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It’s been a bit of a strange week for Burnley supporters, a week that started with a 1-0 home defeat against Tottenham and one that ends with today’s home game against Chelsea.

Between the two games, the takeover talk has been stepping up. It’s moved from America to Egypt with a bit of Cheshire thrown in but whatever is happening, or not happening in the boardroom, it’s back to what it is all about today and that’s playing football.

I don’t think I’m wrong in suggesting it hasn’t been a perfect start to the season. Being stuck in the bottom three is no fun at any stage of the season and with Chelsea our visitors today, a Chelsea who have only dropped two Premier League games in six games at Turf Moor, that in 2017 when a Robbie Brady free kick, on his home debut, gave us a 1-1 draw.

We’ve been here before and got out of it. We are exactly where we are two years ago with one point from five games although we did have Bournemouth at home in game number six on that occasion. Even so, there has been enough encouragement in the last two games to have us believe this is another tricky situation we can get out of and we do have players coming back from injury.

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One of those players who has come back recently is Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, although he is a doubt for today’s game. Speaking this week, he said: “The last two games have definitely been much better but now it comes to putting points on the board.

“We know that, and if we keep playing like we have in the last two games the points will come. They always have done for us when we’re at the level we know we need to be at. It’s just keeping on the path we’ve been on in the last two games.”

Guðmundsson has a slight calf strain. He was rated touch and go by manager Sean Dyche although there have since been suggestions he is likely to be fit. We’ve had some good news this week with Ben Mee getting in 70 minutes in a training ground game. He’s not close to a first team return as yet but should be by the time we return from the next international break.

Phil Bardsley has recovered from COVID-19 but latest reports were that he still needed to be tested while Erik Pieters is again expected to be absent.

That could lead to the same team that played Spurs, provided JBG is fit, so we could line up: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs from: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jimmy Dunne, Anthony Glennon, Josh Benson, Dale Stephens, Robbie Brady, Jay Rodriguez, Matěj Vydra.

Chelsea arrive at Burnley in tenth place in the table having collected nine points from their six games to date having suffered just the one defeat and that at home against reigning champions Liverpool. In their two other games, they’ve beaten Crystal Palace 4-0 while drawing 3-3 against Southampton.

They are unbeaten on the road. They won 3-1 at Brighton in their opening game of the season and have since drawn at West Brom and Manchester United. The draw at United, their last game, was a dour affair and ended 0-0 but the West Brom game was somewhat different. With less than half an hour gone they trailed 3-0 at The Hawthorns and that remained the score until ten minutes into the second half when they pulled one back. They eventually got a third in the third minute of stoppage time to win that point.

Like us, they’ve conceded nine goals this season in the Premier League; that’s a high number for them. They have found scoring goals a bit easier than us with thirteen compared to our three. Those goals have been shared out too. Jorginho has scored three, with all three from the penalty spot, while both Kurt Zouma and Timo Werner (pictured) have netted twice, Werner’s both coming in the draw against Southampton when they surrendered a 2-0 lead, got back in front before conceding a stoppage time equaliser.

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Chelsea have no major injury problems although goalkeeper Kepa is expected to remain out while young player Billy Gilmour is returning from injury.

For that last league game against Manchester United last Saturday, their team was: Edouard Mendy, Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Reece James, Jorginho, N’Golo Kanté, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner. Subs: Willy Caballero, Antonio Rüdiger, Tammy Abraham, Mateo Kovacic, Olivier Giroud, Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

It’s just over a year ago since their last visit. In the previous season they’d beaten us 4-0 at the Turf and it look as though it was going to be even worse last year when they took it to the same score with over half an hour remaining.

We’d been beaten easily in the 2018/19 game but last season the scoreline came about because of mistakes at both ends in what was otherwise a reasonable performance. We missed chances and gave soft goals away.

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Christian Pulisic got two in the first half, the second right on half time, and then they hit us with two in two minutes when Pulisic completed his hat trick before Willian scored number four. At that point we feared the worst but we got through to four minutes from the end and then made life just a little uncomfortable for Chelsea.

Jay Rodriguez scored a stunner, Dwight McNeil got a deflected second and Robbie Brady, on as a substitute, got assists for both of them. It ended 4-2, better than it might have been, but we hadn’t played badly, other than mistakes in both boxes.

The teams were;

Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Jeff Hendrick (Robbie Brady 84), Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez, Ashley Barnes (Matěj Vydra 63). Subs not used: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor, Aaron Lennon.

Chelsea: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori, Marcos Alonso (Reece James 63), Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Mason Mount, Willian (Callum Hudson-Odoi 72), Tammy Abraham (Olivier Giroud 70), Christian Pulisic. Subs not used: Willy Caballero, Pedro, Marc Guehi, Michy Batshuayi.

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