Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 6/5
Desperate to keep their top-four buffer and make some rather drastic improvements at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will welcome Burnley to West London on Saturday afternoon.
Starting with the hosts, while Chelsea may have managed to pick up what was a testing 2-0 victory over Championship outfit Nottingham Forest last week, the Blues have shown some signs of inconsistency entering the New Year. Although on paper it might show that Frank Lampard’s side have lost just one of their last five matches across all competitions, a run that has seen them pick up victories over Tottenham and Arsenal, the former champions could only muster a 1-1 draw away at Brighton on New Year’s Day. Opening the weekend with a five-point buffer from dropping out of the top-four thanks to the teams around them also dealing with some glaring issues, the former England midfielder has seen his side win just three of their last nine Premier League matchups. There is no doubt that fans around West London will be hugely concerned by their side’s continued issues at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have lost three of their last four top-flight matches on home soil, with those defeats coming against West Ham, Bournemouth, and Southampton, three sides battling to avoid the drop.
Chelsea are hopeful Christian Pulisic and Marcos Alonso will be available after minor injures last weekend.
Long-term absentees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marco van Ginkel remain on the sidelines.
As for the visitors, while Burnley may have managed to pick up what was their own expected FA Cup victory over lower league opposition in Peterborough last week, their Premier League struggles have begun to worry many around Turf Moor. Hit with what was a shock 2-1 defeat at home against relegation scrappers Aston Villa on New Year’s Day, Sean Dyche’s men have lost each of their last three top-flight matches on the bounce. With some starting to fear that the Clarets could be dragged into their own bottom-three battle, Burnley have lost six of their last eight Premier League appearances, a run that stems back to the 23rd of November. Along with showing some worrying issues in the final third and scoring just four goals in their previous eight matchups, the Clarets also hold what is an appalling record against top-six opposition. Including being hit with a 2-0 defeat against a struggling Manchester United a fortnight ago, Saturday’s guests have won only one of their past 29 league games against established top-six opposition.
Burnley will be without Johann Berg Gudmundsson due to a hamstring injury, while Ashley Barnes is expected to miss out with an ongoing groin problem.
Jay Rodriguez and Phil Bardsley have both missed training this week because of flu and are being assessed.
Key Factors to Consider
- Chelsea are looking to complete the league double over Burnley for the first time since the 2009/2010 campaign.
- Burnley have won just one of the 11 Premier League meetings (D3, L7).
- The Blues have lost three of their last four Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge.
- Saturday’s hosts have also scored just a single goal in each of their last four top-flight matches on home soil.
- Burnley have lost each of their last three Premier League appearances.
While Chelsea might open Saturday’s contest as a landslide favourite with the bookmakers, the Blues have continued to show some glaring issues at Stamford Bridge. Losing three of their last four Premier League matches in West London and also scoring just a single goal in each of those appearances, this weekend could prove to be yet another scrappy encounter. Coupled with Burnley recording just four strikes in their previous eight outings, we’re backing under 2.5 goals in the capital this weekend.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 6/5
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