It was a footballing lesson
I love London, the vastness, its massive open spaces, beautiful parks, amazing architecture, and the underground, famous things to see and do and even the weather. As I have got older I appreciate these things more and more.
It is a lot like that with Burnley FC, the third time in seven years we have stepped up to the big league, with its large crowds, fancy stadiums and glamourous fixtures. Chelsea epitomises the whole Premier League brand, with a billionaire owner a rebuilt stadium, outstanding foreign coach and a team oozing quality, with star names a plenty.
That said, despite the ‘big club’, out of touch with reality sky era, there was a lovely moment as Chelsea the club paid tribute to a former player and Claret legend Ian Britton, a nice touch which was richly appreciated by the travelling clarets.
Last season was a poor one by Chelsea’s high standards and the madness of Mourinho has been replaced by the over active Antonio Conte, the swagger and pizazz of two seasons ago is definitely there and there are already signs that this could be a very good season for them. More difficult tests will come than we provided, but in small spells we did show some quality. Minutes 70- 75 were very good, with Burnley camped on the edge of the Chelsea box forcing corner after corner, proving that we can cause problems against the best of teams.
We also started brightly and up to the first goal had a decent amount of possession, Chelsea were just settling in though. high up the pitch, a mix-up between Gray and Arfield, ball pinched by Kante, pinged out wide and Hazard had half the Stamford Bridge pitch to run into, a cut inside a shot into the far corner, Heaton no chance Chelsea one up. Hazard on the ball at every opportunity and Chelsea looking like the team we played on our return to the Premier league two years ago.
One touch football, a variety of passing and Kante and Matic winning the midfield battle, we hardly got out of our half for the next twenty minutes, a clearance off the line, brilliant saves from Heaton and a couple of deflected blocks . We looked second best, unable to get hold of the ball, no possession and Chelsea rampant. The crowd could sense it and like Leicester two years ago, ‘We are the Longside’ began to ring out, long and loud and for a good ten minutes as the fans sang and cheered we got a foothold in the game, tackles were being won passes weren’t going astray, Oscar got booked, Costa dived and the crowd sang on and on.
The second Chelsea goal all but killed the game off, coming as it did not long before half time, although no sooner had they gone two up Burnley worked the ball out wide to Arfield whose shot went inches past the post, our best chance of the game.
The second half began, Chelsea continued in the same vein, in this kind of form Hazard should come with warning lights, space out wide, turning, inside, outside, left foot right, a ‘rabona’ for good measure. He epitomises that famous Chelsea swagger, poor Matt Lowton, to paraphrase Alex Ferguson, he had twisted blood and even when Hazard went off he was replaced by Pedro, such is the relentless nature of this league.
The introduction of Gudmundsson and O’Neill for Arfield and Defour, gave us more attacking intent and neither looked out of place in this team, although more worrying was Marney coming off injured, to be replaced by Tarkowski, a centre half in the holding midfielders role, would no doubt please one particular message boarder, but not the 1600 noisy travelling clarets.
Heaton saved again and again, more brave defending, a laugh at Oscar’s poor imitation of Hazards ‘rabona’, Conte’s arms whirling, cajoling and pushing his team forward and a third goal for Chelsea, it was a footballing lesson, I didn’t like it but like London itself I did appreciate it.Share this page :