Another big defeat for Clarets
Having lost 5-0 a week ago at Manchester City, I’m sure we would have preferred not to have faced another of the top six yesterday, but that was the case with Chelsea following in City’s footsteps with a 4-0 win at Turf Moor.
It’s the first time we’ve conceded four goals at home for over eight years, since Reading won 4-0 in a game that was probably more memorable for it being Leon Cort’s last Burnley appearance as much as anything else.
We can’t be expected to beat the likes of City or Chelsea. The only home point we’ve taken from Chelsea in the Premier League came two seasons ago when Robbie Brady scored on his first start, but the worrying thing now is we are struggling to compete in these games without conceding an avalanche of goals. Whereas once we were difficult to score against, now teams are not finding it too difficult to find the net. Including the rout at Arsenal, this is the fourth time we’ve conceded four or more in the last twelve Premier League games.
The day all started brightly. We knew to expect Steven Defour playing on the Turf for the first time since January and believed that Robbie Brady, other than a short pre-season appearance, could be doing likewise as he makes his return following the injury sustained at Leicester at the beginning of December last year.
The team news was a point of discussion for us prior to the game and when the news came through, both were in; the inclusion of Brady for the ill Aaron Lennon was the only change from the team beaten at the Etihad. Chelsea were without Eden Hazard; we thought that might be to our advantage.
This was our last home game before Remembrance Day, and the period of silence following the playing of The Last Post was impeccably observed.
Playing towards the cricket field end, we started well, really well in fact and in the first ten to fifteen minutes we probably offered more than we’d done in the full ninety minutes of our last home game against Huddersfield.
if only we could have got a goal. The nearest we came was a Brady shot from the left. It went just wide of the far post. But when that goal didn’t come, the game started to change and Chelsea began to look a very good side that we could not come close to matching.
Joe Hart made one incredible save to deny Alvaro Morata but he could do nothing when the striker opened the scoring midway through the first half. Yes, Jeff Hendrick gave the ball away, but they still had a lot to do and how well they did it. They sliced through us like a knife through butter for the Spaniard to slide the ball home following a through ball from the impressive Ross Barkley.
By half time we were looking second best, but at 1-0, just as it had been a week earlier, there is always a chance. As long as you stay in the game. Just like last week, we battled on for a while before conceding two quick goals and this time there was no referee to point the finger at.
Both goals went into the bottom corner, five minutes apart, leaving Hart with no chance. Barkley got the first with Willian, who had shamefully cheated to try and win a penalty in the first half, marking a brilliant personal second half performance with Chelsea’s third.
We tried to react with two substitutions that made little difference, the second seeing Hendrick come off to sarcastic applause from the crowd. No wonder he seems to turn in his best performances away from home.
Matěj Vydra was just about to come on for Brady for our third change when Jack Cork went down injured. He’d not missed a minute of Premier League football for us since signing from Swansea in July 2017 but he missed the last 17 minutes plus stoppage time with Ashley Westwood coming on.
We were a beaten side by then and it was just a matter of keeping the score down to three. Hart prevented that once when he tipped an Olivier Giroud header onto the bar, but he was beaten once more when Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored in stoppage time.
Is it a concern that we are losing against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea? No is the very clear answer to that question. Is it a concern that we are conceding a total of nine goals while never really seriously looking like scoring at least one goal for ourselves? Yes, that’s the clear answer to that one. We’ve never been prolific in this league and never are we likely to be, but we have been very good defensively, we have kept our clean sheets, but right now we look a team who are far too easy to score against and that is the biggest worry of all.
So, another defeat, down to 15th in the league and just three points clear of that dreaded drop zone, but I can’t report on this weekend’s game without commenting on the events elsewhere that puts it all into perspective.
On the previous day, a Brighton supporter was taken ill during their 1-0 win against Wolves. He passed away in hospital having been taken there by ambulance. And later in the day, we received the horrific news from Leicester that a helicopter had crashed outside the stadium. It was later confirmed that five people, including chairman were all killed.
Our thoughts are will all those affected and with everyone involved with Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City Football Clubs.
The teams were;
Burnley: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Steven Defour, Jack Cork (Ashley Westwood 73), Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick (Ashley Barnes 65), Sam Vokes (Chris Wood 59). Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Matěj Vydra.
Yellow Cards: James Tarkowski, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson.
Chelsea: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rüdiger, David Luiz, Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kanté, Jorginho (Cesc Fàbregas 78), Ross Barkley, Willian, Alvaro Morata (Olivier Giroud 74), Pedro (Ruben Loftus-Cheek 30). Subs not used: Willy Caballero, Gary Cahill, Davide Zappacosta, Mateo Kovacic.
Yellow Cards: Alvaro Morata, Willian.
Referee: Craig Pawson (Sheffield).
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