Match Preview

PMB: Chelsea v Burnley - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...

• The Blues have so far won three (Burnley and Brighton away, Fulham at home), drawn three, and lost three of the nine domestic fixtures that have followed Europa League games. For perhaps the first time this season the TV scheduling has worked in Chelsea’s favour, though. A longer gap, plus a midweek free of action to follow, should mean fatigue is not so much of a selection issue. There was concern though about the number of knocks sustained against Prague by Eden Hazard – the most fouled player in the Premier League.

• We were comfortable winners in the reverse fixture at Turf Moor in October, racking up 24 attempts on Joe Hart’s goal. Ross Barkley made two and scored one of the visitors’ four goals without reply.


• A third of Chelsea’s league goals this season have come in the last quarter-hour of matches. However, following Liverpool’s two a couple of Sundays ago Chelsea have conceded the most goals in the 15 minutes after the break of any team in the top flight (12). Two of Slavia’s goals on Thursday were registered in the same time period.


THREE AND IN QUIZ


• Burnley boss Sean Dyche ditched his experiment with a back five in December after three straight losses and has used 4-4-2 with two holding midfielders (usually Ashley Westwood and former Blue Jack Cork) ever since. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton and centre-backs James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have been standout performers in their recent run of victories.

• The direct approach is also back at Burnley and they are reaping the rewards of consistently picking two burly frontmen on the same wavelength in Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes. Woods has hit three goals in two games.


• Chelsea will have to be on guard at set-pieces, where the Clarets use their abundance of height and strength to crowd and restrict the opposing goalkeeper. At corners, for example, Barnes often stands behind and makes it awkward for the goalie when the ball is knocked to the back post.


Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes


‘We have to try in the Premier League to get in the top four. It’s not easy for us because we have to play only four matches, but we have to try. I think in the last four, five matches it will be very difficult for every team involved in the fight for the top four, not only for us. I think we can see some very strange results in the last part of the season, we have only to fight and see at the end.’


Burnley manager Sean Dyche's pre-match quotes

‘If you take a knock, you get on with it, you don't sit on it and wallow, you carry on and that's rewarded us from Christmas onwards. We has a really tough first half of the season, a lot of noise outside the camp, and the real clarity of mind has come together to get in the run we've had.’

 

Matchday weather outlook

Sunny and warm at Stamford Bridge on what is a bank holiday evening


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