Burnley v Chelsea: Tight and tense at Turf Moor
Burnley are scrapping for their Premier League survival, and Kevin Hatchard believes they can frustrate Chelsea this weekend...
Hardy Burnley in with a survival shot
If they are going to going down, Burnley and Sean Dyche are going to go down swinging. Dyche insists his side has the fitness and the desire to pick up the required number of points in the final stretch of the season, and the likes of Leeds United, Everton and Brentford are all within striking distance. Burnley are priced at 2.34 in the Relegation market.
The Clarets have produced some encouraging results recently, especially at Turf Moor. They edged out Tottenham 1-0, drew 1-1 with Manchester United, won 3-0 at Brighton and only lost 2-0 to Leicester by virtue of two goals in the last nine minutes.
Although he only has one league goal since joining the club, Dutch centre-forward Wout Weghorst has been a handful for opposition defences, and Maxwel Cornet provides something of an x-factor for a side that can often by short of creativity.
Ben Mee picked up a knee injury against Leicester in midweek, and is a doubt for this one. Erik Pieters, Matej Vydra and Johann Gudmundsson could also miss out.
Tuchel trying to offer calm in the storm
These are the last days of Roman. Chelsea's long-time owner and financial support Roman Abramovich is trying to sell the club against the backdrop of Russia's assault on Ukraine, and at this stage no-one knows what the outcome will be. Blues' boss Thomas Tuchel became used to dealing with non-football questions at Paris Saint-Germain (he commented that he sometimes felt more like a sports minister than a coach), but this week has provided the erudite German with fresh challenges.
On the field, Chelsea fell just short in the League Cup final against Liverpool, as the decision to sub in reserve keeper Kepa for the penalty shootout backfired, with the Basque custodian slamming his spot-kick over the bar at Wembley. There were fears they would tumble out of the FA Cup just days later, but they recovered from 1-0 and 2-1 down against Championship side Luton Town to progress to the quarter-finals. Goals for misfiring strikers Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku could be important confidence boosts for players who have been well below their best.
Chelsea's title hopes appear long gone, with Manchester City and Liverpool having that particular party without them, but they are well placed to make sure of Champions League qualification for next season. They are five points clear of fifth-placed West Ham with two games in hand, although Arsenal are lurking dangerously in the background. CFC's form is decent - they are chasing a third straight league win, but it is worth noting that in the top flight they have won just two of their last six away games.
Skipper Cesar Azpilicueta is a doubt after limping out of the League Cup final, and there are concerns over Hakim Ziyech and Andreas Christensen. Reece James has been eased back into action after a long injury break, and could start here.
Burnley can dig in
Burnley held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture, and I believe they can make life tough for the West London giants again. I feel like Chelsea's price of 1.5 in the Match Odds market is just too short, given the visitors' patchy away form.
There are a couple of ways to play this. You could back Burnley with a goal start on the Asian Handicap at 2.07, which means you only lose if Burnley lose by two goals, something they have only done in four of their last 21 top-flight matches. Chelsea have only won by multiple goals in three of their last 15 PL games.
Alternatively, you could lay Chelsea at 2.06 in the Half Time market. Chelsea have only led at the break in two of their last ten top-division games, and it may take them a while to get going against determined opponents.
Goals at a premium
Under 2.5 Goals looks an attractive option here at 1.84. 11 of Burnley's last 15 Premier League matches have featured fewer than three goals, as have their last six games at Turf Moor. 15 of Chelsea's last 20 competitive matches have contained fewer than three goals within the first 90 minutes.
Wout to go headfirst
Wout Weghorst has only scored once in the league, but he also has two assists, and at 6ft 6in he is a genuine threat in the air. If you look at the OddsBoost section of the Sportsbook, you can get a price of 5.0 for Weghorst to have a header on target at any stage in the 90 minutes.
Burnley winger Dwight McNeil has put in the third-most crosses in the Premier League this term, and Weghorst has had 12 goal attempts in seven PL appearances so far.
Having watched Weghorst pose a major aerial threat in the Bundesliga for years, I think the former Wolfsburg forward hasn't shown us his best yet in front of goal, and he's certainly capable of hitting the target with his head here, even against one of the toughest defences in the league.
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