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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 27 April, 2018


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Will we see an upset this evening? Chelsea, after a summer spent acquiring a couple of Europe’s most coveted players, begin their quest for a first Premier League crown since 2010 with a trip to newly-promoted Burnley. 

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Burnley 1-3 Chelsea (Arfield 14, Diego Costa 16, Schurrle 21, Ivanovic 34)

Good evening everyone. Welcome to our coverage of tonight’s Premier League clash between Burnley and Chelsea. Let’s get straight to it, shall we? The teams are in…

Burnley XI: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Taylor, Marney, Jones, Arfield, Ings, Jutkiewicz.

Chelsea XI: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard, Costa.

So, the big news is that Petr Cech has been left out for Chelsea, with Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois starting. That will surely have repercussions as we move closer to deadline day…

To make matters worse, Cech (and Azpilicueta and Felipe Luis!) might have a bone to pick with the guy in charge of typing up the team-sheets at Turf Moor.

New signings Costa and Fabregas start, as expected. While Andre Schurrle, so quietly efficient for Chelsea and Germany, also gets the nod.

Meanwhile, what a story for Burnley defender Michael Duff – signed 10 years ago for £30k, he’s played in all six tiers of English football. And finds himself up against Diego Costa tonight. No pressure.

Here’s how the teams will line up this evening.

Burnley with a pretty traditional 4-4-2, Ings just slightly withdrawn. Chelsea offer up their usual 4-2-3-1 and, as has been pointed out in our office, their bench has a ‘Premier League Dream Team 2010’ feel to it…Cech, Torres, Drogba – not bad, I suppose.

Just 10 minutes until kick-off…Why not have a glance at this while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil? 3 talking points ahead of tonight…obviously one of them is now largely irrelevant. Many would argue it’s all irrelevant. But humour me, please. It’s a Monday night. A long road ahead.

Incredible atmosphere as the teams walk out onto the hallowed Turf Moor pitch. Magnificent welcome from the home fans. Interesting to see how the new arrivals cope in this atmosphere – tight ground, loud and proud supporters, lots of tension, etc.

And here comes ‘the Ginger Mourinho’. The fans proudly sing, eh, ‘Ginger Mourinho, Ginger Mourinho, Ginger Mourinho’. It’s catchy.

Lots of hugs and kisses for Diego Costa before the game from his Chelsea team-mates. Mourinho has said he knows about ten words of English. About the same as John Terry so. Zing.

And we’re off!

Straight away, Jutkiewicz tries his luck from the right channel with a dipping left foot strike but it’s high, wide and not very handsome.

5 mins – CLOSE!

Schurrle picks it up on the left of the area and wants to cut across and get a shot in, which he does. It takes a deflection and sends the ball in the complete opposite direction, wrong-footing Tom Heaton. It narrowly misses the bottom corner.

6 mins – CLOSE!

After surviving some Chelsea pressure, Burnley progress upfield and Jutkiewicz picks it up inside the left channel of the area. He’s shadowed by Chelsea defenders but engineers a yard of space and tries to send a low strike inside Courtois’ near post. In the end, he hist the side net with a relatively soft strike. Good intent though.

Some good pressure from Chelsea. Firstly, Fabregas plays a gorgeous ball over the top for Schurrle on the diagonal run from the right side. He cuts inside but his shot is blocked.

Moments later, Costa pops up on the right of the area, jinks onto his left, and thumps a shot towards goal but Burnley defenders charge it down and they escape.

14 mins – GOAL! Arfield! (Burnley 1-0 Chelsea)

My, my. WHAT A MOMENT! Chelsea concede a corner after Cahill defends a deep free-kick. And from the resulting set-piece, they don’t properly clear their lines. There’s a sneaky run down the left side and Chelsea players are caught out, thinking it’s offside. When the cross comes in, it drops to Scott Arfield who tees it up and rifles a brilliant strike straight through to the roof of the net.

16 mins – GOAL! Diego Costa! (Burnley 1-1 Chelsea)

What a response from Mourinho’s side. It’s very nearly an own goal as a low cross from the right side gets a touch off a Burnley defender but it comes back off the post and Costa is poaching in the danger zone to thump it to the net from close range. Quick reactions. Killer instinct. Wonderful from Chelsea.

21 mins – GOAL! Schurrle! (Burnley 1-2 Chelsea)

Well, that didn’t last long. And Cesc Fabregas, take a bow. Hazard starts it with an incisive run from deep. He drops it off wide left and knocked inside to Fabregas. Instantly, he threads a ball through for Schurrle, who made a terrific run (what else is new?) and who finishes brilliantly. Sublime assist from the Spaniard.

Well, let’s take a breather. And have a look at the goals. Incredible start for Burnley and what a hit from Arfield – remember Robbie Blake in August 2009?

Just 3 minutes later and Diego Costa opened his Chelsea account. Nice one for him to start with.

But they saved their best for the go-ahead goal. Magnificent from Fabregas. Not bad from Schurrle either.

30 mins – BOOKING! Costa! 

Well that’s not very good refereeing from Michael Oliver. A poor back-pass and Diego Costa charges towards the Burnley goal, gets there before Heaton and tumbles in the area. The referee, perhaps instructed or advised by the linesman, gives the striker a yellow card for diving but the replay shows it certainly wasn’t stimulation. There was contact and Heaton’s challenge was clumsy.

