The Blues are looking in good shape and find themselves in the unusual position of coming to the end of a nice run of fixtures leading up to a big cup final. On so many occasions Chelsea have managed to get themselves through gruelling schedules to compete for a major honours. This time, Jose could not ask for a kinder build up. Burnley however arrive at the beginning of a run of eight fixtures against teams in the top nine, so it is difficult to see where they are likely to pick up points.
Costa returns from his domestic suspension and will probably lead the line. Despite the relatively kind fixture lay out, expect a fair few changes from the draw in Paris. After an impressive full debut against Everton, Cuadrado could be given licence to wreak havoc on what has been an increasingly leaky Burnley defence of late. It is also these type of fixtures where Hazard normally runs riot. Almost all of his goals this season have been at home, so do not be surprised to see him turn it on again today.
The danger man for the visitors will be of course be Danny Ings who heads up the common 4-2-3-1 shape with Kightly and Barnes providing the ammunition from the wings. Arfield in midfield scored a beauty in the opening fixture and is an important part of a very hard working midfield. A lot was made of the lack of squad rotation that Dyche implements, particularly over the festive period. It is a refreshingly old school approach to management that has created a strong team spirit amongst a core group of players. Of the team’s at the bottom, you cannot help but feel that Burnley might be the one to somehow get themselves out of trouble come May.
Burnley were unlucky in their last outing against Man United – particularly in the first half where even the most ardent United fan would admit they were lucky not to be a few goals behind at the break. Unfortunately for the Clarets though, it has been the story of their season. Further examples include the reverse fixture at Turf Moor. The hosts earned many plaudits but were eventually turned over by some exceptional goals from Costa, the now departed Schurrle and Ivanovic.