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1920 burnley turf moor 06 1000x500The first time I saw a Burnley v Chelsea game was back in 1961 when we played ten reserves against them and drew the game 4-4. Just over four years later I saw us beat them for the first time when we won 6-2 against a Chelsea team without the services of Terry Venables, George Graham, Eddie McCreadie, John Hollins, Marvin Hinton, Barry Bridges and Bert Murray who had all been sent home by manager Tommy Docherty for sneaking out of the team hotel in Blackpool.

That 1965 win was one of six occasions I’ve seen a Burnley win against Chelsea at Turf Moor but it is a long time since the last one. That came in April 1983 when two Billy Hamilton goals, either side of a Terry Donovan penalty, gave us a 3-0 win.

We’ve won one and drawn two of our five Premier League games at Stamford Bridge but we’ve not had anything like the same good fortune at home where, in five games, we’ve picked up just the one point, that in 2017 when Robbie Brady scored his first Burnley goal in a 1-1 draw.

Tomorrow we will be looking to improve on that record and, looking at Chelsea’s recent results, we are probably looking for that improvement at a difficult time. That’s not necessarily the case. Despite last week’s defeat at Leicester, we played well enough to get something from the game and our current form suggests we might give them a much tougher game than they might expect.

We might still be looking for our first away win of the season, but at home we’ve started well. We’ve won three out of four and only Liverpool, who beat us 3-0, have actually scored against us with clean sheets recorded in the wins against Southampton, Norwich and Everton.

Those clean sheets are key. I always recall talking to a former Burnley manager at the time we were searching for a new manager during our first ever Premier League season. He said if we could keep clean sheets in close to half of the remaining 18 games we would have a good chance of staying up. We kept none at all.

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Keeping clean sheets is not only about the defenders but we’ve got two in top form so far this season in James Tarkowski and Ben Mee who have both turned in some outstanding performances. Speaking ahead of this game, Mee, who scored in the 1-1 draw against them at Stamford Bridge in 2014/15 said: “Against the big teams it’s a good challenge for us and we want to make it a tough game for them. I think they’ll be expecting that and we’re not going to disappoint them.”

Chelsea, it is reported, are in transition, but Mee is having none of that. “You can talk about transitional periods, but there is some good quality in there mixed with some good young quality as well.

“I think there’s a good balance at Chelsea and they are on a bit of a run. It’s going to be a tough game, as always, against a top side with some top quality players, but we will go into it full of confidence and belief that we can beat that side.”

Burnley have been unchanged at the back this season but we’ve recently had to make changes in midfield and, last week, up front. Jack Cork, who has been ruled out of the last two games, and Ashley Barnes, who missed last week, are both expected to be fit but it is touch and go for Chris Wood who has a slight hamstring strain.

Sean Dyche is not a manager to take too much risk with injured players so it would be no surprise to see Wood sit this one out alongside Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson and Danny Drinkwater. I read today that Drinkwater was close to being passed fit and could have played against his parent club. That’s not so, the Premier League rules do not permit a player to play against his own club while out on loan.

If Cork, against his former club, and Barnes do play, and if Wood misses out, we could line up: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez, Ashley Barnes. Subs from: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Ben Gibson, Charlie Taylor, Aaron Lennon, Robbie Brady, Matěj Vydra.

I think a lot of people were expecting a disappointing season from Chelsea. They lost arguably their best player in the summer when Eden Hazard moved to Real Madrid and with a transfer ban in place they’ve not been able to bring in a replacement or any other new signings.

Maurizio Sarri did give limited game time last season to Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi but this season has seen the introduction of Mason Mount (pictured below), Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham with manger Frank Lampard turning to his younger players. Tomori and Mount were regulars in his Derby team last season while at Pride Park on loan while Abraham was scoring the goals that helped Aston Villa reach the Premier League at Derby’s expense.

It’s working so far. They were beaten 4-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the season but only Liverpool have beaten them since in the Premier League and that defeat against Liverpool is the only game in which they’ve dropped points since August.

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They go into the game tomorrow on the back of six consecutive wins, three in the league, two in Europe and that massive 7-1 win against Grimsby in the League Cup which kick started the run.

Tammy Abraham is their leading goalscorer in the Premier League with eight goals and to put that into perspective, he’s joint leading scorer with Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero.  Mason Mount has added four goals with Chelsea having scored a total of 19 goals, 12 of which have come on the road and they haven’t dropped a point away from home since that defeat at Old Trafford; they’ve since beaten Norwich (3-2), Wolves (5-2) and Southampton (4-1).

They have their injury problems with four players ruled out of tomorrow’s game as well as Loftus-Cheek who has a long term injury. N’Golo Kanté, who won title winning medals in successive seasons with Leicester and Chelsea, won’t be ready to play. He’s had an in and out season so far and has started just three Premier League games; his most recent appearance was at Southampton three weeks ago.

Antonio Rüdiger is also out. He’s still recovering from an injury last season. He came back and played at Wolves in mid-September but has been out again since. Andreas Christensen will be missing again. He played for Denmark during the international break but isn’t ready to play yet and neither is Ross Barkley who came off injured just before half time last week when they beat Newcastle 1-0 with a Marcos Alonso goal.

The Chelsea team for that game was: Kepa, Marcos Alonso, Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta, Fikayo Tomori, Jorginho, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Willian, Callum Hudson-Odoi. Subs: Willy Caballero, Reece James, Marc Guehi, Mateo Kovacic, Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

Chelsea’s visit to Burnley last season came in the game after we’d been beaten 5-0 by Manchester City, a result that had brought to an end a run of three consecutive league games without defeat.

It proved to be another difficult day for us with Chelsea hitting four without reply and giving us our biggest home defeat in eight years, since Reading had beaten us by the same 4-0 scoreline in 2010.

Another big defeat on a day when it was all supposedly going to turn in our favour after a difficult start to the season. Steven Defour had returned to league action a week earlier at the Etihad and there was a return in this game for Robbie Brady who came in for the ill Aaron Lennon.

This game was played exactly one year ago. Ahead of the game we stood in silence to remember those who had lost their lives in conflict in what was our last game before the 11th November and soon after the game had been finished we heard of the tragic helicopter crash at Leicester.

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We actually started well and were the better side for the first quarter of an hour or so, Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the goal our start deserved and we soon paid the price when Alvaro Morata gave the visitors the lead around the midway point of the half.

It was just 1-0 at half time but things went worse after the break with Ross Barkley and then Willian giving Chelsea a 3-0 lead just past the hour.  Sean Dyche made changes and when Jeff Hendrick was withdrawn just after the third, the reaction from the home crowd was nothing short of shameful.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek added a fourth in stoppage time but this had been another horrible performance that hardly saw us compete once we’d fallen behind. It was just not a Sean Dyche team out there and this latest result was a sixth defeat in the first ten league games with more losses to come.

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.

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.

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