Given an unexpected opportunity of going third in the Premier League, even if only for a day, Chelsea failed to take all three points against 15th-place Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Monday night. Despite taking a 2-1 lead just 15 minutes into the game, the Blues had to settle for a frustrating, annoying, highly disappointing 2-2 draw.
It was quintessential “classic English football” on display today from the visitors, fulfilling every single Sean Dyche fantasy, thanks to the likes of Ashley Barnes and chief-enabler Kevin Friend, with the lenient whistle.
Maurizio Sarri was furious with everyone and everything, anyone and anything. Sent off by Friend at the end of the match, his frustration lasted beyond the final whistle, and it was Gianfranco Zola who took media duties instead.
“[Sarri] is frustrated, so he didn’t want to come here. He has been sent off and offended as well I think, so he didn’t want to come here. I am sorry for that.”
(Ed.note: Offended? Few things were as offensive as Chelsea’s football at the Bridge today. And certainly not in the actual sense of attacking quality.)
Zola, ever the optimist, managed to pick out the single positive from these 90 minutes.
“Certainly with three points it would have been a different story, but we still gain a point from the other teams. We will fight to the end.”
Still, it’s a hard result to accept. The team’s performance, especially in the second half — familiar trend! — was not good enough.
“In the second half we didn’t play enough, there was a lot of waste of time. Five minutes wasn’t enough. It was not easy to score, maybe we should have been more precise. There was a lot of quality in the first half, we couldn’t get it going. We tried, but it’s not easy.”
And that wasn’t even the worst of it!
Callum Hudson-Odoi, one of the biggest positives of Chelsea’s season, certainly since January, is out for the rest of the season and probably well beyond with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
N’Golo Kanté was also forced off with an injury at half time, after a bad landing on a Burnley brute left him with bruised ribs. He has five days to recover for next weekend’s all-important showdown against Manchester United.
“He had a contusion in his ribs after landing on a player’s leg. He should be alright, nothing serious.”
-Gianfranco Zola; source: Football.London
Chelsea’s Premier League season could come down to that trip up to Old Trafford. After the last two league games, it’s tough to be confident of any positive outcome.