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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Burnley v Chelsea

Tale of the tape as the Clarets prepare to face Chelsea at Turf Moor

27 October 2018

Two sides who have flown the flag for the Premier League in the Europa League meet at Turf Moor on Sunday.

The Clarets’ involvement ended at the final qualifying stage as they went down fighting against Olympiakos.

Chelsea, meanwhile, gained direct entry to the group stage and after three straight wins looks to be on their way to the knock-out phase.

While the Clarets found their early-season workload a new challenge, old hands Chelsea are also having to balance their considerable resources as they look to sustain a challenge for domestic and European honours.

And having comfortably beaten Belarus champions and league leaders Bate Borisov on Thursday night, manager Maurizio Sarri hopes his squad rotation again pays off.

Sarri rested eight players for the win at Stamford Bridge and will ring the changes again at Turf Moor as he brings back his big guns.

‘I think we need to change six or seven players for Sunday,’ said Sarri, who wheeled out only Kepa, Mateo Kovacic and Willian from the side that had drawn with Manchester United last weekend.

‘It’s very difficult in England to play in Europe. In the Champions League, Liverpool had to play against Napoli after two matches against Chelsea.

“Man United had to play against Juventus three days after the match against us at Stamford Bridge. We have to play 65 hours after the BATE match, so it’s very difficult for an English team to be competitive in Europe.”

Sarri is new to English football but has hit the ground running. The Italian, 59, is yet to taste defeat in the Premier League and avoiding a loss at Burnley will take him to within Frank Clark’s record of 11 games unbeaten at the start of a Premier League reign.

But the former Napoli boss knows it won’t be easy to extend his record against the Clarets.

He added: “I think the game against Burnley will be very difficult because last season I saw a lot of Burnley’s home matches and so I know very well it will be a difficult match, especially there.”

The Clarets famously won 3-2 at Chelsea on the opening day of last season when Sam Vokes notched a memorable first-half double.

And the striker, who this week signed a new long-term deal at Turf Moor, hopes lightning strikes twice.

Vokes said: “It was a great day and we will be looking to emulate that on Sunday.

“It’s another big test for us. It was a tough one at Manchester City last week, we know that, but bouncing back from that and back at Turf Moor this is a huge game for us.

“We’ll be looking to make it hard for them, play our own way and get a result.”

Read the thoughts of Burnley boss Sean Dyche HERE

Team news

Robbie Brady returns to the Clarets’ squad and could make his first Premier League appearance since December.

Fellow wingman Aaron Lennon is a doubt through illness and Ben Gibson is not yet ready to return following his run-out in the U23s this week.

Chelsea play-maker Eden Hazard faces a fitness check following a back injury which kept him out of the Blues’ Europa League win on Thursday night.

Form guide

The Clarets’ defeat at champions Manchester City last Saturday ended their unbeaten three-game run in the Premier League.

Sean Dyche’s side has taken four points from their last two home games.

Third-placed Chelsea are unbeaten this season – bar a Charity Shield defeat to Manchester City in August.

They have drawn two of their last three games in the Premier League – to Manchester United and Liverpool – and come to Turf Moor on the back of a third successive win in the group stages of the Europa League thanks to a 3-1 victory over Bate Borisov of Belarus.

Opposition camp

Chelsea's former Clarets loanee defender Gary Cahill: “These are the games you need to win if you’re going to be at the top and compete come the end of the season.

Gary Cahill was sent off as the Clarets won 3-2 at Stamford Bridge last season

“This is a very difficult game at the weekend going away to Burnley, everyone knows that.

“So these are the games you have to churn out the victories in. That’s the way I’ve seen it over the years and this weekend will be no different.

“But we’re prepared, the momentum’s good, the form’s good, so we’ve nothing in that respect to fear.

“But we’re very respectful of how strong Burnley are at home, having proved that last season.”

Match stats

Clarets midfielder Jeff Hendrick will make his 300th club appearance – split between Derby County and Burnley – if he features against the Blues.

Robbie Brady’s full Burnley debut came against Chelsea in January, 2017 when he scored the Clarets’ equaliser, direct from a free-kick, in a 1-1 draw.

Chelsea have kept only two clean sheets in their 36 top-flight matches at Turf Moor, in 0-0 draws in 1963 and 1970.

Nine of Chelsea’s 20 league goals this season have been scored in the final 15 minutes of matches.

Referee

South Yorkshire-based Craig Pawson, who took charge when the two sides met on the opening day of last season.

Kick-off

Chelsea’s involvement in Europe means a switch to Sunday lunch-time, with a 1.30pm kick-off GMT. Don’t forget to put your clocks back.


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