Verdict: HT/FT Chelsea
Premier League leaders Chelsea travel to Burnley at the weekend, looking to firm their grip on the title in what is seemingly a much less difficult challenge than their previous match against Arsenal.
Last week’s defeat at the hands of Watford did little to disrupt the Premier league high-flying side Burnley, who are playing well above all expectations this season. Sitting 12th in the league with 29 points to their name, Burnley are nine points in the safe zone and have nothing to fear at a delicate moment as they prepare to welcome Premier League leaders and title chargers Chelsea. Even though they are yet to beat Blues in any of their previous six encounters, Burnley should by no means be underestimated. Sean Dyche has transformed the Clarets into a well-organised unit and a force to be reckoned with, especially at home turf. Burnley won nine and lost only one of their last 10 home matches in all competitions and they will be keen to make amends and find their revenge for the 3-0 beating at Stamford Bridge from the first part of the season. Burnley are confident the club record signing Robbie Brady, who came from Norwich on Deadline Day in a £13 million deal could be crucial in their efforts to stun the great Chelsea.
Jeff Hendrick is suspended and Robbie Brady is likely to be given his first start for the Clarets at the weekend.
The hosts will also be without injured duo Defour and Marney, whereas defender Kevin Long will be racing against fitness to make himself available for the highly anticipated match at Turf Moor.
The Premier League title is Chelsea’s to lose as Blues sit nine points clear at the summit in front of Tottenham. Never did a Premier League team fail to lift the coveted title with this kind of an advantage, but Antonio Conte is careful and cautious, refusing to relax just yet. Blues’ last Premier League match against Arsenal was arguably the perfect demonstration of their title bid as Chelsea went on to dispatch struggling Gunners with ease but the game against Burnley will not be a walk in the park for Chelsea. Their commanding displays are however hard to put aside and as the Blues thrive in their manager’s 3-4-3 formation, there is a great possibility that Chelsea will extend their six-match unbeaten run in all competitions. Conte will be hopeful Eden Hazard could continue with brilliant performances as the Belgian dominated the match against Arsenal, having been heavily criticized for his below-par performance against Liverpool before that. The quality, in addition to current form, is on Chelsea’s side and Blues are indeed firm favourites to win the game.
Eden Hazard has picked up a calf strain against Arsenal, but the Belgian star is expected to be fit to feature on Sunday.
Antonio Conte has no other squad worries ahead of the trip to Turf Moor and is expected to stick with his first-team selection.
Key Factors to Consider
- Chelsea are nine points in front of Tottenham in the standings
- Burnley won nine of their last ten matches at home this season
- Clarets are yet to beat Chelsea in any of their six previous meetings
- There were over 2.5 goals in 5 of 6 encounters between the two sides
- Chelsea lost three of last 11 away matches in all competitions
Burnley are quite a solid side at home turf and Chelsea will be required to be extremely cautious at Turf Moor. Conte’s men are unlikely to miss the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table and we can’t see past an away win here.
Verdict: HT/FT Chelsea
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