League leaders Chelsea host relegation threatened Burnley on Saturday in what could turn out to be an easy work out for this in-form Blues squad. While Jose Mourinho’s men have garnered an imperious 13 points out of the possible 15 over the last 5 match-days, Burnley have managed to scrap a paltry 4 points over the same period of time. Sitting atop the Table with a healthy lead of 7 points, the London side will be keen to strengthen their claim to the English footballing throne with yet another stellar performance at home.
The Blues have some critical injury and suspension woes for this game. While Diego Costa is set to sit out of this game as he completes his 4 match ban for the stamp on Emre Can, influential midfielders, Fabregas (Illness) and Oscar (Muscular injury) remain doubtful. Both of them are expected to undergo a late fitness test before a decision can be made on their availability. John Obi Mikel is definite to miss this game due to a knee injury.
Burnley will be without the services of Ward (Ankle) and Taylor (Calf) as they are set to make a comeback only by the next match day. Marney (ACL Knee) and Kevin Long (ACL Knee) are still recovering from their long term injuries and would be available only in the season to come.
Cesc Fabregas has assisted 19 goals in all competitions this season, 11 more than any other Chelsea player.
Chelsea and Burnley have previously met on 82 occasions in all competitions with Burnley winning 36, Chelsea winning 29 and the remaining ending in a draw.
Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Zouma, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Hazard, Willian, Cuadrado; Remy
Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Mee; Boyd, Arfield, Jones, Kightly, Barnes; Ings
The Spanish midfielder has taken the league by storm on his return. Fabregas has formed a lethal partnership with the likes of Costa and Hazard while complementing the skill sets of the ever combative and highly influential midfielder Nemanja Matic. With 15 assists in the league so far, the Spaniard is head and shoulders above the rest of the league in the creativity department. With 13 games to go, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Fabregas can better the all-time Premier League assist record of 20 held by his former colleague Thierry Henry. Should he be available for the game against the Clarets, Fabregas would be keen to leave his stamp of authority on this game with his performance in the middle of the park.
The Burnley man was subject to immense speculation towards the end of the winter transfer window with Liverpool identifying him as a target. Despite not having signed a new deal at the club, the striker’s availability at the club ensures the presence of a constant threat to the opposition’s defence. Jose Mourinho isn’t one to take things lightly and instructions would have been meted out to the robust, yet recently shaky Chelsea defence to keep the Englishman in check. Ings will not be presented with a barrage of chances in the game. However, should he manage to convert any of the few chances that come his way early in the game, Chelsea could have a game to chase.
After extra-time, 90 minutes 1-1, Burnley won 5-4 on penalties
We expect Chelsea to chalk out an authoritative result at home. Despite a few doubts lingering around the team, the quality at hand is too hot to handle for anyone and Burnley should look to control the damage that might occur at Stamford Bridge.