Chelsea host Burnley on Saturday as they look to continue their perfect start to the new season. After three wins from three in all competitions, things are going pretty well for Antonio Conte’s team. Will they be able to carry that on against the newly promoted Clarets on Sunday? They are heading to London on the back of claiming a massive scalp – having beaten Liverpool 2-0 in their last league fixture.
The Blues could be without Willian, after the Brazilian missed the last two games. He’s been training as he aims to get back to full fitness after a calf injury, but this could come a little too soon for him. Long term absentee Kurt Zouma continues to miss out.
Without Zouma, expect to see little change at the back by Conte. His side may have conceded four times in three games so far, but he has few options at the back. With just five fit defenders, Conte is going to have to stick with the back four that has started the last two league games. Hopefully they’re being worked in training.
The defence will face a test this weekend, as Burnley are coming off the back of an impressive win. They beat Liverpool 2-0 at Turf Moor, with their forwards Sam Vokes and Andre Gray both opening their accounts for the season. Those two will relish playing a Chelsea defence which has yet to keep a clean sheet. Sean Dyche will be aiming to get the most out of his two strikers.
Given how Chelsea have slowed down at times in their opening few games, you have to worry about the damage Burnley could do. If given the opportunity, the Clarets could punish the Blues’ backline. League One Bristol Rovers caused them trouble in midweek, so they’re clearly not up to speed quite yet.
This game could see Conte starting with a 4-2-4. His favoured formation from early on in his career has saved the Blues’ blushes twice now. The switch has paid off against West Ham and Watford, and he did use it during the EFL Cup game in midweek. The only difference here would be that Michy Batshuayi would start alongside Diego Costa.
We’ve yet to see major changes from Conte, but a switch to two up front would be the first. The team have fallen into their old ways of slowing down in games that plagued both Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink last term. Playing with two high wingers and two men up front could be the gear shift that the side need at this stage.
With Conte just settling in and getting his men in shape, there was always going to be a slow start to the season. These early games have been a struggle, and that could continue here. Burnley won’t give the hosts an easy time here, we’re backing another 2-1 win. If Chelsea can keep getting the results, few will complain just yet if the performances aren’t also quite perfect.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-1