Chelsea Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Burnley
Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League match at Turf Moor as the Blues travel to the north of England
Chelsea are nine points clear at the top of the table, but face one of the trickiest away days in the Premier League on Sunday as they take on Burnley, who have impressed on their return to the top-flight having gained promotion last season..
Fabregas: Football has become less about talent and more about ‘running a lot’
Sean Dyche’s side will face their toughest test yet in front of their own fans but boast the third-best home record in the league behind Chelsea and Tottenham.
Antonio Conte can afford to lose the game and retain a good lead in the table, but he will be wary of players feeling like they have already won the title as they set the standard for the chasing pack after a 3-1 win over Arsenal last weekend.
Chelsea have faced little in the way of injury problems this season with only a few instances of key first-team players not being able to make match fitness.
David Luiz is playing through a minor knee injury but has been available for all of Chelsea’s big clashes. Conte, however, may prefer to rotate tired legs in the squad in the upcoming FA Cup game against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Hazard vs Messi – the stats showdown that proves Chelsea star deserves comparisons
Branislav Ivanovic left the club for Zenit St Peterburg on February 1 after having struggled for game time under Conte, while Oscar and John Obi Mikel also left for China in the winter transfer window.
Charly Musonda and Kenedy have joined up with Chelsea’s first-team and are available to play after the club decided not to loan them out again. Nathan Ake has been integrated back into the squad and impressed on his comeback against Brentford in the FA Cup.
Chelsea have no players suspended for their match with Burnley and they have had few issues with discipline all season. John Terry has been their only player to be sent off and that was in the FA Cup against Peterborough United.
Only Messi and Ronaldo better than Eden Hazard, says brother Thorgan
In 2017 the rules altered slightly regarding suspensions for an accumulation of yellow cards, with 10 bookings now being required to acquire a ban. Pedro and N’Golo Kante are the closest players to Chelsea’s next suspension as they moved to six bookings each picked up in league and cup competition.
CHELSEA POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Conte will continue to use his tried and tested first eleven and he will take Burnely as seriously as he took the Arsenal and Liverpool clashes. If there are no new injuries Conte will likely line Chelsea up with an unchanged XI from his side’s recent victory over Arsenal.
Chelsea loanee Hector: I could’ve been selling trainers in JD Sports!
The Blues are having success by making fewer rotations than their rivals while playing in a 3-4-3 formation. In terms of personnel, Pedro and Willian have been battling it out for a place up top, while Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas compete in central midfield.
Diego Costa will lead the line as he competes with the likes of Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku for the Premier League Golden Boot.
BURNLEY TEAM NEWS
Burnley’s two big summer signings will miss the arrival of the table toppers, with Jeff Hendrick suspended and Steven Defour having picked up a hamstring injury.
Dean Marney and Kevin Long have long-term knee injuries and Dyche will have to look for alternative options in midfield with several first-teamers out.
Joey Barton re-signed for Burnley in January, but he has already landed himself in trouble and is awaiting news on his punishment after accepting an FA charge over betting breaches.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Burnley have never won a Premier League encounter against Chelsea, losing four of five previous attempts (D1).
Chelsea have won their last three top-flight trips to Turf Moor, last losing there in a top-flight encounter in August 1973 when they were beaten 1-0 by a Frank Casper goal.
Cesc Fabregas has created a goalscoring chance for a team-mate on average every 22 minutes in the Premier League this season (24 in 526 minutes of game time).
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
In the UK, the game is on Sky Sports 1 at 13:30 on Sunday afternoon.