Burnley vs Chelsea preview: Eden Hazard a fitness doubt

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Eden Hazard is a doubt as Chelsea aim to extend their unbeaten start to the season against a Burnley side searching for their first victory in the Premier League since September.

The Blues’ last-gasp equaliser against Manchester United last week saw them remain in third place, two points behind joint league-leaders Manchester City and Liverpool.

Hazard has been at the forefront of Chelsea’s scintillating start to the season but faces a late fitness test after missing his side’s Europa League win on Thursday.

Sean Dyche will be hoping his team can put aside the 5-0 trashing they received at the hands of champions City in their last Premier League outing.

Team news

Robbie Brady is in contention to play his first game for Burnley since last December but midfielder Aaron Lennon is battling a virus and defender Ben Gibson will be given more time to return to full match fitness.

Chelsea will give Hazard every chance to prove his fitness after he missed Thursday’s 3-1 Europa League win over BATE Borisov at Stamford Bridge with a back problem.

Robbie Brady played his last match for Burnley against Leicester on December 2, 2017
Robbie Brady played his last match for Burnley against Leicester on December 2, 2017

Manager Maurizio Sarri remains hopeful the Belgium forward could be back in time for the Turf Moor trip but Ethan Ampadu is likely to remain sidelined through knee trouble.

Opta stats

  • Burnley are yet to beat Chelsea at Turf Moor in a Premier League match (P4 W0 D1 L3) – their last home league win over the Blues was in April 1983 in the second tier.
  • Chelsea have lost just one of their eight Premier League games against Burnley (W5 D2), a 3-2 home defeat on the opening day of last season.
  • Burnley have won just two points from their last 12 home Premier League games against the ‘big six’, drawing two and losing 10 since a 2-0 win over Liverpool in August 2016.
  • Chelsea are unbeaten after the first nine games of a top-flight season for just the fifth time in their history alongside 1964-65 (3rd), 1966-67 (9th), 2005-06 (1st) and 2014-15 (1st).
  • Burnley have won seven points from their last four games (W2 D1 L1), one more than they picked up in their previous 11 Premier League matches combined.
  • Maurizio Sarri could become the first Chelsea manager to remain unbeaten in his first 10 Premier League matches in charge of the club (P9 W6 D3 L0).
Maurizio Sarri has overseen a change in style of play at Stamford Bridge
Maurizio Sarri has overseen a change in style of play at Stamford Bridge

Merson’s prediction

Burnley have a poor record against the top teams at home but they rarely get battered. They always give them a good game. However, Burnley are not a hard team to play against at the moment. Have the players got a little carried away? Maybe they are trying to play a bit more and the intensity is not there.

Opposition teams would come off the pitch thinking: that was a hard game. Teams are not thinking that anymore. Burnley need to watch videos of how they played last season and replicate it. Sean Dyche is a great manager though – they will be fine this season.

When this game opens up, Chelsea have the players to hurt Burnley. Away win.

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