Burnley vs Chelsea
Venue: Turf Moor
Referee: Craig Pawson
Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea will look to continue their unbeaten run this weekend against a Burnley side without a win in their last two and fresh off the back of a 5-0 thumping against Manchester City.
Burnley were royally beaten last time out at The Etihad, and while that may not be something to be hugely upset about, the way in which they were taken apart and dismantled will fill Chelsea with confidence.
Sarri’s side, however, will be coming into this with confidence. At the time of writing the are yet to play BATE Borisov in the Europa League but coming back against Manchester United last week will fill them with hope. Yet to lose this season in the league, Chelsea look in phenomenal form despite being two points behind Liverpool and City; they have looked stronger and sharper than last season’s showing under Antonio Conte.
Burnley have been known to be rather resolute at home this season, conceding just six goals (the same as Chelsea) but the Blues have, at times, have been unstoppable. However as United proved, if you can stop Hazard then you can slow down Chelsea.
That is certainly much easier said than done, and one wonders whether Burnley have the actual capability to do so. If they do then this game could be very close but if not, that is if Hazard is starting, then there is a strong chance Chelsea will just run away with all three points back down south to the capital.
Burnley Team News
Burnley have a substantial six players out injured for this week. Robbie Brady, Ben Gibson, Nick Pope, Jon Walters, Stephen Ward and Nakhi Wells. Having six players could well have a significant impact on the outcome of the game, although they do have a first choice back four so that will be crucial.
Sam Vokes and Jeff Hendrick as an attacking partnership, sitting as a nine and a ten, can be incredibly effective at times but Chelsea have been a solid defensive unit so I would doubt whether they would be able to penetrate it.
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea may well be without their talisman this weekend as Eden Hazard is still feeling the effects of a rather aggressive Manchester United approach from the game at Stamford Bridge. He has been definitely ruled out of the Europa League clash but Sarri remains hopeful his star man could return for the game at Turf Moor.
So if we work on the assumption Hazard will not be starting, Willian and Pedro may well both be named in the starting XI by Sarri. Or could the Italian throw in a wild card, possibly Callum Hudson-Odoi starting, providing some youth and energy to the team?
The rest of the Chelsea team is fit and strong with the only question being who starts in midfield out of Barkley or Kovacic. The former scored the equalising goal last weekend but Kovacic has been in fantastic form so far this season. Whoever they pick, its undoubtedly a nice problem to have.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Burnley: (4-4-1-1) Hart; Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor; Lennon, Defour, Cork, Gudmundsson; Hendrick, Vokes.
Chelsea: (4-3-3) Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Giroud, Hazard
Prediction: Burnley 0 Chelsea 2
I can see this game being tight for around 70 minutes but I fear that eventually Chelsea will just have too much. Even without Hazard, if he doesn’t start, the Blues have a fantastic attacking trio with creativity behind them. Burnley are a good team but I suspect that this weekend will be a step too far for the Lancashire side.