Chelsea vs Burnley: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Chelsea are aiming for three wins from three Premier League games against newly-promoted Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Two late Diego Costa goals gave the Blues wins against West Ham and Watford, and a quirk of the fixture list has handed them a relatively gentle start. Antonio Conte’s men will be firm favourites against Burnley, but will need to start converting their promising play into goals. Late goals are a fantastic boost to team morale, but you cannot keep relying on them. The Claret’s surprise 2-0 win against Liverpool at Turf Moor gives them some breathing space and the Clarets can approach this one as something of a free hit. Sean Dyche usually sticks to a tried and tested formula, so expect Burnley to play with two strikers and to try and press high up the pitch when they can.
The last time Burnley travelled to the Bridge was an extremely feisty affair; Ashley Barnes’ challenge on Nemanja Matic caused a lot of ill-feeling between the clubs and a public exchange of views that lasted for most of the following week. Matic was later sent off, but that saga masked the outstanding result Burnley got on the day, with a late Ben Mee goal earning them a 1-1 draw at the home of the champions elect. A repeat of that result would be a real bonus.
Burnley’s opening day 1-0 loss to Swansea at Turf Moor was an anticlimactic start to their Premier League season, but they more than made up for that with a landmark 2-0 victory against Liverpool. Sam Vokes and Andre Gray were on the scoresheet as Burnley won despite having just 19% possession. They did crash out of the EFL Cup to Accrington Stanley this week, but their eyes will be firmly fixed on Premier League survival. Chelsea have recorded 2-1 wins at home to West Ham and away at Watford, coming from a goal down at Vicarage Road to pinch all three points. They were pushed hard by Bristol Rovers in the EFL Cup in mid-week, but made it through to the third round with a 3-2 win.
Expected Starting Line-ups
Chelsea Starting XI Burnley Starting XI
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Injuries and Suspensions
Willian has a chance to make it against Burnley after missing out against Watford and Bristol Rovers with a calf problem. Kurt Zouma and Martin Van Ginkel are long-term absentees. Cesc Fabregas might get the nod ahead of Oscar in midfield after an impressive cameo against Watford from the bench. Ashley Barnes is an injury doubt for Burnley, who must also decide if full back Jon Flanagan is capable of playing so soon after putting in 120 minutes against Accrington. Andre Gray is available despite an FA charge of misconduct for four-year-old homophobic tweets. He faces a wait to find out the extent of his punishment.
Burnley produced a superb performance against Liverpool last week; pressing the Reds early on and then dropping off in the second to protect their half time lead. Producing another performance of that intensity will be a tall order, especially after mid-week exertions in the EFL Cup. However, Dyche’s men are used to the punishing schedule of the Championship so should not be written off. Burnley were competitive in the vast majority of their games during their last spell of the Premier League, and were rarely on the wrong side of a thrashing. However, with Eden Hazard and Diego Costa re-focused and motivated Chelsea should have enough in the last third to wear down a Burnley rear-guard. We’re plumping for a home win, with the goals coming in the second half.
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