MX23RW : Wednesday, February 20 08:25:42
Apr 19, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Turf Moor
Attendance: 21,264
Barnes (64')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Long (20' og.), Moses (69')

Preview: Burnley vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Thursday's Premier League clash between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor.

Burnley play host to Chelsea on Thursday night with the opportunity to overtake Arsenal and move into sixth place in the Premier League standings.

The Blues are also looking to strengthen their position over the Gunners, while victory at Turf Moor would move Antonio Conte's team to within five points of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.


Sean Dyche applauds after the Premier League game between Burnley and Crystal Palace on September 10, 2017© SilverHub

When Burnley went 11 matches without a win between the middle of December and the start of March, there was a possibility that the Clarets had peaked too early and would end their season with a whimper, just like West Bromwich Albion did during the last campaign having seemingly done enough to seal eighth place.

However, since the home fixture with Everton on March 3, Burnley have been fantastic. Five victories have been recorded in a row - four of them coming by a 2-1 margin - and the club are on the brink of achieving a spot in the Europa League.

There is still work to be done and Southampton must miss out on winning the FA Cup but for now, the North-West outfit can begin to dream and they can approach fixtures like the one against Chelsea knowing that they now possess a certain fear-factor about them.

Teams do not enjoy a trip to Turf Moor. Only Tottenham Hotspur have won with ease at the ground all season, with Manchester City being denied by a late Johann Berg Gudmundsson effort and Arsenal and Liverpool only prevailing due to the latest of goals.

Burnley also head into Thursday's contest holding a victory over Chelsea earlier this season, and it was their 3-2 triumph at Stamford Bridge which set the tone for what has developed into arguably the most memorable eight months since the title-winning campaign of 1960.

Dyche's aim will continue to be seventh spot and Burnley require seven points from their remaining five matches to guarantee that position in the table, but Dyche will also acknowledge that the opportunity to sit above Arsenal in a top-flight table is one which may never happen again.

Should Burnley defeat Chelsea on Thursday and Stoke City at the weekend, the club will be placed above the Gunners with less than a month of the campaign to go, and it would create a dynamic in the Premier League which has rarely occurred.

Burnley still have to travel to the Emirates Stadium on the penultimate weekend of the season, but if Dyche can keep his team to within a win of either moving past Arsenal or putting themselves out of reach of their more illustrious rivals, there will only be pressure on one team when that fixture eventually takes place in May.

Recent form: DWWWWW


Antonio Conte watches on intently during the Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Chelsea on October 14, 2017© Offside

For a number of months, it has felt increasingly inevitable that Conte would leave Chelsea at the end of the season and when the Blues went 2-0 down at Southampton last weekend, it became possible that the Italian's exit could come sooner than expected.

However, in the space of eight minutes, Chelsea proved that there is still a desire to perform for their head coach - at least in the short term - and the victory at St Mary's has the potential to give the team a new lease of life.

Chelsea are still underdogs to achieve a place in the top four in the league standings and they are probably only third favourites to lift the FA Cup, but the club's supporters at least have some hope to cling on to at what feels like a hugely important time for the club.

Even after their Premier League title triumph last year, the Blues felt like a team in transition and that has remained the case this season with too many question marks hanging over the futures over some of the club's best players and biggest characters, and the situation will not improve unless the West Londoners end the campaign on a high.

Chelsea hold an eight-point advantage over Burnley so they should have enough left in the tank to finish above their hosts, but for Chelsea on Thursday night, the fixture between the two clubs is as much about proving the gulf in class as it is about winning three points.

Since the start of 2018, Chelsea have picked up 15 points from a dozen outings in the Premier League. It is just the 11th-best return of all the 20 clubs, with Newcastle United, Swansea City, West Ham United and Bournemouth having all performed better over the past three-and-a-half months.

Reports have suggested that owner Roman Abramovich intends to show more patience with his management team, but Chelsea have lost significant ground on four of their biggest rivals and it is an issue which must be addressed in some form.

For now, Conte arguably remains in control of his own fate. The chance to qualify for the Champions League may have already come and gone but if Chelsea can end the season with 12 points from five matches and an FA Cup triumph, the fans and hierarchy alike will at least have some optimism heading into a pivotal few months for the club.

Recent form: LLWLDW
Recent form (all competitions): WLWLDW

Team News

Antonio Rudiger in action during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Everton on August 27, 2017© Offside

Conte has suggested that there are no issues with defender Antonio Rudiger and that the German international could feature on Thursday night.

January signing Emerson Palmieri will start - regardless of whether Marcos Alonso receives a ban for a tackle on Southampton forward Shane Long - while Ross Barkley is in contention to make an appearance.

Conte must also choose between Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, with the latter netting twice after coming off the bench against the Saints.

Dyche has confirmed that neither Ben Mee nor Scott Arfield will be available for selection as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.

The Burnley boss could retain the same starting lineup after the club's 2-1 victory over Leicester City last weekend.

Burnley possible starting lineup:
Pope; Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward; Gudmundsson, Cork, Westwood, Lennon; Barnes, Wood

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Rudiger, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Palmieri; Barkley, Pedro, Giroud

Head To Head

Thursday's fixture will represent the 96th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Burnley recording 38 wins in comparison to 34 victories for Chelsea.

However, in the eight matches which have taken place since the new millennium, Chelsea hold the advantage with four wins and two draws coming in all competitions.

The Blues are also unbeaten on their last three visits to Turf Moor, although Burnley have managed to score in each of those contests.

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We say: Burnley 1-1 Chelsea

Chelsea's comeback win over Southampton has the potential to re-energise the Blues ahead of the closing weeks of the season, but it is difficult to back against Burnley picking up a result at their home ground. We expect a low-key game with Burnley being well worth a point.

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Who will win Thursday's Premier League clash between Burnley and Chelsea?

Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley in action during his side's EFL Cup semi-final with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on January 24, 2018
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