Chelsea look to rebound from a defeat away to Liverpool last weekend on Monday night when they welcome Burnley to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League for what should be three points for the Blues.
Group EPL Stamford Bridge, Fulham, England
Key Stat: Despite trailing in the head to head against Burnley, Chelsea have only one loss to the Clarets in their last 12 attempts dating all the way back to 1974.
Expert Verdict: Chelsea have dominated this tie, and they really need that dominance to continue here and now. Anything less than three points could put massive pressure upon them in the Europa League and could possibly take them out of the running for the Champions League spots via the league. A win will be tough given Burnley's recent form, but the Clarets are safe now and can afford to rest a bit on their laurels.
Maurizio Sarri has two major senior injuries at the moment, with center back Antonio Rudiger and left back Marcos Alonso set to miss out. This puts strain on the back line, who will have had to play a lot of football in the last week or so.
Eden Hazard had a couple of big, big chances that went begging in the game against Liverpool, and it costed Chelsea dearly. They can’t afford that sort of thing to happen again if they want to make the Champions League, and it’s unlikely to occur given that he has 16 goals on the season and had a bit of an day yet still played such a key role in getting into those spots. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the other to watch as he attempts to win the midfield battle with his size and technical ability. He also has scored five times on the season and has started to nail down a regular place in recent months.
Chelsea have four wins and a loss in their last five matches:
4-3 home win vs Slavia Prague (UEL)
2-0 loss at Liverpool
0-1 win at Slavia Prague (UEL)
2-0 home win vs West Ham
3-0 home win vs Brighton
Defenders:Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson
Midfielders:Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho
Forwards:Hazard, Hudson-Odoi, Higuain
Sean Dyche will be missing veteran striker Peter Crouch and midfielder Steven Defour but otherwise has a full squad to pick from for this tricky trip to London.
Chris Wood will enter this match is scintillating form having bagged two goals in the win over Cardiff and three over his last two outings combined. The Kiwi has a total of ten now in the division, tying his mate Ashley Barnes without having to strike a penalty. Quite the feat to accomplish. The big man could be very tricky to deal with here in this one as well thanks to his height and power. Dwight McNeil provided the assist for his opening goal last weekend, showing why he has been one of the better signings of the season, particularly in the lower half. It was his fifth assist of his debut season, adding to his three goals scored, a fine return.
Burnley have three wins and two losses in their last five matches:
2-0 home win vs Cardiff
1-3 win at Bournemouth
2-0 home win vs Wolves
1-2 home loss vs Leicester
4-2 loss at Liverpool
Defenders:Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor
Midfielders:Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil
Burnley have 34 wins, 15 draws, and 25 losses against Chelsea so far, in what would be a bit of a surprising head to head battle to many.
Here's a look at the last five results:
Oct 28, 2018: Burnley 0-4 Chelsea
Apr 19, 2018: Burnley 1-2 Chelsea
Aug 12, 2017: Chelsea 2-3 Burnley
Feb 12, 2017: Burnley 1-1 Chelsea
Aug 27, 2016: Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Chelsea are at ¼ to win, a draw is at 21/4, and a Burnley win is at 14/1.
Chelsea will begin this round of fixtures in fifth place in the league with 66 points from 34 games. That means they start out the weekend (they go on last, so to speak) level on points with Arsenal but behind on goal difference. This is massive, and it puts pressure upon them to keep pushing in that battle for the Champions League slots. They could be further behind when play starts, but they could have a bonus fall in their laps and be able to get into the top four with a result. Europa League victory is still a possibility that could hand it to them. They have nine points from their last 15 on offer, having lost at both Merseyside clubs in that stretch.
Remaining Fixtures: vs Burnley, @ Manchester United, vs Watford, @ Leicester
Burnley will start this round in 14th place in the division with 39 points from 34 games, just about good enough to ensure they will be remaining in the league for another season. It’s been up and down for them, but they look like they have done it now, and this match, should they get anything, would be viewed as the icing on top of the cake. They have gotten to this point after three straight wins, bringing them into this match in what should be a relaxed, confident mood.
Remaining Fixtures: @ Chelsea, vs Manchester City, @ Everton, vs Arsenal
The Blues have lost just once in 17 home outings this season, showing just how important Stamford Bridge has been to their cause. However, a total of five draws has seen them fall off the title race pace while sucking them into a four team melee for two UCL places. With that said, their last five matchesthere have produced four wins and a draw, meaning it will be quite the challenge for the visitors to overcome.
The Clarets has been far from the travelers this season, but their 16 points from 17 outings has been enough to lock up safety for another year. They have just four wins and have lost over half of their trips, but it won’t mean too much to them here. If they come in with a chip on their shoulders, rather than being on the beach, it could set them up for an upset of the Blues. They have two wins in their last five away matches and seven total points.
No for both sides scoring is at 7/10 at Ladbrokes.
Betfair have Hazard scoring for 1.83 anytime.
Burnley won’t just be pushed over just because they have secured themselves life in the division already, but they might just not have that edge about them. The big names of Chelsea will make them pay with their class in a tougher than anticipated meeting.