A let-off for Burnley, definitely.

34 mins – GOAL! Ivanovic! (Burnley 1-3 Chelsea)

Some lovely interchanges between Chelsea in the area results in a corner. It’s expertly swung into the danger area and Ivanovic has been allowed to run, from deep, straight into the 6-yard zone and easily knocks it home.

Wonderful comeback from Chelsea who have played some great stuff. Fabregas at the heart of much of it.

Wow. Still getting over that Chelsea response. To their credit, Burnley have responded in the last few minutes with Ings having a half-chance at the near post after some good approach play. But Chelsea will see out the remainder of the half here. 3 minutes to go.


That Ivanovic goal really has been a killer for Burnley. The crowd has quietened significantly since it went in and the optimism has really lessened. From Chelsea’s perspective, they’ve clicked so well going forward. Fabregas has pulled the strings from deep but, crucially, has the defensive support from Matic to move forward and thread balls through to Schurrle and Hazard and Costa. It’s been great to watch.

Over on SKY, Gary Neville says Costa should’ve been awarded a penalty in the first-half. We’ll hear more from him at full-time. SKY need to go to ads. They’re short a few bob, probably.

‘A penalty all day long’, says G. Neville. That’s as much as we get before we’re back to Turf Moor for the 2nd half…

It looks unlikely Burnley can back into this but if they start this period the same way as the first…

46 mins – CLOSE!

That’s not a bad start from Burnley. Ings again is at the centre of it – picks up a nice flick-on and heads straight for goal. Takes it on his left as he reaches the edge of the area but pulls it slightly and it’s wide. Decent effort.

49 mins – VERY CLOSE!

Arfield has already scored one screamer and he’s so close to another one. The cross from the left is headed away by Cahill but drops to the winger on the right of the area. His first touch takes it inside the centre-back and onto his left foot…and he curls a superb shot towards the top corner. Courtois stretches and tips it away. Really excellent save.

54 mins – Ironic cheer when Oliver pulls the vanishing spray out of his pocket. Ironic cheer when Schurrle’s free-kick (in a good position) is probably still sailing through the Burnley night sky right about now.

Chelsea just going through the motions here. Knocking some passes around and playing in 2nd gear. A decent chance for Burnley to push here and try and get something.

Worth keeping an eye on Danny Ings this season. He’s been impressive and certainly, if Burnley have any hopes of staying up, they’ll need him to grab some goals. But he’s shown good energy, good appetite and has been a general menace.

63 mins - Burnley raising it here and trying to create some chances down the flanks. Mourinho will surely not enjoy the drop-off from his side.

66 mins - Drogba looks like he’ll be coming on very shortly. Just sent on a warm-up along the touchline and applauded the Chelsea supporters as they sang his name. Straight swap with Costa, one would imagine.

70 mins – SUBSTITUTIONS! Burnley! 

Barnes (on) - Jutkiewicz (off)

Kightly (on) – Taylor (off)

Maybe the double change can lead to Burnley creating some chances. Chelsea are sitting back just a smidge and Kightly can offer some penetration in wide areas.

74 mins – Chelsea give away a cheap free-kick here as Schurrle dives in on Arfield. It’s a decent position close to the corner flag on the right side…

…and the training-ground routine goes really well until no one remembers what they’re supposed to do. It runs harmlessly across the area and Chelsea clear. Good chance spurned there. Big-game experience, etc.

78 mins – SUBSTITUTION! Chelsea!

Willian (on) – Schurrle (off)

Drogba isn’t the first Chelsea sub that’s introduced. Instead, the Brazilian enters proceedings in place of the player who gave the visitors the lead.


Chelsea: Mikel (on) – Oscar (off)

Burnley: Sordell (on) – Ings (off)

84 mins – SUBSTITUTION! Chelsea!

Drogba (on) – Hazard (off)

So, you’ve guessed it. The game is effectively over here. Lots of subs coming on, including Drogba. The last time he was in a Chelsea shirt, by the way, they won the Champions League in 2012.

And rather bizarrely, Alan Parry referred to Marvin Sordell as an Irish international when he was introduced. Think he’s probably glanced at his notes and misread Stephen Ward or Stephen Reid’s bio. Or so I hope…

88 mins – CLOSE!

Drogba has the perfect chance to wallop home a dream goal. It drops nicely for him on the edge of the area and he tees up the strike…but he drags it well wide and affords himself a wry smile. A little rusty, maybe.


And that’s that!

Easy for Chelsea in the end. The second half was tame and not a patch on what happened during the first 45 minutes. A wonderful opening for the home side with Arfield grabbing a terrific strike after 13 minutes but a superb response from Mourinho’s side who were level just moments later through Diego Costa. On 21 minutes, Cesc Fabregas played a sublime through-ball for Andre Schurrle to run onto, the German pushing it to the net with minimum fuss. And the comeback was complete shortly after the half-hour with Fabregas sending in a corner which Branislav Ivanovic finished to the net from close range.

The game was effectively over at the interval. Though Burnley tried to raise things in the second half, Chelsea dropped to second gear and got numbers back. They were well-drilled, well-organised and didn’t offer the hosts anything.

An impressive start to the season for Mourinho and his squad. But Burnley won’t be too displeased. Lots to work on but plenty of encouraging signs too.

Thanks for staying with us. Plenty more reaction to come on the site in the next while.

About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan