Chelsea drew 1-1 at home to Burnley in controversial circumstances, as our lead at the top was cut to five points by Manchester City.
Chelsea started in positive fashion, Felipe Luis, in for Azpilicueta at left back won possession with a great tackle which enabled a cross to be swung over onto the head of Juan Cuadrado, which went narrowly over on six minutes.
Burnley looked organised and pro active in the early knockings also, and Ashley Barnes tested Courtois with a shot on the turn after receiving the ball on the edge of the area. It would not be the last we would hear from Ashley Barnes.
Burnley shaped up in a 4-4-2, and as a result Mourinho used Fabregas next to Oscar in a more advanced position to both apply pressure to Burnley’s central pair, and to enable Fabregas to receive the ball in more advanced areas.
After the early chances, we enjoyed good possession in the midfield, but attacks broke down in the final third.
Thirteen minutes in this changed. After some nice play down the right flank, Hazard found himself down by the shed end corner flag, he managed to jink between two defenders and cut in across the goal line, where he pulled the ball back to the near post, where for the second time in a week, and fourth time in six matches, Branislav Ivanovic found the net. Another well deserved goal for the Serb who recently passed the 300 appearance mark.
The goal seemed to mark the start of our best period of the match in an attacking sense. Costa was put in through the inside left channel with our next attack, his low shot saved and cleared for a corner. Shortly after an incisive passing move resulted in a lovely interchange on the edge of the area between Oscar, Hazard and Costa before finding its way to the advanced Ivanovic, joining the attack from right back again, but his cross was over hit.
The referee was Martin Atkinson, and he was to play a big part in the match. The first of the main incidents that he declined to award in Chelsea’s favour was a shot hit by Ivanovic, which struck a defenders outstretched arm. In fairness to the referee on this one, it was a powerful shot quite close to the defender, and it is debatable as to whether it was intentional, so he was probably right not to award a penalty.
Halfway through the first half and Burnley were still in this, giving us a fight and creating the odd chance as well. Kurt Zouma, returning to the side after Cahill featured on Tuesday night, won a tackle to the right of our area, but then tripped over the Burnley forward, allowing Kightly to find Barnes in the space Zouma had occupied, and he forced Courtois into a smart save low to his near post. Burnley tried to play out from the back, and created another chance shortly after when good build up play found Ings dropping into space, he swept a cross to the back post and Kightly fired wide as he slid to make contact.
Burnley played with a high backline, trying to close the space between their defence and midfield. This reduced our opportunities of getting players on the ball centrally closer to their area. Hazard and Cuadrado did manage it on occasions however. Both tried to cut in when they could to overload Burnley’s central midfield area. As a result of their defensive setup, we used a few direct balls up to Costa from our midfield. Costa had little change out of Jason Shackell in the first half though; he marshalled Costa well and won most aerial duels against him. He was caught out just before half time by our centre forward though. Enter Martin Atkinson for the next big talking point of his day. As Burnley again pushed their back four towards halfway, Shackell found himself out of position relative to Costa, and playing him onside. Costa advanced from the right into the area, and as Shackell tried to keep with him, he appeared to trip Costa, as well as pushing him down at the same time. Again Atkinson ruled no penalty.
A good half from Chelsea, Felipe Luis impressing at left back. His positioning was supreme; he won numerous tackles and started attacks down the left. Ivanovic on the other flank was also having another good match. We just needed a second to kill it, more cutting edge in the final third.
Burnley came out in the same mould as the first half, clearly believing they could get something from the match. Courtois tipped a Barnes header over from a free kick early on. We were quick to respond at the other end though; Costa having a shot saved at the near post, a similar chance to that in the first half. Costa moved over to face up against Burnley’s other centre back Michael Keane in the second half, but without much success in what was a relatively quiet showing from him. This was in part due to a second half that continued in the vein of us enjoying large amounts of possession, without creating many chances. Transitions in play seemed to offer our best hope, either when we won the ball from Burnley in our own half and could play behind their midfield quickly, or when we won it further forward and their midfield dropped deeper, allowing Matic to pull someone out of position and pick a pass forward.
Everything changed on 70 minutes. On the right of our half in front of the east stand, Ashley Barnes went in for a tackle with Matic, he won the ball, but followed through horribly with studs up halfway up the shin of Matic. It could quite easily have broken his leg. Matic got up and ran up to Barnes, pushing him to the floor. Atkinson chose do look the other way regarding the tackle, but sent Matic off for his reaction.
Down to ten with 20 minutes to play. We went 4-4-1 to match up man for man against Burnley. We should have had the quality to still get a result from this position. Ten minutes later Ben Mee headed in from a corner. The only chances PSG created against us on Tuesday were headers from crosses, and we had been undone by one here. Mourinho had been readying Cahill before the corner to see the match out. He now changed tact and put Drogba on for Luis. 3-2-4 with ten minutes plus added time to go for the win. We pressed up and had the ball moving around the front of their box for most this time, but couldn’t find a break through, and it was Burnley who nearly stole all three
points in the last minute of added time. Ings got the ball on the right of our back three on a counter attack, cut across Zouma to the edge of the box, but fired over.
1-1 It finished, but with what looked like a clear penalty denied, and a refereeing decision that on another day could have seen us playing against ten men rather than the other way round, we could be forgiven for feeling hard done by.
Did someone mention a conspiracy?
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