Brilliant afternoon for Burnley at the Bridge
A Matěj Vydra goal eleven minutes from time earned Burnley a point yesterday in a 1-1 draw against league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Some will suggest it wasn’t a point we deserved; Thomas Tuchel said we were lucky while Sean Dyche described it as a point earned. Maybe Tuchel should be concentrating on how his Chelsea team, who had scored seven times in the previous home game, were only able to score once.
It’s strange sometimes how fixtures work out with Chelsea playing the three teams in the relegation places in successive games. They’d beaten Norwich 7-0 at home and then went to Newcastle where they’d won 3-0. We were, apparently, the next lambs to the slaughter.
Sean Dyche, unsurprisingly, name an unchanged team from the one that had beaten Brentford last week. The only changes came on the bench where Connor Roberts and Kevin Long replaced Phil Bardsley and Aaron Lennon.
Ahead of these big games, Dyche will always warn us that we need to be on it for ninety minutes while the super power club need to have a quiet day. I don’t think, generally, anyone can argue with that but Chelsea didn’t look a side having a quiet day in this game.
They got off on the front foot and put us under enormous pressure right from the off and we struggled to get a foothold in the game. They won a series of corners, had a good number of efforts on goal but we defended so well as a team and when they did get through they found Nick Pope, England’s number one goalkeeper, in terrific form.
In my preview I’d referred to us having Tom Heaton in goal on the three occasions we’ve come away from Chelsea with a result but in the opening ten minutes or so Pope had already made a name for himself in this game with outstanding saves to deny Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jorginho.
Sometimes when you are under pressure, something has to give and it eventually did when Reece James, who I thought was exceptional for Chelsea, got in a cross from the right to find Kai Havertz getting between our two central defenders to head home.
We were behind against a team that had looked as good as anything we’d come up against all season and it did have you wondering how we might get back into it although I’m certain there was no call for Tuchel’s behaviour on the touchline as he seemed intent on letting our dug out know that they’d scored.
Our only real effort on goal in the first half was a speculative effort from Maxwel Cornet that Edouard Mendy dealt with without any trouble and when we went off at the interval we could have no complaint at being behind.
We’d brought on both Jay Rodriguez and Vydra by then and both were to play their part in our equaliser, described by Alan Shearer on Match of the Day as a superb goal.
We moved the ball forward from James Tarkowski with Dwight McNeil getting the ball out to Charlie Taylor on the left touchline, and Taylor was worthy of having a part in the goal having turned in a superb performance. With all of Vydra, Cornet and Rodriguez available, Taylor opted to play the ball across to the right where Matt Lowton played the ball back for Ashley Westwood.
The midfielder’s ball into the box for Rodriguez was exquisite. Jay Rod’s cushion header fell for Vydra who tucked the ball home with his right foot. We were level. “In the last five or six minutes you sensed Burnley were getting back into the game,” Jonathan Pearce said during the Match of the Day commentary. We were, we had, now we had to ensure we got a point.
Andre Marriner blew the final whistle and, as past history has told us, when you get a result at Stamford Bridge, the whinging from the home camp starts. It was Mourinho in 2015 when Ben Mee scored in Minute 81. In 2019 we had David Luiz suggesting we were anti-football, it prompted me to make an early morning call to Talk Sport, feeling the need to defend our club.
Oh yes, we rode our luck a little bit but, at the end of the day, Chelsea managed just four efforts on target so they might be better advised to go for some shooting practice rather than talking about the way we play the game.
As for us, I don’t think we will finish this season above Chelsea who, let’s face it, look real title contenders, but this was the Burnley we know, this was the Burnley we love, organised, committed and with a strong jaw. I don’t think there would have been a Burnley fan leaving Stamford Bridge disappointed with the performance and I’m sure they all left delighted with the result.
I’d like to end by dedicating this report to my friend Stephen. A committed Claret who attended all home games and most away games, he was one of the small group I have attended under-23 games with at Curzon Ashton and Leyland in the last few years. Sadly, Stephen passed away yesterday afternoon after a short illness. My thoughts are with all his family and friends.
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, Hakim Ziyech.
Yellow Card: Reece James.
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.
Yellow Cards: Ashley Westwood, Maxwel Cornet, James Tarkowski, Josh Brownhill.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).