In their first league match since being dethroned by Manchester City, Chelsea travel to Lancashire to face Sean Dyche’s high flying Burnley side at Turf Moor.
In their first meeting this season, the Clarets destroyed Chelsea 3-2. Two Sam Vokes goals on either side of a Stephen Ward strike sent Burnley up 0-3 before the end of the first half. Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas then got sent off, further compounding their problems.
Little did they know that it would be a sign of things to come and Chelsea have never really hit the heights of last season. They now find themselves at fifth place with 60 points to their name, 8 points behind Tottenham Hotspur who have played an extra match.
Burnley on the other hand, have had a spectacular season. They are currently seventh on the table, 2 points behind Arsenal and 3 points away from a Europa League qualifying place. We take a closer look at both teams ahead of tonight’s clash at Turf Moor.
Tactics & Team News
Sean Dyche is expected to start with the same set of players that beat Leicester City at Turf Moor last week. Robbie Brady, Jonathan Walters, Steven Defour and Ben Mee are all expected to miss out due to injury, while Scott Arfield and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou are doubtful.
He is expected to use the same 4-4-2 formation that has been used for the past three matches. Kevin Pope is expected to start in between the sticks, with Stephen Ward, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski and Matthew Lowton making up the defence.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Aaron Lennon are expected to start on the flanks. Jack Cork and Ashley Westwood will likely set up shop in the center of midfield, with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood leading the line for the Clarets once again.
Probable Starting XI(4-4-2): Nick Pope; Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Kevin Long, Stephen Ward; Aaron Lennon, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Johann Berg Gudmundsson; Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes
The Blues will be without Marcos Alonso, who is being charged by the FA for violent conduct. David Luiz, Danny Drinkwater and Ethan Ampadu are also expected to be miss out on this match due to injury. Conte is expected to rest a few key names for this match as they have the FA Cup semi-final against Southampton within the next 72 hours.
Thibaut Courtois is expected to start in goal and Antonio Rudiger is expected to come back into the squad and join Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen in defence. Emerson Palmieri will start in place of Marcos Alonso, with Victor Moses returning to the starting XI on at right wingback.
Cesc Fabregas is expected to be joined in midfield by Tiemoue Bakayoko. Pedro and Ross Barkley are also expected to come back into the starting XI, with Olivier Giroud leading the line the Blues at Turf Moor.
Probable Starting XI(3-4-3): Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger; Victor Moses, Tiemoue, Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, Emerson Palmieri; Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud, Pedro
- Burnley have lost only 5 League games at Turf Moor over the course of the current campaign.
- Burnley have lost only 1 of their last 9 Premier League games.
- Chelsea have won only 3 of their last 9 games across all competitions.
- Both Chelsea and Burnley have lost only 9 Premier League games this season.
- Chelsea have faced Burnley on 10 previous occasions. The Blues have won 5, drawn 2 and lost 3.
Player To Watch
Chelsea: Olivier Giroud
Almost certain to start tonight at Turf Moor after his heroics at St.Mary’s last week. It took a while for his first Premier League goal to arrive, but it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time. Helped his side turn the game around and he will certainly be the one to keep an eye on as he tries to keep that starting spot to himself at least until the rest of the season.
Burnley 1-2 Chelsea
Antonio Conte will undoubtedly be resting a few of his key players keeping in mind their FA Cup semi-final and that will significantly weaken his squad. Burnley have their own injury troubles to deal with, but they will certainly fancy their chances at home against the Blues.
Sean Dyche’s men can take confidence from their victory against Chelsea in their previous meeting this season and they know that if they get a victory or a draw tonight, it would come as a huge boost for their Europa League qualification hopes with 5 games left to play this term.
Chelsea can get to within 5 points of Tottenham Hotspur if they get a victory tonight and will be desperate to keep themselves in the race for the top four. They will still be reeling from that humiliating loss at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture and revenge will certainly be on their minds.
So we predict a tense, narrow victory for Antonio Conte’s men. They have the quality in their squad to come away with all three points from Turf Moor and last week’s victory against Southampton would’ve certainly given them the shot in the arm needed in order to start building some momentum.