Why positive omens are with Antonio Conte's Chelsea ahead of trip to Burnley
Turf Moor has been a very happy hunting ground for Chelsea in the Premier League era. In fact, the Blues must love having the Clarets as top flight opponents after picking up three wins and two draws against the Lancashire club in the two seasons that they have been in the Premier League.
The Blues’ last trip to Turf Moor was the very first Premier League clash of the 2014/15 season, played out on a Friday night, where José Mourinho’s Chelsea came from behind to win 3-1. But even if Chelsea’s previous record ahead of their trip to Turf Moor wasn’t enough of a good omen for their 15:00 Saturday afternoon clash in Matchday III, ahead of this one another statistic comes to light: Chelsea have gone on to win the league in the two seasons that Burnley have been in the division in the Premier League era. On the first occasion, Chelsea did the double over the Clarets under Carlo Ancelotti back in 2009/10, and on the second occasion two years ago, the Blues came out on top in that start of the season clash in 2014/15 before a 1-1 draw in the return fixture at Stamford Bridge the following February.
Despite Chelsea’s strong start to life under Antonio Conte, with two 2-1 victories over West Ham United and Watford in their opening two matches of the new season, it is far too early in the season to talk about the title, particularly so given the strength of other teams in the Premier League this season.
Conte himself is a manager who takes every game at a time and emphasises on meticulous inch-perfect preparation. That will be the order of the day ahead of the trip to Lancashire, against a Burnley side with a spring in their step after achieving a first-ever Premier League win over Liverpool last weekend.
Chelsea however will be a different prospect to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds. Although they seem to have a tendency of leaving it late to win games under Conte based on their first two outings, Diego Costa netting two 87th minute winners, the most telling thing we learnt about Chelsea under the Italian at Watford last week is that they have a Plan B, and a Plan B that works, after substitutes Michy Batshuayi and Cesc Fabregas turned the game on its head at Vicarage Road to snatch the points for the Blues with Watford ahead up until ten minutes from time.
A Plan B; an impact to change the game decisively, may well be required at Turf Moor, particularly after the Clarets capitalised on a fast, frantic and high tempo start to net two quick fire goals from Sam Vokes and Andre Gray in the first-half against Liverpool. Their speed out of the blocks was enough to see out the Reds with a 2-0 victory, though Conte’s Chelsea can be expected to be well-drilled and a somewhat tougher prospect for Burnley to have any joy against in the opening exchanges. History and omens too are with the visitors, but the same could be said of Liverpool last week, who had won every game against Burnley in the Premier League era until last weekend, when history and records did little to help them.
Sean Dyche’s swipe at his opposite number in the media over the treatment of foreign coaches over English ones- in his opinion- has added extra fuel to the pre-match fire, drawing attention to the idea of coaches from Europe often being hailed as tactical geniuses whilst English coaches who employ the same tactics are more often referred to as “dinosaurs”. Conte’s response was more along the lines of the fact that there are tactical geniuses to be found everywhere, in every country, but it is a case of distinguishing between the tactically astute and those who are more outdated in their approach.
Chelsea for now have all the prior statistics and records on their side to find solace ahead of their first trip to Turf Moor under Antonio Conte, but only time will tell if Chelsea’s previous record is soon to be “outdated”-with Burnley set to claim another historic Premier League scalp- or whether they will be extending it with yet another win over the Clarets to put into the record books.
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