Chelsea v Burnley, Premier League, August 29, 2009
Owen Coyle takes his Burnley side to Stamford Bridge in the early kick off on Saturday, hoping for arguably a bigger upset than beating either Manchester United or Everton at home.
Burnley’s victories over two of last season’s top five have infused belief at Turf Moor that the smallest club in the history of the Premier League can avoid the dreaded drop. (Burnley are 4/6 to be relegated.) Their naive opening day defeat at Stoke now seems like a long time ago as the likes of Brian Jensen and Wade Elliott have produced match winning performances in successive home wins.
Unlike Chelsea, Burnley had a midweek match and rested a number of their players in the 3-1 Carling Cup win over Hartlepool that was only secured in extra time. Substitute Steven Fletcher (6/1 to score) scored his first goals for the club, the first came with just six minutes remaining and ensured that a cup upset was avoided.
Chelsea start as heavy favourites in this match but should be buoyed by Hull’s performance on the opening day of the Premier League season at Stamford Bridge. Whether Carlo Ancelotti deploys a diamond or Christmas tree, Chelsea look better equipped away from home where they can release their pacy front two on the break.
Hull deployed a five man midfield in their 2-1 defeat at Chelsea and we can expect Burnley to do the same in an attempt to stifle the service from midfield to Nicolas Anelka (4/1 to score first) and Didier Drogba (8/11 to score) up front.
The Ivorian hitman in particular has been in sensational form this season and Ancelotti has already succeeded where Luiz Felipe Scolari failed in getting Drogba onside. Last week at Fulham, Anelka and Drogba scored one and both provided assists which has led many to suggest they can play together.
Drogba, who has scored three goals in three Premier League games so far, has another reason to produce the goods on Saturday. Burnley beat Chelsea on penalties in the Carling Cup in November last year and Drogba famously threw a coin into the crowd in one of the most bizarre moments of the 2008/2009 season.
Following his start to the season we can expect Drogba to be chomping at the bit and Chelsea are firm favourites to secure their fourth win of the campaign. If goals do flow for the home side, Frank Lampard (5/4 to score) could well be a beneficiary as Burnley struggle to keep an eye on the bodies flowing from midfield.
Burnley’s last win at Stamford Bridge in league football came in April 1971, but as Hull proved last season, promoted teams play with a vigour early on in the campaign that can yield impressive results. Chelsea will though likely continue the Carlo Ancelotti honeymoon period.
101gg predicts: Chelsea 3 – Burnley 0 (6/1)
Full match odds here.