Burnley vs. Chelsea
Venue: Turf Moor
Kick off: 5:30PM
Chelsea make the trip to Turf Moor to take on Burnley in the Premier League having put together a six-match winning streak in all competitions.
However, the Clarets have also enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, with Sean Dyche’s side currently sitting in eighth position in the standings.
While Frank Lampard will continually reiterate that Chelsea remain in a transitional period, the club legend may struggle to justify that opinion if his side maintain their current form in the long term.
The Blues rode their luck against Ajax on Wednesday night, with their opponents arguably being unfortunate to have a goal chalked off by VAR, but Chelsea deserve credit for riding out that storm to earn what could turn out to be a crucial three points.
The result in the Netherlands was Chelsea’s fourth successive victory on the road, having previously overcome Wolverhampton Wanderers, Lille and Southampton on away territory.
Lampard has acknowledged that putting together such a positive run of form brings its dangers, although the boss of the West Londoners will have every confidence that his team can prolong their run even longer.
Widespread praise has deservedly been handed to the club’s academy graduates, but Christian Pulisic and Michy Batshuayi have each reminded Lampard that they deserve opportunities going forward.
Pulisic, who has admitted to being frustrated with his lack of starts, has played a hand in each of Chelsea’s decisive goals against Newcastle United and Ajax over the past seven days.
Batshuayi, meanwhile, added the finishing touches to the American’s cross in Amsterdam, taking his tally to four goals for the season despite having only been provided with one start.
Whether Lampard will choose to break up a winning side remains to be seen, but the pair have arguably done more than enough to warrant a chance at Turf Moor this evening.
On the other hand, while Dyche would have been disappointed with last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Leicester City, the Burnley boss will still be relatively pleased with how his side have started the season.
Just three defeats have been registered from nine outings, against teams in Arsenal, Liverpool and the Foxes who are all competing for a spot in the top six.
Burnley’s primary objective is to avoid a relegation battle and before the setback at the King Power Stadium, Dyche witnessed his players pick up eight points from encounters versus Brighton & Hove Albion, Norwich City, Aston Villa and an out-of-form Everton.
Dyche would have placed high priority on those games, with Burnley able to benefit from taking points from teams considered to be their direct rivals, both in the short and long term.
That return has lifted any kind of pressure off the Clarets, who will be looking to produce the same level of performance which almost earned them a share of the spoils at Leicester.
While his debatable foul led to Burnley having what they had hoped to be a late equaliser chalked off, Chris Wood will be delighted with his current form having scored four times from the same number of appearances.
The New Zealand international’s contribution has come at a time when the goals have dried up for strike partner Ashley Barnes, who had failed to score in five outings before missing out through injury last week.
Nevertheless, if, as expected, the pair are reunited this weekend, they each have the qualities to exploit the individual errors that are still being committed in the Chelsea backline.
Burnley possible XI: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes, Wood.
Chelsea possible XI: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Willian, Mount, Pulisic, Abraham.