The Blues come into the weekend’s match after a 1-1 draw at Paris-Saint Germain in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday. The League leaders host relegation-threatened Burnley FC at Stamford Bridge. Let’s take a detailed look at our opponents.
The History Of The Team:
Based in Lancashire, Burnley FC were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They are nicknamed The Clarets, due to the dominant color of their home shirts. The club spent most of their early history in England’s top two divisions, but remained outside the top flight from 1976 to 2009.
Burnley have been Football League Champions twice and have won the FA Cup once, in 1914. They are one of only three teams to have won all top four professional divisions of English football, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Preston North End.
They’ve been in the bottom three for five of the six months since the opener against Chelsea, but have been competitive again at Manchester United and West Brom last week. Some of the best results for the Clarets have come against sides riding high. Burnley were only able to secure 21 points of the 25 matches they have played this season. They have been weak at defending their leads for the past few games.
Form in Premier League: D-W-L-L-D-L
The Clarets are expected to line-up in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Before that last outing at Old Trafford, Dyche had selected the same starting eleven for 11 matches in a row with some results to be proud of. The in-form attack of George Boyd and Michael Kightly will be the key to support Ashley Barnes just behind the striker.
Manager Sean Dyche has a list of some injury concerns prior to this match. Matthew Taylor, Dean Marney and Kevin Long are all expected to miss out, but the Clarets will welcome Stephen Ward back into the squad for the first time in two and a half months after suffering from a fractured ankle. Scott Arfield would probably get the nod in midfield for the injured Marney. No players are suspended for this match.
Player to watch out for:
Danny Ings: The line will be led by one of the most prolific strikers in the Premier League in recent times. Having scored in five of his last six league appearances for Burnley, Ings is in the form of his life. The English international is being watched by big names like Real Sociedad and Liverpool and is pitted to be in Roy Hodgson’s senior squad next month.
The 22-year-old is bound to take advantage if the Chelsea defense falters, he’s quick and can make smart runs behind the defender. Hardworking and a physical presence during set pieces and is great at finishing. A complete team player who is willing to paddle back to help his side out.
They are hungry and willing to fight to get themselves out of the bottom 3. Burnley have had 10 days off due to their non-involvement in the FA Cup and thus will be refreshed to take on the league leaders. The in-form attacking duo of George Boyd and Michael Kightly have upset wold class full backs this season.
Burnley possesses that surprise element against top clubs. They are coming off a well-fought loss against Manchester United at Old Trafford and have drawn against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The Clarets have found it difficult to adapt to the Premier League. Sean Dyche’s team have conceded a league-high 16 headed goals in the Premier League this season – six more than any other team and have won just two of their 31 Premier League away games (D5, L24) keeping just one clean sheet. With plenty of injury concerns to their first team squad, an inexperienced Burnley side will be facing Chelsea. The defense can be penetrated with ease by players like Hazard and Oscar and to add to their misery, Burnley are even weaker during set pieces.
Head to Head:
Burnley have not won a league game away to Chelsea since 26 April 1971, when Steve Kindon got the only goal. Since then they have lost five and drawn one of their subsequent six league trips to Chelsea. However, the Clarets did knock the Blues out of the League Cup in 2008 after winning a penalty shoot-out at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues should be the ones dictating the terms throughout the 90 minutes. With Diego Costa back after serving his ban, the Burnley defense would hope the striker has a bad day at the office. The Clarets are up against a team who have won 34 of a possible 36 points at home this season, but with the Blues coming off a midweek game in Paris and Burnley with their 10 day break, there always is that element of surprise.
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Edited By: Ojas Tripathi