Chelsea climb to fourth position but failed to capitalise rivals defeat to Burnley

0
SHARE

Chelsea moved above Arsenal into fourth position in the Premier League as they were held by Burnley in a thrilling game at Stamford Bridge.

With rivals Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United all losing over the weekend, Chelsea will be frustrated that they could not take full advantage – a win would have lifted them into third, two points ahead of Spurs.

All the goals were scored in the opening 24 minutes with Jeff Hendrick giving Burnley an eighth-minute lead before N’Golo Kante equalised after wonderful skill by Eden Hazard.

Gonzalo Higuain put Chelsea in front six minutes and 14 seconds after Burnley’s opener.

However, the visitors were level when Ashley Barnes scored from close range, his 11th league goal of the season.

On a frustrating night for Maurizio Sarri’s side, Callum Hudson-Odoi ruptured his Achilles tendon and Kante went off with a rib injury, while the Chelsea boss was sent to the stands towards the end.

Burnley are now almost certainly safe from relegation with three games to go, holding a nine-point advantage over 18th-placed Cardiff and with a goal difference 17 better than the Welsh side.

Chelsea started the weekend in fifth place but, despite failing to win for the second successive league game, end it in fourth, with Arsenal dropping out of the Champions League spots.

However, this was a missed opportunity for the Blues, who have played one more game than the teams around them.

Frustrations boiled over towards the end with David Luiz and Barnes involved in an altercation on the pitch, Sarri ordered away from the dugout and a scuffle taking place near the tunnel entrance at the final whistle.

Chelsea were unhappy with what they perceived to be time-wasting tactics by the visitors yet that failed to disguise the hosts’ poor defending, Burnley scoring from their only two shots on target in the first half.

Midfielder Hendrick was left unmarked when he produced a delightful curling finish to put Burnley ahead with his third league goal of the season.

In a remarkable passage of play, Chelsea quickly levelled when Hazard got the better of Matthew Lowton before pulling it back for Kante to smash home from 12 yards out.

Chelsea were ahead through Higuain’s beautiful first-time finish after Cesar Azpilicueta’s backheel into his path.

Burnley were back level when Chelsea failed to deal with a free-kick, Barnes pouncing inside the six-yard area after a flick by Chris Wood.

Chelsea have now conceded seven times in the past three games, a big concern for Sarri as his side also look to seal a Europa League final spot.

After losing 5-1 at home to Everton on 26 December, Burnley were third bottom in the table, three points from safety following a sixth defeat in seven games.

Fast forward 16 games and eight wins, the Clarets are as good as safe with three matches to spare after a spirited performance against Chelsea left Cardiff requiring an extraordinary set of results to overhaul Burnley.

Having won 3-2 at Chelsea on the opening day of last season, they swept into the lead through Hendrick’s fine finish before showing their character to respond after falling 2-1 behind.

Tom Heaton’s yellow card in the 32nd minute was the earliest for time-wasting by a goalkeeper in a Premier League match for five years.

Yet this was far from a conservative performance by the visitors, Burnley producing six shots in total – half on target – and Sean Dyche can now start planning for a fourth successive season in the Premier League.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.