Turf Moor: The Next Stop for the League Leaders
Saturday couldn’t have turned out much better for the league leaders. After a week where Chelsea dispatched an Arsenal side at Stamford Bridge and left Anfield with a draw, the Blues travel to Turf Moor looking for another win that would take them 12 points clear at the top of the table.
Results fell quite nicely for the Blues, after Saturday evening’s match between Liverpool and Tottenham saw the Merseysiders take three points at Anfield by the score of 2-0.
That result ensured that Chelsea maintain a nine-point gap over Spurs, and with a win, the Blues, at worst, will be 10 points clear of second place and extend the gap once more.
But it’s not as if a trip to Burnley is a foregone conclusion. Chelsea’s next run of fixtures is against teams in the bottom half of the table, but of those opponents, Burnley is one of the trickiest.
The Clarets sit in 13th position after Saturday’s results, and a large part of their success this season has been due to their home form. In fact, Burnley have yet to register a win away from home this season and have managed just 1 draw amongst 10 defeats.
It’s a complete contrast from their home form, which before Saturday’s results, saw them have the third-best home record in the Premier League, amassing 28 points from 9 wins and 1 draw.
However, it’s not all roses for Burnley entering this match. Not only are they welcoming the league leaders, who have lost just once since October, but they’re also dealing with a bit of a selection dilemma with injuries and suspensions.
Dean Marney’s long-term knee injury and Steven Defour’s hamstring will keep both players out of action on Sunday. Jeff Hendrick’s sending-off against Watford last week means that he’ll be suspended for the match, leaving manager Sean Dyche to choose either Ashley Westwood or Robbie Brady to partner Joey Barton in the center of midfield.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte almost has a full squad at his disposal, despite the fact that David Luiz is still suffering from a knee injury as a result of Sergio Aguero’s challenge. John Terry will miss out on the trip with an ankle injury picked up in training, but he’s the only absentee.
There aren’t likely to be any surprises in Chelsea’s lineup on Sunday, but against a team that is likely to sit deep and defend, Conte could elect to play Cesc Fabregas in order to give the Blues a bit more control and creativity in the midfield.
Aside from that one change, expect the rest of the 11 to be as expected.