This weekend, Burnley welcome Chelsea to Turf Moor, as they attempt to move clear of the bottom three. It will be a tough game, as the visitors will want to deliver a strong performance after losing the Carabao Cup final last weekend. Sean Dyche will take confidence from their recent win over Tottenham, as it showed they can compete against the very best teams in the division. Although Thomas Tuchel will want to finish the season strongly, Chelsea don’t have a lot to play for in the league. This could play into the hands of Burnley.
There has been an improvement in Burnley’s performances recently. The midweek defeat to Leicester City will re-focus minds, but there will be a belief that they can stay up this season. In their last four matches, the Clarets have taken seven points and there is more confidence within the squad. They are now one point from safety, with Everton just one pace above them. The experience that Burnley have in relegation battles will be important. Even in matches against the top clubs, there will be confidence that they can get a result.
It has been a poor week for Chelsea on and off the pitch. They will be feeling unfortunate not to have won the Carabao Cup after having several clear cut chances against Liverpool. Kepa became the story, but it was a very good performance from Chelsea and they should take the positives from that. Roman Abramovich’s ownership has been called into question this week due to ongoing war in Ukraine. The businessman has confirmed he is willing to sell the club and that could prove to be a distraction this weekend.
- Burnley have only ever beaten Chelsea in the Premier League on one previous occasion. The Blues have triumphed on ten occasions.
- Chelsea have kept three clean sheets in their last four matches across all competitions. There are signs that Tuchel’s strong defence is returning.
There is a lot of pressure on Wout Weghorst. The Dutchman arrived in January with a big reputation. It was seen as a huge coup, as he was signed to replace Chris Wood. So far, he has managed to score one Premier League goal. However, his excellent Bundesliga record suggests there is more to come from the striker. Burnley have a good defence, as it has been reliable for several years under Sean Dyche. The bigger problem this year has been scoring goals. This season, they have scored 22 goals. Only Norwich City have scored fewer with 15. In the last three seasons, the 29-year-old has scored 42 goals in the Bundesliga at a rate of one every 172.5 minutes. This is a good scoring rate and Burnley will be hoping he can score the goals to fire them to safety. Matches like ones against Chelsea will motivate him, as it gives him the chance to enhance his reputation in this country.
It has been a good few weeks for Kai Havertz. He was arguably Chelsea’s best outfield player during the Carabao Cup final, as his movement and link-up play caused a lot of problems for Liverpool. The recent struggles of Romelu Lukaku mean that there is a section of the support that believe Havertz is the long term future for the club. He looks more suited to the number nine role in Tuchel’s system, as he links up the play well and offers a real goal threat. At times, matches pass Lukaku by, but Havertz is a lot more influential. His contribution of two goals and one assist in the Premier League is underwhelming, but he is only just establishing himself in the first eleven. The next few weeks are pivotal for the German, as he needs to take advantage of this form.
This should be a fascinating match at both ends of the table. Burnley have been performing better and they have been stubborn in recent weeks. Tottenham, Brighton and Leicester City have struggled to create clear cut chances against them. Chelsea are a higher level to those three clubs, but they have relatively little to play for this season. The distractions off the pitch could help the home side get a crucial three points, as the Chelsea squad will have been distracted by the off-field stories about Abramovich. That said, the visitors should have the better players and that could make the difference.
Burnley 1-2 Chelsea