After a 10-day break, the Premier League returns with Chelsea taking on Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
On paper, this should be an easy matchup, against an injury-hit, struggling side. Burnley have lost three in a row and six of their last eight, to sit just a few points above the relegation zone. But we’ve been here before far too many times in the past couple months, and managed to [FUN] it up against West Ham, Bournemouth, and Southampton, all 1-0 home losses. For good measure, we also added a 3-1 away loss to Everton and a 1-1 away draw against Brighton. All told, we’ve won just 3 of our last 9 league games, losing 5. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it: that’s terrible form (10 points from 27) and just one better than Burnley themselves (9 points from 27).
And yet, the rest of our top-four rivals have been almost equally as bad, which means that we somehow still have a semi-comfortable 5-point lead over fifth place Manchester United. We’ve left a lot of points on the table, and that could yet come back to haunt us when the schedule actually gets tough, but for now, things are still okay.
And presumably, we will improve as well — perhaps starting this weekend — though we might have to make a few cosmetic changes to the stadium first.
Date / Time: Saturday, January 11, 2020, 15.00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Bramford Stidge, SW6
Referee: Kevin Friend — We last Mr. Not-my-friend in this same fixture towards the end of last season, when Burnley held on to a 2-2 draw, so that’s just wonderful.
Forecast: A bit breezy
On TV: none (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); Canal+ Sport 2, SuperSport 4, SuperSport 12 (NGA)
Streaming: NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (USA); HotStar (India); DStv Now (NGA); Chelsea TV (audio commentary only — int’l)
Chelsea team news: The big news — and actual news, not just transfer rumors — out of the SW6 is that Christian Pulisic is set to miss at least a “few” weeks with an adductor injury. That prognosis lends some hope it not being too severe of an injury, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Like most soft tissue injuries, these can linger well past the initial estimates.
Without Pulisic, who put Burnley to the sword with a hat-trick in the first meeting earlier this season, Chelsea will have to find a different source of goals. Considering that we’ve been held without a goal in 3 of our last 4 home league games, that’s a bit of a scary prospect.
Chelsea did move past Nottingham Forest fairly easily last weekend in the third round of the FA Cup, with Callum Hudson-Odoi in particularly sparkly form, so perhaps he can step up in the Premier League as well.
FL: Pulisic is injured— Graham MacAree (@MacAree) January 10, 2020
CP: I'm not injured
/FL jauntily returns from training, holding a hammer
FL: As I was saying, Pulisic is injured https://t.co/0MDLmJjCEJ
Burnley team news: The Clarets have it much worse when it comes to injuries, with eight names listed on the latest injury report. That includes two names that few ankles and shins will shed any tears over, Ashley Barnes and Phil Bardsley. The likes of Aaron Lennon, Chris Wood, Jay Rodriguez, and Dwight McNeil face late fitness tests.
Despite Chelsea’s big win earlier this season, Sean Dyche will draw confidence from the fact that he hasn’t lost in his last two trips to Stamford Bridge, preceding the aforementioned 2-2 draw with a 3-2 win over Conte’s Chelsea on the first day of the 2017-18 season.
“The main thing about playing the big guns and getting a result is that it shows you can, therefore there’s not a backlog of people saying you can’t do it, because we’ve proved we can.
“It actually means nothing, because once the whistle goes it’s a completely different game. Physiologically though it reinforces that you have done it before, in this case Chelsea or against any other side.”
-Sean Dyche; source: Burnley Express
Previously: Perfect Pulisic perfection.