for the Clarets to play in the big league has finally come to an end. Coming off the back of a strong Championship campaign, where they finished second overall and were automatically promoted, manager Sean Dyche knows that the primary target for the team is to ensure another season of Premier League football. With a tough kick-off to restart their life in the Premier League, Burnley will hope that the home Turf  advantage will provide the perfect setting for them to get something from the game.

On the other hand, their rivals on the day Chelsea FC will make the trip north-west knowing that they are clear favourites to win the match, and ultimately one of the favourites to win the title itself. As has been quite well documented, the Blues have been busy in the transfer market with the arrivals of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa and quite a few departures as well. Overall, the fans would consider this to be a fruitful summer with steps being taken to solve their attacking issues, especially at the very front. Last season, Chelsea notched up a poor record against teams in the bottom-half of the league and manager Jose Mourinho will be surely wary of the “beginners luck” that Burnley are expected to have and hope to set it right this time around.

Burnley – Team news, lineup and formation

A relatively unknown quantity for most Premier League fans, the thing that stands out about the Burnley squad is the strong presence of young British players including captain Jason Shackell. Burnley have no real injury worries except Sam Vokes – a long-term absentee – coming into this match. Having come of an arduous 46-match campaign in the Football League Championship, the relatively less-packed Premier League calendar will be a welcome change.

For much of last season, Burnley played in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Their top scorer in the previous campaign with 21 goals, Danny Ings, will be expected to lead the line upfront. Scott Arfield and summer-signing Michael Kightly are expected to line up on the wings while Dean Marney is slated to line up just behind Ings. As is the case with most teams that have come up into the Premier League, they will look to build from the back. Skipper Shackell will be expected to take that leadership role not just in defence, but also lead this young side by example.

If last season is anything to go by, Burnley – who conceded the least goals of all teams – will be tough to break down at Turf Moor. Chelsea will be wary of this fact and will look to their own attacking strength to pierce the defence. Manager Sean Dyche believes in free-flowing football with his team looking to score on the counter-attack with the pacy Ings leading the line.

Possible lineup (4-2-3-1)Heaton (GK), Duff, Shackell, Mee,Trippier; Jones, Taylor; Arfield, Marney, Kightly; Ings


Chelsea – Team news, lineup and formation

Another trophy-less season will be considered a disaster for Chelsea and Mourinho, and that is why the Blues will be looking to get off the mark in style at Turf Moor. Traditionally strong starters, Chelsea have had a poor record off late against the supposedly “weaker” teams. The Portuguese manager recently stated in an interview that he will pick his “fittest eleven” for this match. Which means the likes of  the returning hero Didier Drogba will certainly miss out. There are no other major injury concerns for Chelsea.

They will be expected to line up in the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with Spanish striker Diego Costa expected to lead the line in attack. Fellow Spaniard Cesc Fabregas is also expected to start behind Costa with Eden Hazard and one of Willian or Oscar taking up the wings. The former Arsenal player’s playing position has been a talking point among many Chelsea fans recently. He is expected to line up alongside Nemanja Matic just in front of the defence, having the license to join up in attack as and when required. If that is how the team shapes up, Oscar will take the attacking midfielder’s role just behind Costa with the aforementioned Willan and Hazard taking up the wings.

In his 20th season with the club, skipper John Terry will look to continue the good form from last season alongside fellow Englishman Gary Cahill. Another new signing, Felipe Luis, is also slated to start at left-back, while the right-back position will either be taken up by Branislav Ivanovic or Cesar Azpilicueta. In what seems like a new era at the club with stalwarts Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole missing from the squad for the first time in 9 seasons, Mourinho will hope for a immediate impact from his new signings. Also for the first time in 10 seasons, the goalkeeping duties – it looks like – will be taken up by young Belgian Thibaut Courtois.

Possible lineup (4-2-3-1): Courtois (GK), Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Luis; Matic, Fabregas;Oscar, Hazard, Willian; Costa

Player to watch out for

Diego Costa

Costa in pre-season action for Chelsea

Diego Costa (Chelsea)

The worst-kept secret of this summer’s transfer window was that of the Spaniard’s move to The Bridge. Having completed that move, there is now massive expectation from him. In what has been a well documented problem for Chelsea, it looks like their striker issues have finally been sorted out with Costa’s signing. With his hefty price tag, he will almost be expected to score goals every game starting from Turf Moor.

Key facts

1. This is Burnley’s first Premier League appearance since 2009-10 when they lasted a season and were relegated.

2. Burnley’s home stadium Turf Moor is one of the oldest grounds in England. The club have called it their home since the year 1883.

3. Chelsea are unbeaten in their opening fixtures of the Premier League since 1998, winning 13 of the 15 games.

4. The team from Stamford Bridge have upper hand between the teams having won 14 of the 34 previously played matches.


Burnley 0 – 2 Chelsea

The Clarets could not have picked  a tougher match to begin their campaign with. Chelsea’s prowess in attack will mean that they should be able to take all three points and continue their impressive opening day streak.

Blast from the past