Chelsea face a challenging trip to face an improving Burnley team, just days after their Champions League victory against Krasnodar. The time that the Blues have to prepare for the fixture could prove an issue for them, especially when the long haul flights are factored in. This should give a chance to Burnley, who are yet to win a match this season. That said, they have conceded once in their last two matches and are beginning to get back to their best under Sean Dyche.
The Clarets are now one of the favourites for relegation, following a run of picking up only one point from five matches. They are one of the teams that have been impacted most by the absence of supporters. However, an even bigger problem has been the growing rift between Dyche and the current ownership. Dale Stephens was the only outfield arrival in the summer. Although he is a solid player, his signing does little to improve the Burnley side. There have been reports about a pending takeover, which may be required to take the club forward over the long term. Despite this excitement, the short term focus has to be on getting their first victory this weekend.
It has been a mixed start to the season for Frank Lampard and Chelsea. The pressure is on him to deliver improvement due to the summer spending by the Blues. The arrivals have had a limited impact to date, as they all continue to settle into life at Stamford Bridge. Supporters will be encouraged by the signing of Edouard Mendy, as the goalkeeper has kept three clean sheets in four matches since his introduction to the team. The defence was the biggest issue over the summer. Recent performances against Sevilla and Manchester United should provide optimism on that front. They must now deliver a complete performance in both halves of the pitch.
Burnley have scored the fewest amount of goals in the Premier League so far this season, joint with Sheffield United. They have found the net on three occasions.
Ben Chilwell has created nine chances for Chelsea this season. This is the most of any player in the squad and he has started just three of the six matches so far.
Chris Wood is going to be crucial for Burnley this season. There is no doubting the defensive quality of the squad and recent performances suggest they are starting to find form in that half of the pitch. However, they need a regular stream of goals and the New Zealand international is the most likely to provide that. Since the start of the 2018/19 season, he has scored 25 goals. His consistency during this period has been hugely important for the Clarets. During the first five matches of the season, he has averaged 0.36 xG per ninety minutes. Although this is down from 0.63 xG per ninety minutes in the previous campaign, it shows that he is still getting into goal-scoring positions. No other player in the squad comes close to matching these underlying numbers, therefore it emphasises how integral the striker is. At the age of 28, he should be approaching the peak years of his career and he will be looking to beat his career best of 14 in the top-flight. He has one goal to date, but if he maintains his performance level, more should follow soon.
In this fixture last season, Christian Pulisic scored his first Chelsea goals, as he got a hat-trick to help his team to a convincing victory. It was an excellent performance from the American and led to him becoming more involved with the first team after a frustrating period. He is just returning from injury and he will be looking to replicate his impressive showing again at Turf Moor. During the week, the 22-year-old got back on the score-sheet for the first time this season during a cameo in the Champions League. That will give him confidence and suggests that he is beginning to find his rhythm. Lampard does see Pulisic as a key player for him, as shown by his recent minutes, with the 22-year-old starting the last two Premier League matches. Towards the end of last season, he was the player most likely to score in matches and he will be looking to have an even better year in front of goal. This weekend could see Pulisic kickstart his domestic campaign.
Phil Bardsley, Erik Pieters and Johann Berg Gudmundsson are all doubts for this weekend. Meanwhile, Ben Mee and Jack Cork remain a few weeks away from a return from action.
Kepa Arrizabalaga and Billy Gilmour will both be unavailable for the visitors. Hakim Ziyech could be in line for his first Premier League start after impressing in the Champions League.
This will be a big test for Chelsea, as they will need to show a lot more in attack than they did last weekend. They managed to take a point away from Manchester United, but the performance wasn’t convincing. Lampard is trying to find a balance in the starting eleven, as his team have been too open for the majority of his time in charge. Over the past couple of weeks, they have been better at the back, but at the cost of their attacking fluidity. Burnley have struggled for goals this season, therefore the Blues can be more open and look to play higher up the pitch. They should have enough to take three points.
Burnley 0-2 Chelsea