Chelsea v Burnley
Sunday 31 January, 12:00
Live on BT Sport
Goalless start for Tuchel
Chelsea started life under Thomas Tuchel with a goalless draw at home to Wolves on Wednesday night and now they face another team noted for organisation and defensive doggedness.
Tuchel at least has had a few days to work with his squad and this match is likely to reveal more about his methodology and player preferences.
On Wednesday he made four changes from the last Premier League starting XI put out by Frank Lampard and it was interesting that he opted to bring in the experience of Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Olivier Giroud.
One of the most intriguing questions is whether Tuchel will recall Lampard favourite Mason Mount to the starting side after giving him only seven minutes off the bench against Wolves.
Burnley’s winning spirit
Burnley conjured up a great comeback on Wednesday night with a 3-2 home win over Aston Villa, having trailed with 15 minutes to go.
It would have been an impressive victory if they had been roared on by a packed Turf Moor but to do it in an empty stadium emphasised again the spirit of Sean Dyche’s side.
That took Burnley’s winning run to three in all competitions, following on from their sensational 1-0 victory at Liverpool in their previous league game and the 3-0 FA Cup win at Fulham.
Ashley Barnes is Dyche’s main injury concern, having had to miss the Villa match with a knock, but the indications are that he will be fit to resume his striking partnership with Chris Wood.
Josh Brownhill went off at half-time against Villa with a foot injury but also looks likely to recover. Jack Cork is on standby.
Having started against Liverpool for the first time in 2021, defender Charlie Taylor looks set to be out for some time again with a recurrence of his hamstring problem.
Chelsea’s home record of W4 D4 L2 has not been up to title-winning standard but it is not too shabby either, with the only defeats coming against Liverpool (0-2) and Manchester City (1-3).
Three of the four draws were also against high-performing teams (Southampton, Tottenham and Aston Villa) and that makes the draw against Wolves on Wednesday arguably one of their most below-par results.
Against the bottom seven, which includes Burnley, Chelsea have won two out of two at Stamford Bridge by big margins (4-0 v Crystal Palace and 4-1 v Sheffield United) and overall against that group their record is W6 D1 L0 this season. That includes a 3-0 win at Burnley on October 31.
Burnley are much improved since then, having lost only three times since the end of November. Two of those defeats were against top-five sides Manchester United and West Ham (the other was away to Leeds).
That gives them a W6 D3 L3 record in that recent period and they won’t be afraid of Stamford Bridge, having won 3-2 there in 2017/18 and drawn 2-2 the following season.
Overall, though, there have been seven head-to-heads since the start of 2017/18 and Chelsea have won the other five, mostly by big margins.
Clearly there is a sizeable class gap when Chelsea turn on their best form and the Blues have scored freely even in the recent matches where Burnley took something from the game. The Chelsea goals average over those last seven meetings is 2.86 per game.
The Blues have had at least 2.5 goals in five of their seven games this season against bottom-third teams.
The last seven meetings between these sides all went over 2.5 goals and that option is priced at 1.768/11.
Four of the seven meetings had over 3.5 goals and that is available at 2.942/1.
Chelsea’s figures support the case for a high-scoring game as they rank joint-fourth overall for over 2.5 goals this season (55%) and joint-third at home (60%).
Bear in mind, however, that those numbers were achieved under Lampard and Tuchel might be looking to tighten up Chelsea’s defence as a key priority.
Burnley’s figures point the other way, as they are joint-top overall for under 2.5 goals (68%). Those numbers have moved strongly in that direction since their form picked up from the end of November, with eight out of 10 league matches since then having under 2.5 goals.
None of the 13 Premier League meetings between Chelsea and Burnley have been goalless at half-time – this is the only Premier League fixture played more than 10 times to see a goal scored in the first half of each meeting. The Chelsea double result on Half Time/Full Time is 1.991/1.