A first win and now the league leaders away
Last Saturday we were finally celebrating our first league win of the season against Brentford but we now face their West London neighbours Chelsea who are currently three points clear at the top of the league.
It doesn’t come much tougher and it’s part of a difficult start to the season that has already seen us visit both Liverpool and Manchester City who are currently second and third in the table.
Last week’s win, despite not lifting us out of the bottom three, has at least removed some of the negativity around, many fans now busy enthusing over our first half performance. It has at least taken us to a place that, should we win tomorrow, we would be guaranteed to move up the table by one place at least following Aston Villa’s defeat tonight at Southampton.
But it will be difficult and our season won’t stand or fall on our result at Stamford Bridge where we have at least avoided defeat on three occasions in the Premier League. We drew there when Mourinho was left counting the minutes and drew when David Luiz so brilliantly gave us our anti-football song. And then, of course, there was the opening day of the 2017/18, a day and result none of us there will forget.
“He’s been a real breath of fresh air,” Pope said about the recent signing. “I’ve really enjoyed having him on the training ground with us and in the building. All the lads love him to bits, so we’re pleased to have him.”
Pope knows we can do it tomorrow. “Of course,” he said. “We’ve won there, we’ve won at Anfield, Old Trafford and the Emirates. It’s not something that we are alien to doing, it’s something we’ve done before and something we enjoy doing.”
Having missed the end of last season with injury, Pope is very much fit now and has played every league game this season. The only game he sat out was the League Cup game at Newcastle when his deputy Wayne Hennessey excelled.
Sean Dyche will always want to keep injuries to an absolute minimum but it wasn’t something we were able to do last season. For tomorrow’s game it is almost a clean bill of health. Dale Stephens is fit again and back on the grass with the manager wanting to get him some game time before being considered. The only other absentee tomorrow is going to be Aaron Lennon who hasn’t been well.
I’m sure the manager won’t be looking to make too many, if any changes, following the Brentford win. It could be the same team and if so we will line up: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood, Maxwel Cornet. Subs from: Wayne Hennessey, Will Norris, Phil Bardsley, Connor Roberts, Nathan Collins, Kevin Long, Erik Pieters, Jack Cork, Ashley Barnes, Jay Rodriguez, Matěj Vydra.
Chelsea currently sit top of the league with 25 points from their ten games to date and the two sides they have dropped points against are the two teams directly below them. Back on the third week of the season they drew 1-1 against Liverpool at Anfield, having to play the second half with ten men after Reece James was sent off for handling the ball on the line, giving Liverpool their equaliser from the penalty spot, converted by Salah. The one defeat was at home with a Gabriel Jesus goal giving Manchester City a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Salah and Jesus, which other players have scored Premier League goals against Chelsea this season? James Ward-Prowse, like Salah, scored a penalty against them and that is it. Two penalties and one goal from open play.
Manchester City, with six goals conceded, is second best and only Liverpool with 29 have scored more than Chelsea’s 26 goals. James has scored four of them with Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku all having scored three. No fewer than fifteen players have recorded Premier League goals this season.
Mason Mount could be available. He’s been ill with an infected wisdom tooth. He’s back in training but Thomas Tuchel said it is a case of wait and see because he’s lost weight and is still taking medication. The good news for the Chelsea boss is that Christian Pulisic (pictured above) is back from injury and we recall that he scored a hat trick on the Turf two seasons ago.
They’ve warmed up nicely for us. They beat Norwich 7-0 in their last home game and last week beat Newcastle 3-0 at St. James’ Park when their team was: Edouard Mendy, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rüdiger, Reece James, N’Golo Kanté, Jorginho, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Kai Havertz. Subs: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcus Bettinelli, Marcos Alonso, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Trevoh Chalobah, Saúl, Ross Barley, César Azpilicueta, Malang Sarr.
LAST TIME WE WERE THERE
Chelsea had just appointed Thomas Tuchel as manager; this was his second game in charge. We’d just won our last two league games at Liverpool and at home against Aston Villa.
I think it is fair to say that they were just too good for us on the day although it all started well and had we got an early goal then things could have been different. As the game went into the final quarter of an hour of the first half, Chelsea were getting on top and we needed to get to half time with the scores level. We didn’t; César Azpilicueta scored five minutes before the break.
There was no damage done in terms of league placing with us still in 16th place.
Then teams were;
Chelsea: Edouard Mendy, César Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rüdiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi (Reece James 73), Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso, Mason Mount (Kai Havertz 80), Tammy Abraham (Christian Pulisic ht), Timo Werner. Subs not used: Subs not used: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud.
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Robbie Brady (Joel Mumbongo 76), Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood (Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson 62), Matěj Vydra (Jay Rodriguez 62). Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Dale Stephens, Josh Benson.Share this page :