Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Chelsea return swiftly to action after a comfortable win in the Europa League, and will be looking for three points here to keep momentum in a very solid start to the season. Coming into the weekend, they are just two points behind league leaders Manchester City and Liverpool. When the former played Burnley last weekend, the result was a 5-0 thrashing for the Clarets.
After picking up just one point from their first five games, Burnley picked themselves up to win two games consecutively. However, if they thought their troubles for the season were over, that defeat in Manchester following on from a disappointing draw with Huddersfield will remind them there is still a lot of work to do. That starts here, in a game where they’ll need to fight to even secure a point.
Burnley vs Chelsea Prediction: Burnley 1-3 Chelsea
New coach Maurizio Sarri has sought to instill the approach that brought him success at Napoli since arriving at Chelsea, with a dynamic three-man front line served by a midfield stacked with ball-players. It’s been pretty effective, and even the loss through injury of Eden Hazard didn’t stop them crushing BATE Borisov in their last game. Turf Moor, a graveyard of giants in recent years, has seemed less of a fortress this season and, though we can see Burnley scoring, Chelsea ought to be able to grab a few themselves. Hazard or no Hazard, the visitors are favourites to win with something to spare.
Our recommended tip: Chelsea win and BTTS
Chelsea have dropped points on just three occasions this season – at West Ham, and at home to Liverpool and Manchester United – and remain unbeaten in the league. There is, for sure, a feeling that Sarri’s side is not the finished article, lacking as it does a genuinely reliable striker. However, they are getting goals from everywhere else, so the absence of a dedicated no. 9 isn’t too big a worry right now. In keeping with Sarri’s history, though, they’re not always tight at the back. Paddy Power’s 21/10 (3.10) on the visitors winning, but both teams scoring, offers interesting value.
The beginning of the end for Antonio Conte – fired less than a year after leading Chelsea to the 2017 league title – came on the first day of last season. Burnley came to Stamford Bridge in possession of an unenviable reputation for being rubbish away from home. By half-time, the Clarets were three goals and one player to the good, after a 14th-minute red card for Gary Cahill. The second half saw a Blues fightback, but one which would fall short as the visitors won 3-2. Conte did grab a measure of revenge in the return game, Victor Moses notching the winner in a 2-1 win.
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Players to watch: Johann Berg Gudmundsson & Olivier Giroud
Icelandic international Gudmundsson is integral to all that is good about Burnley. Possessed of a fantastic work-rate, he may not attract the attention that compatriot Gylfi Sigurdsson does at Everton, but he is every bit as valuable to his club. A hugely reliable set-piece delivery sees him lead the club in assists, and he’ll keep running for 90 minutes. Gudmundsson really fits in at Burnley, and any revival they have this season will go through him.
Having played for two of the biggest clubs in England and owning a World Cup winner’s medal would usually give you a bullet-proof reputation as a footballer, but Giroud has always divided people. Prolific in his native France, he never quite made the net bulge as often for Arsenal before his move to Chelsea, where he has continued to not score very often. However, his link-up play and non-stop harrying of defenders creates openings for others on a regular basis, and the side is visibly less cohesive when he’s not there.