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The final international break is over, the Burnley players have returned to Gawthorpe to be asked if they enjoyed their international duty, ahead of their preparations for our game tomorrow at Chelsea.

We go into the game on the back of our best run of results all season with the draw at West Ham three weeks ago followed up with a home win against Brentford to give us two successive unbeaten Premier League games for the first time this season.

Our position in the table remains at 19th but our position has improved in terms of the teams above us since we last played with Nottingham Forest having been docked four points. That’s seen Forest drop into the bottom three with four points more than us while Luton have moved out with one point more than Forest.

With nine games to go, we’ve won just four times. The two home wins have come against teams reduced to ten men with red cards during the first half but away from home we’ve possibly looked more likely to get points and a trip to Chelsea hasn’t always seen us beaten.

In nine home Premier League games against them, we’ve picked up just the one point from the draw in 2016/17 when Robbie Brady scored his first Burnley goal with a superb free kick. Away from home, however, we’ve collected six points from three draws and that sensational opening day win six seasons ago. We’ve upset them too in the first two draws with Jose Mourinho counting minutes in 2015 and four years later David Luiz referring to our anti-football, something the Burnley fans enjoyed picking up.

Even so, tomorrow’s game is a tough one against a side who are surprisingly in the bottom half of the league. I say surprisingly because you just don’t expect Chelsea to be that low in the table.

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In that last win, the opening goal was scored by Jacob Bruun Larsen from the penalty spot. Not only was it the first time he’d taken a penalty for us but the first time he’d ever taken one in his professional career. He said: “I knew a couple of days before that it could be me. My way was I choose one side or where I want to shoot and then I just go for it and make sure that it goes in.”

He had something of a wait while the match officials decided whether it was a spot kick or not but when he did step up he looked very assured and not like the penalty novice we saw when Maxwel Cornet failed to find the net at West Ham almost two years ago.

Looking forward to Chelsea, he added: “It’s probably not going to be the same game against Brentford with all respect. They obviously have a quality team in terms of individual players and what they can do on the ball, but it’s going to be about ourselves, how we’re going to treat the game and what mindset we have going into it. I think if we have everything prepared, which we will, then we have a chance to get a good result.”

Bruun Larsen has featured in all but six of our Premier League games this season although with only seven of them from the start of the game. He’s scored three goals too with all three of them coming in wins. He scored the winner at Luton, the second in the 5-0 mauling of Sheffield United and then the penalty last time out when David Datro Fofana scored our second.

Bruun Larsen I would be expecting to start at Chelsea but Fofana won’t be able to play because he’s on loan from Chelsea. I can’t see many changes from the team that beat Brentford but that’s one Vincent Kompany will have to make. Lyle Foster is the likely candidate but he’s just coming back from hernia surgery and had just a few minutes on the pitch in that Brentford one. For similar reasons, I’d be surprised to see Jordan Beyer, if actually fit, return given he hasn’t played at all in 2024.

I doubt there will be a change to the team that could possibly stun us as happened for that last game when we brought back Arijanet Muric with James Trafford dropped to the bench for the first time this season. It’s unconceivable that he’d bring Trafford back just now.

A reminder that our team against Brentford was: Arijanet Muric, Lorenz Assignon, Dara O’Shea, Maxime Estève, Charlie Taylor, Vitinho, Sander Berge, Josh Cullen, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Wilson Odobert, David Datro Fofana. Subs: James Trafford, Hjalmar Ekdal, Jack Cork, Josh Brownhill, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Manuel Benson, Zeki Amdouni, Jay Rodriguez, Lyle Foster.

It’s been a strange sort of season for Chelsea. One of the big six, and showing it with massive spending in recent transfer windows, they’ve spent most of the season around the half way point and, despite two wins and two draws in their last four games, they remain just outside the top half.

Under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, they’ve rarely hit the heights this season although they have scored four goals on three occasions. The first of them was when they came from behind to beat us 4-1 back in October and in the following month they won at Spurs by the same score. In the very next game they held Manchester City to a sensational 4-4 draw at the Etihad with former City player Cole Palmer scoring the final goal from the penalty spot on the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Palmer (pictured below) below has been a huge success following his big money move from City last summer and he’s their leading goalscorer with eleven in the Premier League with five of those from the spot. Ahead of him with goals from open play is Nicolas Jackson who has scored nine while another former Manchester City player Raheem Sterling has scored four.

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They’ve scored a total of 47 goals, 23 at home and 24 on the road. Surprisingly four of their ten defeats have come at Stamford Bridge with all of Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Brentford and Wolves winning there. The first three of them had come by the end of September with Wolves winning 4-2 at the beginning of February.

Palmer could be out tomorrow. They are awaiting a check on his fitness as they are with Ben Chilwell with both returning with knocks from England duty. Malo Gusto has been suffering from a virus but should be ready to play but they will be without Carney Chukwuemeka, Trevoh Chalobah and goalkeeper Robert Sánchez.

Chelsea won through to the FA Cup semi-final with a win against Leicester last time out so their last Premier League game was on Monday, 11th March which was a 3-2 home win against Newcastle with Jackson, Palmer and Mykhailo Mudryk scoring the goals. Their line up was: Djordje Petrovic, Malo Gusto, Axel Disasi, Trevoh Chalobah, Marc Cucurella, Enzo Fernández, Moises Caicedo, Cole Palmer, Conor Gallagher, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Jackson. Subs: Robert Sánchez, Thiago Silva, Mykhailo Mudryk, Madueke, Carney Chukwuemeka, Cesare Casadei, Deivid Washington, Alfie Gilchrist, Josh Acheampong.




Our last visit to Stamford Bridge also, like tomorrow’s game, followed a home win against Brentford. It was the first Saturday in November 2021 and we came home with a point from a 1-1 draw in a game we might just have gone on and won at the end.

Despite the win against Brentford we were still in the bottom three, just, but Chelsea were sat on top of the league with 25 points from their opening ten games and this was going to as tough a game as we could possibly face and had played Norwich and Newcastle, the other two in the bottom three, in their previous two games winning 7-0 and 3-0 respectively.

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Chelsea started the better and put us under a lot of pressure. But we defended well with Nick Pope in very good form. Even so, Chelsea went in front just past the half hour when Kai Haverts got on to the end of a Reece James cross to score.

Nothing changed in the second half, that was until they substituted Ross Barkley who had just missed a good chance. Six minutes later we were level with a superb goal. We worked the ball out to Charlie Taylor on the left and he opted to play a cross field ball for Matt Lowton who played the ball back inside for Ashley Westwood. The midfielder played an exquisite ball into the box from which Jay Rodriguez found Matěj Vydra with a cushioned header and Vydra tucked the ball home with his right foot.

Vydra had the chance to even win it for us when he received the ball from Pope but his lob failed to find the target. Even so, what a good result this was against the league leaders.

The teams were;

Chelsea: Edouard Mendy, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rüdiger, Reece James, N’Golo Kanté (Mason Mount 85), Jorginho, Ben Chilwell, Ross Barkley (Ruben Loftus-Cheek 73), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Christian Pulisic 85), Kai Havertz. Subs not used: Kepa Arrizabalaga, César Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah, Saúl, Malang Sarr, Halim Ziyech.

Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Matěj Vydra 70), Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood (Jay Rodriguez 61), Maxwel Cornet (Erik Pieters 88). Subs not used: Wayne Hennessey, Connor Roberts, Nathan Collins, Kevin Long, Jack Cork, Ashley Barnes.

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