After narrowly escaping defeat in their first two Premier League games of the season, Chelsea now get ready to take on newly-promoted Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Antonio Conte will be looking for his third straight victory in the Premier League and his second at home as Chelsea welcome Burnley to Stamford Bridge. The Clarets are coming off a superb 2-0 win against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool last week and despite slipping up against fourth tier side Accrington Stanley in their midweek EFL fixture, Sean Dyche’s men will still try to put up a fight and look to go back to Lancashire with a result.
Chelsea have narrowly escaped defeat in their games this season, with all the matches finishing by a margin of one goal in the favour of the blues and which were often scored at the death. Chelsea’s injury-time luck won’t last forever and Burnley will be looking to make the most of a leaky Chelsea defence. Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill and John Terry aren’t the force they once were and Chelsea’s hunt for defensive reinforcements throughout the transfer window is no secret. Chances will likely come few and far between for Burnley, but they have enough firepower to cause an upset.
After being able to rest a number of key players for their mid week tie against Bristol Rovers, this clash will see the return of John Terry to the middle of the park alongside Gary Cahill. Willian, N’golo Kante, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa will all return to the starting lineup.
Against both Watford and West Ham, it was the late changes in the end from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-2-4 that led to them getting victories. So it is expected that Antonio Conte may finally deploy his team in a 4-2-4 formation. Cesc Fabregas, who set up Costa for the winner last week against Watford, will surely have warranted a start with his performance and is expected to start alongside Kante in midfield, instead of Nemanja Matic.
Michy Batshuayi has scored 3 goals in 3 games and also registered an assist. He’s started only one of those three games and his introduction in the Watford and West Ham games turned them on their heads. He scored the equalizer last week and assisted Costa for the winner the week before. Putting two upfront certainly looks to be the way forward for the Blues and after continuously impressing, Batshuayi might finally get a Premier League start in place of an underwhelming Oscar.
Possible Starting XI(4-2-4) : Courtois; Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic; Kante, Fabregas; Hazard, Batshuayi, Costa, Willian
Sean Dyche’s men have had a mixed return to the top flight so far. They’ve lost narrowly to Swansea and won against Liverpool. In their victory against the Reds, Burnley had 19% possession. They will surely be looking to repeat much of the same performance against Chelsea tonight.
Going with a tried and tested 4-4-2 formation, Dyche wouldn’t want to fix something that isn’t broken. New signing Stephen Defour has come into the side and added a significant amount of quality to the squad. However, it is likely that Burnley’s attacks will come mostly through counter attacks. George Boyd and Scott Arfield will be deployed on the wings and will be looking to make the most of Chelsea’s defensive frailties on the wings
Possible Starting XI(4-4-2) : Heaton; Ward, Mee, Keane, Lowton; Boyd, Defour, Marney, Arfield; Vokes, Gray
- Burnley’s Sean Dyche is the third longest serving manager in the Premier League. Only Arsene Wenger and Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe have been at the helm of their respective clubs for longer.
- If Chelsea win tomorrow, it would be the first time they have won a third consecutive Premier League game since February-March.
- Chelsea haven’t kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since they faced Aston Villa in April.
- In 3 games for Chelsea since the start of the new season, Michy Batshuayi has scored 3 goals and assisted 1.
- Burnley’s 2-0 win over Liverpool last week was the first time the Reds were prevented from scoring in the Premier League since February.
- Burnley’s last win against Chelsea Stamford Bridge came in April 1971.
Player To Watch
Chelsea: Michy Batshuayi
The 22-year-old striker is slowly becoming a fan favourite among the Blues’ faithful with his energetic, match winning displays combined with his social media antics. After an immediate impact coming on as a substitute against West Ham, where he set up Costa for the winner, he would go on to score the equalizing goal against Watford while again, coming on as a substitute.
His brace against Bristol Rovers showed he could make an impact over the course of 90 minutes and would’ve made a great case for Antonio Conte to give him a start against Burnley alongside Diego Costa. Should he keep up this goal return consistently, the Belgian could make the reported £32 million Chelsea paid for him look like an absolute bargain.
Chelsea 2-1 Burnley
Despite Chelsea’s problems at the back, the likes of Cahill, Terry and Azpilicueta shouldn’t be too troubled by the Burnley duo of Gray and Vokes, who are expected to lead the line for the Clarets. However, they will take confidence from their performance against Liverpool last week and Conte will be aware that Burnley are not a team to be taken lightly. Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi have been in fine form for the Blues, with the latter getting two goals in midweek against Bristol Rovers, so Chelsea can surely score more than they concede. Should Antonio Conte get his formation right for the game, the result could be far worse for Sean Dyche’s men.