Chelsea will be looking to take advantage of any slip ups from other teams in the top four race when they host Burnley on Monday night in the Premier League.
Maurizio Sarri has been handed a slim chance of still eking into the top four by Tottenham, who suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Saturday. Chelsea might see Arsenal and/or Manchester United slip up as well on Sunday before their Monday night fixture against Burnley.
Sean Dyche will be disappointed with how the 2018-19 Premier League campaign has turned out for Burnley after a brilliant previous season. Three consecutive wins have seen Burnley climb up some spots away from relegation and into the so-called safe points bracket (the 38 point mark).
Chelsea come into the match on the back of a rather nervy win in the UEFA Europa League over Slavia Prague despite a narrow first-leg advantage. The Blues were made to sweat to get their passage into the semi-finals of the European competition. Sarri will now be hoping to somehow eke into the top four in the Premier League.
Burnley, on the other hand, will be looking to accumulate as many points as they can after what has been a rather impressive run of results in the last three games. The Clarets shocked Chelsea on their last visit to Stamford Bridge, snatching a 3-2 win.
Before the two teams clash on Monday night, we take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Antonio Rudiger’s injury means we will likely see Andreas Christensen being handed another start in central defence alongside David Luiz. Emerson Palmieri should continue as the left-back, with the Italian preferred over Marcos Alonso recently. Cesar Azpilicueta will retain his spot on the right side of the back four, with Kepa Arrizabalaga set to be between the posts for Chelsea.
Jorginho should return to the starting eleven, with Mateo Kovacic making way. The Italian international should be accompanied by N’Golo Kante in midfield while Ruben Loftus-Cheek has impressed recently and could be the third man, which would mean a place on the bench for Ross Barkley.
In attack, Callum Hudson-Odoi is in contention to feature again. But, we could see Eden Hazard start on the left, with Pedro’s performance against Slavia Prague likely to earn him a start on the right wing against Burnley. Gonzalo Higuain should start upfront for Chelsea after having been rested during the midweek.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Pedro, Higuain, Hazard
While there are no fresh injury concerns for Sean Dyche, the likes of Steven Defour, Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch remain sidelined. Phil Bardsley is also doubtful but was never expected to be named in the starting eleven anyway.
Sean Dyche is expected to name an unchanged starting lineup from the one that earned a 2-0 win over Cardiff City recently. Tom Heaton will be in goal, with a back four of Matthew Lowton, Ben Mee, James Tarkowski and Charlie Taylor to protect the Burnley goal against Chelsea.
With the team set to take a natural 4-4-2 shape, Dwight McNeil and Jeff Hendrick should be on the wing duty, with a central midfield partnership of Jack Cork and Ashley Westwood to assist the buildup play and stifle the Chelsea midfielders for space.
Chris Wood was the hero, with a brace against Cardiff and should start upfront against Chelsea on Monday night, with Ashley Barnes likely to be the second striker.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Heaton; Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor; Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Barnes, Wood
1. Burnley Asian Handicap + 2.0 @ 1.575
2. Chelsea Clean Sheet – NO @ 2.00
1. Full Time Result – Draw or Burnley @ 4.00
1. Chelsea have conceded a total of 5 goals in their last 2 matches in all competitions.
2. Chelsea have recorded 4 clean sheets in their last 5 home games in the Premier League.
3. Burnley have scored in each of their last six games in the Premier League.
4. Burnley are tied (3 wins) for their best run of wins in the Premier League this season. A win over Chelsea will see the current run become the longest the Clarets have gone without dropping any points.
5. Only Eden Hazard (16 goals) has touched double figures for Chelsea this season, with none of the strikers managing to even touch the five-goal mark in the Premier League so far this season.
Player to Watch
The Argentine doesn’t have a permanent contract at Chelsea yet and hasn’t done much to help his cause either so far. Chelsea do need a striker and if Higuain can press on to score some important goals in the coming matches, the Blues could actually consider the prospect of making the loan deal permanent.
To start off, Higuain is expected to feature from the kick-off against Burnley, who will be aware of Chelsea’s recent form and know the game is there for the taking on Monday night. The Argentine has to now prove his worth to Chelsea. What better way than to score against the Clarets.
Chelsea 1-1 Burnley
Burnley come into the game with a better record as per the recent form guide and will be looking to climb as high as 12th on the Premier League table with a win on Monday night. Chris Wood is in form and will fancy his chances against a Chelsea defence that hasn’t looked the tightest in recent games.
This could turn out to be a must-win game for Chelsea if Arsenal and Manchester United both win their respective games, if the Blues are to be in contention for a place in top four. But, we expect Burnley to come close to repeating their feat from their last visit to Stamford Bridge. We expect a scoring draw, with Burnley expected to take something home from their travel.