Chelsea will be aiming to consolidate their place in the Premier League top four when they take on Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Premier League action resumes this weekend with Gameweek 10 of the 2019-20 season. And, Chelsea can make it seven wins in a row across all competitions when Burnley welcome them to Turf Moor in Saturday’s late kick-off.
After an inconsistent 2018-19 season, Burnley have found some stable footing in the first couple of months of their current Premier League campaign, the signs of which were visible towards the end of last term. The Clarets have lost just three of their nine games so far, each of them being against potential top six candidates, although they ran Leicester City close in last week’s 2-1 defeat.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are starting to make winning a habit under Frank Lampard, evidenced by the fact that they have ground out narrow wins over Newcastle United and Ajax in their last two games. In the Premier League, the Blues have climbed up to fourth on the table on the back of three successive wins, with the youngsters delivering the goods.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a comprehensive 4-0 win for Chelsea, with Alvaro Morata, Ross Barkley, Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on target. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
There has been a mix of good news and bad for Sean Dyche ahead of the visit of Chelsea. On Saturday, the Burnley boss will certainly be without two first-team players, with three others being major doubts.
Chris Wood has been a fresh injury concern in the last week, struggling with a tight hamstring. Ashley Barnes, who missed out last weekend against Leicester City due to a minor groin injury, is in contention to feature against Chelsea after training this week. Jack Cork has trained this week as well, despite what is termed as a “tiny fracture” in his shoulder.
But, the game has come too soon for Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (ankle), although the latter was ineligible to play against parent club Chelsea anyway. But, the availability of Cork means the absence of the Chelsea loanee is unlikely to be felt.
Cork ought to partner Ashley Westwood in the middle of the park, with Dwight McNeil and Jeff Hendrick being the two wide midfielders for Burnley. With Wood unlikely to be risked, Barnes should have Jay Rodriguez as his strike partner.
Meanwhile, the back four, which is expected to remain compact and kill off space for the Chelsea attack, picks itself, with Matthew Lowton and Erik Pieters being the full-back pairing. Ben Mee and James Tarkowski will form the central defensive partnership, with Nick Pope taking his place in the Burnley goal.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil; Rodriguez, Barnes
Frank Lampard has no fresh injury concerns to deal with ahead of the trip to Turf Moor. Against Burnley on Saturday, the Chelsea manager will continue to remain without Andreas Christensen (hamstring) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Achilles), while three other players are doubtful to feature.
Antonio Rudiger (groin), Ross Barkley (ankle) and N’Golo Kante have all trained this week. But, the trio might not be fit enough to make the starting lineup and are instead likely to be on the bench.
With Kante and Barkley expected to not be risked, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho pick themselves. And the duo will aim to combine in fine fashion once again and dominate the midfield battle. The two central defenders are automatic picks as well, with Rudiger unlikely to start and Christensen still unavailable.
Regardless, Kurt Zouma’s upturn in form has been a huge positive of late and the Frenchman will be hoping to keep a check on the wily Ashley Barnes. Zouma will be partnered by Fikayo Tomori once again, with Cesar Azpilicueta a certain starter as the right-back.
On the opposite flank, Emerson Palmieri is in contention to start after recovering from his thigh injury. But, Marcos Alonso has been in decent touch lately and should keep hold of his place on the left side of the Chelsea defence. Kepa Arrizabalaga is a certain starter between the sticks for the visitors.
On the attacking front, Michy Batshuayi and Christian Pulisic have made a mark coming off the bench in recent outings. Batshuayi might still remain on the bench, with Tammy Abraham an automatic pick to lead the line for Chelsea.
But, Pulisic could come into the side in place of Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has featured in each of the last six games, starting the last three. Willian should retain his place on the right flank, with Mason Mount reprising the no. 10 role once again.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso; Kovacic, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Pulisic; Abraham
1. Chelsea to win @ 1.72
2. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.61
1. Penalty in Match – YES @ 3.25
- Burnley have prevailed in just one of their 10 Premier League meetings with Chelsea (D3 L6), winning 3-2 at Stamford Bridge in August 2017.
- Chelsea have scored in all 10 of their Premier League encounters against Burnley. Amongs sides they have never failed to score against in the competition, the Blues have only played more games against Portsmouth (14), Derby County (14) and Wigan Athletic (16).
- Burnley have picked up nine points from a possible 12 at home in the Premier League this season, keeping three clean sheets (W3 D0 L1), registering more points (7) and clean sheets (2) than they kept in their opening nine games at Turf Moor last term.
- Frank Lampard is looking to win four successive league games for the first time in his managerial career. The Blues last won four Premier League games in a row in September 2018 (Maurizio Sarri’s first five in charge of the club).
- Both Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount have found the net in each of Chelsea’s last three Premier League away games. The last Chelsea player to score in four consecutive appearances on the road was Diego Costa in December 2016 (four games).
Player to Watch
The start to his Chelsea career has hardly been a bed of roses for Christian Pulisic. After starting some of the initial games, the USMNT international has found himself relegated to the bench in seven of the Blues’ last eight games across all competitions.
With the young forward already reaching a major low early into his spell with the West Londoners, he has had an uphill task justifying the club’s heavy investment in him. But, Pulisic has impressed a great deal coming off the bench in each of the last two games, arguably changing the course of the games with his cameos.
Frank Lampard seems to have been won over by Pulisic too, judging by his recent comments on the player and it looks like the 21-year-old might be turning a corner at Chelsea. Likely to be handed a rare start on Saturday, it is now up to him to cement his place as a regular, or push Callum Hudson-Odoi at the very least.
Burnley 1-2 Chelsea
One of the more difficult predictions. Burnley have been in fine form at home this season while on the other hand, Chelsea have a brilliant record at Turf Moor, having never been beaten at the ground in the Premier League in five fixtures (W4 D1).
But, considering Christian Pulisic’s resurgence, Callum Hudson-Odoi’s energy off the bench and the surge in Kurt Zouma’s form, the Blues might just about edge the hosts. All in all, this should be an evenly contested affair with very little to separate the two sides. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Chelsea, who ought to retain their place in the top four.