London Soccer Shorts – Chelsea…

The 2023/24 Premier League campaign has been far from plain sailing for Mauricio Pochettino and his Chelsea side. Yellow Sports Dave Bishop headed across to Stamford Bridge, running the rule over the Argentines’ troubled charges for their clash with relegation-threatened Burnley…

Chelsea v Burnley – Stamford Bridge – Premier League – Report

Chelsea 2-2 Burnley

Dara O’Shea’s eighty-first-minute equaliser saw ten-man Burnley – who had both Lorenz Assignon and head coach Vincent Kompany sent off just before the break – come from behind twice to claim a vital point with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. 

Mauricio Pochettino made three changes to his starting line-up following Blue’s 4-2 FA Cup quarter-final win at Stamford Bridge on March 17, with Djordje Petrovic, Enzo Fernandez and Benoit Badiashile replacing Robert Sanchez, Trevor Chalobah and Raheem Sterling.

With the game kicking off in bright sunshine, Chelsea went close two minutes after the start when Marc Cucurella’s clever ball found Cole Palmer wide out on the left to cut inside before blasting high into the side netting.

Relegation-threatened Burnley struck back quickly, with Sander Berge’s long ball over the top of the Blues’ defence picking out Jacob Bruun Larsen to drive forward and fire just inches wide of the target with keeper Petrovic beaten. 

With the play flowing from end to end, the visitors went close again just before the quarter of an hour mark when Wilson Odobert’s curling strike towards the far corner of the net was spectacularly palmed wide of the post at full stretch by Petrovic.

With Chelsea beginning to assert themselves more in attack as the half progressed, Cole Palmer’s through ball found Nicolas Jackson in the centre of the box only for Arijanet Muric to thwart the Blues striker with a fine save.

Chelsea had the ball in the net in the twentieth minute when Axel Disasi nodded home at the far post – only for a lengthy VAR review to disallow the goal after the Frenchman was shown to have handled.  

Just minutes later, Jackson’s shot from just inside the area forced Muric into action again before O’Shea’s headed through ball found Claret’s skipper Josh Cullen, only for the former West Ham youngster’s fierce left-footed strike from outside the box to be spectacularly pushed past the right post by ever alert Petrovic.

Five minutes before the break, the game was turned completely on its head when after being adjudged to have brought down Mykhailo Mudryk in the area, referee Darren England showed Assignon his second yellow card of the match before pointing to the spot – much to the fury of the Burnley contingent and following a further prolonged VAR check, coach Kompany was shown a red card and sent to the stand following his vociferous protestation against both incidents.

Palmer stepped forward to take responsibility for the kick, putting the Blues 1-0 up in the forty-fourth minute with a ‘Panenka’ straight down the middle past Muric.      

With assistant head coach Craig Bellamy taking charge of the Clarets for the second half, the ten men were back on level terms just three minutes after the resumption with skipper Cullen crisply volleying home from the edge of the area to make it 1-1.

Lyle Foster had a fantastic opportunity to put Burnley into the lead in the fifty-sixth minute – only to head straight at Petrovic from just five yards out with Badiashile getting back to block the South African’s follow-up strike from the rebound.

The outstanding Muric was once again fully on his mettle to keep out Jackson’s superb fizzing effort from outside the area as the gutsy Clarets continued to hold strong as Chelsea continued to push forward in search of the winner.

With Blues moving the ball around confidently trying to unlock the Burnley defence, their persistence finally paid off in the seventy-eighth minute when substitute Sterling’s deft backheel flick found Palmer just outside the area to clinically fire deep into the bottom right corner and make it 2-1 – his thirteenth goal of the season.

Chelsea’s lead was destined to last for just two minutes however, with O’Shea getting in front of Badiashile to powerfully head home Cullen’s cross to restore parity for the Clarets.

Blues had yet another chance to regain the lead just after when Sterling broke free of the Burnley defence to meet Palmer’s cross – only to head agonisingly wide of the post.

Substitute Jay Rodriguez went close to winning the game for the visitors in the dying stages of the match when his header thumped against the crossbar with Petrovic beaten and despite the ball rebounding back to him, the former Southampton striker was unable to turn the ball home from close range. 

Despite several half chances and much bluff and bluster from Blues in the final stages, they were unable to force any kind of breakthrough as Burnley defied their numerical disadvantage to hold on determinedly – and heroically – for a much-deserved point.

Burnley stands nineteenth in the table – four points from safety behind Nottingham Forest, whilst Pochettino’s Blues remain eleventh. 

Next up for Chelsea in the Premier League is the visit of Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Thursday (8.15pm).

Chelsea: Petrovic, Disasi, Cucurella, Badiashile, Fernandez, Mudryk, Jackson, Palmer, Gallagher (Capt) (Madueke 62’) Caicedo (Sterling 73’) Gusto (Gilchrist 87’) Subs not used: Bettinelli, Silva, Casadei, Deivid, Tauriainen, Acheampong

Burnley: Muric, O’Shea, Berge, Foster (Rodriguez 69’) Assignon, Vitinho, Cullen (Capt.) Amdouni (Taylor 45’) Esteve, Bruun Larsen (Brownhill 45’) Odobert (Gudmundsson 70’) Subs not used: Trafford, Cork, Manuel, Ekdal, Tresor

Referee: Darren England

Assistants: Stuart Burt and Dan Cook

Fourth Official: James Bell

VAR: John Brooks

Assistant VAR: Akil Howson

Attendance: 39,535