Chelsea have another opportunity to end their terrible Stamford Bridge league form on Saturday. Burnley will be the visitors and they are desperate for a positive result as they slip towards a relegation fight. In the previous meeting this season, the Blues triumphed in emphatic fashion, due to a Christian Pulisic hat-trick. They will be hoping for a similar performance and result to put their home woes behind them in 2020. They remain in the driving seat for a top four finish, but they can’t afford to drop more points in matches like these if they are to do so.
The transfer window is now open and Chelsea are able to do business following the decision to lift their transfer ban. They are looking to add quality to the squad, but they need to be careful not to spoil the positive atmosphere that has been built by Frank Lampard since his appointment. Moussa Dembele has been heavily linked. The Frenchman has all the tools to become a top tier striker, but his arrival could cause problems for the emerging Tammy Abraham. The striker will have a point to prove this month that further reinforcements in attack aren’t required.
Burnley are currently four points above the relegation zone, but the upturn in performances from Southampton, Aston Villa and Watford will leave them looking over their shoulders. The recent defeat to Villa was a huge blow, as it would have been a fixture that Sean Dyche wanted points from. The Clarets have a difficult run of fixtures coming up that could see them fall into the bottom three. That would be a sizeable mental blow to a team that has managed to steer clear of the relegation zone since their promotion.
- Chelsea have already lost seven times in the Premier League. This is only one fewer than they suffered throughout the entirety of last season under Maurizio Sarri.
- Chris Wood has scored five headers in the Premier League this season. This is more than any other player in the division.
This is going to be a big period for Tammy Abraham as he has the opportunity to prove that he is the long term choice to lead the line for Chelsea. His contribution of 12 goals and three assists is a very good start to the season. However, he needs to push on and reach the 20-goal mark to prove that he is capable of being the first choice at a club the size of Chelsea. The speculation linking the club with a move for another striker will give him motivation ahead of this weekend. Burnley are not in great form and they conceded four against Chelsea earlier this season. The Blues will be confident of a positive attacking display this weekend and Abraham is the player that will carry the biggest threat.
Chris Wood has shown his consistency over the course of this season, as he has contributed eight goals. Burnley will need their strikers to score at a good rate over the course of the second half of the season to see the team move away from the bottom three. The New Zealand international is very difficult to contain, as he provides a physical battle and isn’t afraid to put himself about at the top of the pitch. Chelsea will need to deal with the set-piece threat and direct style employed by the visitors. Wood has scored the majority of his goals with his head so far this season and that will be the main concern for Lampard. His team has been vulnerable at the back since he took charge and Sean Dyche will look to target that on Saturday.
Marcos Alonso could return for the home side. Christian Pulisic is a doubt as he struggles with a knock. Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains a long term absentee.
Chris Wood is fully fit after featuring in the FA Cup. However, Ashley Barnes remains a doubt for the weekend. Jay Rodriguez is likely to start, despite being linked with a move away from the club.
Despite recent home results, Chelsea can’t continue to lose at Stamford Bridge. They have too much talent for the run to continue much longer. The turn of the year and the recent FA Cup triumph against Nottingham Forest may give them the confidence to play their own game on Saturday. Burnley have shown little against the traditional top-six teams this season and it would be a surprise if they can keep the home side at bay. A comfortable home win should see the Blues secure their top four position.
Chelsea 2-0 Burnley