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Burnley vs. Chelsea, Premier League: Preview, team news, how to watch

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A dangerous opponent at a bad time

Burnley v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Thanks to Premier League scheduling, this match comes at a rather difficult time. Chelsea have the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, so instead of giving the Blues some breathing room and putting this game on Tuesday or Wednesday, the league and its TV partners money behind it all chose the closest date possible, Thursday. Thanks!

Burnley would be dangerous opposition even at the best of times, but especially now. After going winless for a dozen straight in all competitions, they’ve won five on the trot, bringing them to within eight points of us and only two behind Arsenal in sixth. They’re formidable at Turf Moor where they rarely concede (fourth best with 13 conceded), although they also are the division’s worst at scoring goals at home with only 14 in 17 games.

Antonio Conte will be facing some difficult line-up decisions. Should he rest players for the FA Cup, or should he try to build on Saturday’s comeback by fielding a strong side? Since Tottenham are unlikely to lose at least two of their last four matches, the league should remain an afterthought right now, despite all quotes to the contrary. On the other hand, neither he nor the players need the drama that would come with a loss.

Chelsea began the season with a shock home defeat to the Clarets, their first win at the Bridge since 1971. Time to avenge that and gather momentum for Sunday, too.

Date / Time: Thursday, April 19th, 2018, 19:45 BST; 2:45 pm EDT; 12:15 am IST

Venue: Turf Moor, Burnley, England

Referee: Bobby Madley — the 32 year-old was added to the Select Group of Premier League Officials in 2013-14 and is one of six FIFA refs in the Prem (but like every other PL arbiter, he won’t be in Russia for the World Cup). He falls eleventh on the list of appearances this season, which may or may not be a reflection of how he’s viewed. Madley has whistled two Chelsea matches, our 0-0 draw at Everton and the Community Shield against Arsenal, when he booked Willian for the offense of getting tripped-up in the penalty box by Hector Bellerin. (Ed. note: just one of the many little things to go against Chelsea this season, as opposed to for, like last season.)

Forecast: Dry and cool, seven percent chance of rain. Temps should be around 14°C (57°F), winds 10 km/h (6 mph).

On TV: Sky Sports (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); elsewhere

Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India)

Chelsea team news: Conte will be without one of his nigh-undroppables in Marcos Alonso, who begins a three-match suspension for a “naughty” tackle on Southampton’s Shane long. January-signing Emerson Palmieri, who’s been little more than an afterthought since, is thus set for his first league start. Danny Drinkwater has another injury, a groin this time. It’s what kept him out of consideration for Southampton. David Luiz is still rehabilitating his knee and Ethan Ampadu has a broken ankle as well as a still-unsettled transfer fee.

Burnley team news: Scott Arfield, Steven Defour, Ben Mee and Robbie Brady are out, while Georges-Kevin N’Koudou and Jon Walters will be match-day decisions.

Last time: Remember when Pedro was in form and scoring? Ah, the good old days! He drew first blood for Chelsea on our last trip to Turf Moor, a 1-1 draw a year ago February.