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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Burnley1Chelsea1

Burnley 1-1 Chelsea

Chelsea
Thibaut Courtois conceded a direct free-kick for the first time in his Premier League career
Chelsea missed the chance to move 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League as they were held to a draw by a resilient Burnley at Turf Moor.
The hosts had won all four of their previous homes games without conceding but fell behind early on when Pedro finished off a sweeping attack.
The visitors dominated possession and it seemed only a matter of time before they added to their advantage.
However, Burnley's record signing Robbie Brady - making his full debut following a January move from Norwich - equalised with a stunning free-kick.
The Clarets almost went ahead before the break but Thibaut Courtois superbly denied Matt Lowton from close range.
Chelsea did not have a single shot on target in the second half as Burnley took the game to the Premier League leaders, Andre Gray testing Courtois with a low drive when he was through one-on-one.
In the end, manager Antonio Conte will perhaps consider this a point gained as the Blues moved 10 points ahead of Tottenham. Manchester City can close the gap to eight points if they beat Bournemouth on Monday.
Burnley, meanwhile, are 12th.

A blip for Blues against battling Burnley

Diego Costa
Diego Costa did not manage a single shot on target, with both his efforts blocked by a brilliant Burnley defence
Chelsea's away form in the Premier League is unrivalled but this was always going to be a difficult test for the Blues.
Just two sides have a better home record than Burnley - Chelsea and Tottenham - with 28 of the Clarets' 29 points collected prior to the visit of Conte's men coming at Turf Moor.
Initially, it looked like the visitors had the measure of their opponents, swiftly turning defence into attack to catch the Clarets out of position and open the scoring.
To Burnley's credit, they did not abandon a system that had brought them so much success on home soil. They allowed Chelsea to dominate possession but closed them down quickly as soon as they approached the box.
A disciplined four-man defence had the bustling Diego Costa and the mercurial Eden Hazard under control, limiting the Blues to just two shots on target in the whole game, both of which came in the first half.
It was only the second time all season they have dropped points against a side outside the top six. With just Manchester City and Manchester United left to face out of the leading group, it will take an almighty collapse to deny the Blues a fifth Premier League title.
Chelsea
Chelsea only managed two shots on target, both of which were from inside the box. As they struggled to break through the Burnley defence they resorted to efforts from distance. Every one of their long-range strikes went wide

Time to start Fabregas?

Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas had one shot and played one key pass after coming on in the 67th minute
A key factor in Chelsea's impressive season has been consistency, with Conte rarely making changes to his side unless forced to.
Against Burnley, he chose the same XI that started in the 3-1 home win against Arsenal last time out. That meant Cesc Fabregas - who scored against the Gunners - had to make do with a place on the bench.
Despite Conte recently calling Fabregas "a genius" and likening him to Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo, the Spanish midfielder has started just five games this season.
N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic were preferred in midfield against Burnley but both are defensive-minded and it quickly became evident that Chelsea were lacking the creativity of someone like Fabregas.
Once again Fabregas climbed off the bench but with 20 minutes remaining against a determined Burnley side, it left him little time to make an impression.
It could be time for Conte to give Chelsea's 'Pirlo' his chance to shine for the run-in.
Conte congratulates 'very tough' Burnley

Fortress Turf Moor

Burnley's home form has all but guaranteed their Premier League status for next season, with Sean Dyche's side comfortably in mid-table and 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
But while their home form is as good as anyone's in the top flight, their away form has been on par with a side battling to stay up. They've collected just one point on their travels, a daunting record going into four consecutive away games.
The addition of Brady appears an astute signing and, along with Joey Barton, means they possess two players who are deadly from set-pieces.
No side have scored more goals from direct free-kicks than Burnley this season and that could represent their best chance of picking up some much-needed points on the road.
Burnley making definite progress - Dyche

Man of the match - Michael Keane

Michael Keane
Michael Keane (left) was instrumental in preventing Chelsea from managing a shot on target in the second half

What they said

Burnley boss Sean Dyche: "Chelsea are a fine side. They are the market leaders for a reason and we limited them to two shots on target and that is tough enough.
"We made four or five really good chances. I am very pleased overall. The mentality here, I am pleased about the growth in the side.
"We are maturing as a side as individuals and as a team. You need assuredness in the Premier League. I was super impressed with our reaction to their goal. We were not disappointed or stepping on the back foot."
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte: "It is one point and for sure we must be disappointed. We tried to win. We started very well and scored a goal and created chances to score the second goal.
"We tried to win but we know Burnley at home are not easy. They have taken 29 points at home. Now it is important to continue to work.
"I think we tried to build and do our football for sure. Burnley tried to disrupt our play. They played long balls and the second ball is not easy. It is not easy to play against this team. It is very particular. At home they are very tough."

Costa goal drought continues - the stats

  • Burnley have gone six top-flight games unbeaten at home for the first time since September 1975.
  • Chelsea (19) have scored the first goal of the game more times than any other Premier League team this season and have yet to lose (W16 D3).
  • Burnley have never won a Premier League encounter against Chelsea (D2 L4).
  • Pedro has now scored nine times in all competitions for Chelsea this season, surpassing his total of eight in 2015-16.
  • Robbie Brady is the first Premier League player to score a direct free-kick v Chelsea (in the PL) since Rickie Lambert in March 2013.
  • Brady is the third Burnley player to score on his first Premier League start for the club alongside Scott Arfield v Chelsea in August 2014 and Daniel Fox v West Ham in February 2010.
  • Diego Costa has failed to score in three consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time since April-May 2016.

What next?

After hosting non-league Lincoln City in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday [12:30 GMT], Burnley begin a run of four away games in a row when they travel to Hull City on 25 February.
Chelsea are also in FA Cup action at the weekend. They travel to Championship side Wolves [17:30] on Saturday before hosting Swansea in the Premier League the following weekend.
Home TeamBurnleyAway TeamChelsea
Possession
Home29%
Away71%
Shots
Home6
Away13
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home1
Away1
Fouls
Home12
Away11

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