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A Closer Look At 30, 33, 43, & 69
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho pointed out 4 moments in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley that to him defined why Chelsea did not win the game. Here’s a closer look at them: Minute 30 – Branislav Ivanovic is tackled by Burnley’s Ashley Barnes. Analysis: Barnes does fly in from a little bit of distance away and really doesn’t have much of a chance if any to win the header. Having said that, contact seems minimal and Barnes coming down on Ivanovic’s leg is light, brief, and purely coincidental. Ivanovic also looks to sell it a bit more than what it is. Verdict: Chelsea Free Kick Referee’s Decision: No Action Taken Minute 33 – Michael Kightly appears to handle the ball in the box. Analysis: A shot from Ivanovic is blocked by Kightly who is off the ground but has his arm extended at a 45 degree angle above his shoulders and well away from body. It’s an unnatural position; should have been an easy call in all honesty. Verdict: Penalty Kick, Kightly Booked Referee’s Decision: No Action Taken Minute 43 – Jason Shackell is defending Diego Costa, who goes down in the box. Analysis: Shackell is a little behind Costa when he gives him a shove but the shove is by all means minimal. It’s less in terms of the kind of contact you’d see players use when fighting for the ball to go out for a goal kick or corner. Costa goes down way to easily here but because of the shove it’s not a clear dive. Verdict: No Action Taken Referee’s Decision: No Action Taken Minute 69 – Matic Red Card The issue here is not Matic’s red card as that’s a 3 game offense any and every day of the week. The problem is Barnes’s challenge. Ashley Barnes, a millisecond before Matic arrives to the ball, does make contact with the ball but he’s gone over top of it, which means his follow through is half way up Matic’s shin and against the inertia of his ankle. The tackle looks brutal each and every way you put it and while I’d claim a little sympathy should go to Barnes for tapping a 50/50 ball prior to Matic’s arrival, the follow through is just awful. Verdict: Barnes is sent off for a violent foul. Matic is sent off for retaliation. Ivanovic is booked for grabbing the referee forcefully and at his red card. Referee’s Decision: Matic is sent off for retaliation. Ivanovic is booked for grabbing the referee forcefully and at his red card.
[31st-Jan-15] Sunderland 2-0 Burnley
Sunderland move 4 points clear of the relegation zone as Burnley remain just a point above the drop after the weekend’s results. For Sunderland, the win is also just their 4th of the season, with their 11 draws being the key to their current survival status. The Black Cats controlled the game early as Connor Wickham was able to find his head on the end of a beautifully placed cross to open the scoring just 20 minutes into the affair. Jermaine Defoe was then easily picked out after Burnley attempted to catch Jordi Gomez offsides, allowing the former Spurs and Toronto FC striker to score his first goal for the Black Cats since his signing last month. The win is massive for Sunderland as they now sit 4 points clear of the drop. Their 11 draws would normally be a sight to sound the alarm over, but there as worse teams than them and the team is clicking at the right time. Their 8 defeats is lowest out of any team in the bottom half and can hope another 5 wins in their remaining 15 games, a daunting but possible task, would be enough to secure another season in the top flight. Sunderland are a club without a lot of money and have been able to survive in the bottom half for quite a few seasons now. Poyet managed to spring a miracle last season beating Manchester United away and a Chelsea side unbeaten in 76 consecutive games at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho to ensure their survival, and while he will need a few more wins to do the same this season, he is certainly in a better position now with 15 games to go. Burnley on the other hand need to continue to be the scrappy and defiant side that has led them to some of their victories. They are the definition of a small town club, with only 70,000 in the town the Clarets are based in and virtually no money to spend to players. Sean Dyche has done a good job so far, and the club need to focus on beating the three below them, while picking up a few draws against the top half to help secure their status. They can do it despite not really buying in the January window but they will need a lot of help. Their next game against West Brom is a particularly vital one before having to make trips to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, but if the Clarets take all three against Tony Pulis’s side, they could stand a chance of keeping their 17th place position after that run of three games. Sunderland face a trip to Wales next to take on Swansea City.
[25th-Apr-15] Match Preview: Burnley - Leicester City
Burnley's Ashley Barnes is suspended after his red card in last weekend's game agaisnt Everton while Dean Marney and Kevin Long are out due to injury. Leicester City forward David Nugent is out due to an injury but Marcin Wasilewski is expected to return to the line-up. Background Leicester City come off of three straight wins which seemed to have spanned from out of nowhere have left them in 18th place and with a chance to escape relegation after 6 months at the foot of the table. Burnley come off a tough loss to Everton after snatching 5 points against the top 6 and win against Man City, but only 1 point in their last 3 to drift them onto the foot of the table. Head-To-Head Burnley have not beaten Leicester since their win in the opening month of the 2010-2011 season. The Claret's last three matches have garnered only 1 goal, the goal against Manchester City by George Boyd. That win is also the only win in the last 12 Premier League games for Burnley, including 8 losses. The 17 goals conceded and 11 from corners are both Premier League highs while striker Danny Ings has not scored in 8 straight games. Leicester are trying to win 4 straight games in the Football League since 1966 after their 3 games won in the Premier League this month followed 17 straight games without a win. Leicester's 140 days at the bottom is concerning as no team ever bottom that long has gone on to survive. 2 goals in the game for Leicester would mean they've scored more than 1 goals in 5 consecutive top flight games for the first time since 1986. Prediction: See more of the same but Burnley will give them a hell of a fight. Burnley 0-1 Leicester
[18th-Apr-15] Match Preview: Everton – Burnley
The Toffees will see the return of striker Romelu Lakaku after almost a month on the sideline with a hamstring injury. Lee Osman is a doubt for Everton while Bryan Ovideo and Aiden McGeady are expected to sit out. Burnley boss Sean Dyche is without the services of Kevin Long and Dean Murray, but another pair of players in Steven Reid and Ross Wallace are expected to be fit for the fixture. Background Burnley ended a run of 8 games against the top 8 clubs in the league with their 1-0 loss to Arsenal last weekend. The run saw them put in good performances but not good enough to take away a host of points, but with a win over Manchester City the Clarets managed 5 points out of the 8 games to keep their hopes of survival alive. If results go their way this weekend, Burnley could climb out of the relegation zone and into 16th or 17th with just 5 games to play. Head-To-Head Burnley have only won 1 game away from home this season at Stoke back in November and their 6 points in their last 11 games is worst in the league over that span of time. George Boyd’s goal in their 1-0 win over Man City was the last one Burnley scored and since then they have gone almost 5 hours without scoring. Burnley’s 0-0 draw in September at Selhurst Park is the Clarets’ only clean sheet on the road this season and the 29 first half goals that Burnley have conceded is the worst in the league. Burnley are also the only side yet to win a game against the bottom half of the table. Striker Danny Ings is out of form as well, having failed to score in Burnley’s last 7 Premier League matches. Burnley’s last league victory at Goodison Park came back in 1976, their only win in their last 12 attempts. Everton are looking to match their current season best 5-straight unbeaten with a win or draw this weekend. Their previous 4 games has seen 3 wins, with the 1-1 draw against Swansea the only blemish. Everton are also unbeaten in 2015 at home, a feat only matched by the current top 2 Chelsea and Arsenal. Everton also boast 4 clean sheets in their last 6 games at Goodison Park. Prediction: I think Burnley will come out firing but Everton are too good to be beaten at home. The goal drought for Burnley should end. Everton 1-1 Burnley
[11th-Apr-15] Match Preview: Burnley – Arsenal
Burnely’s Matt Taylor could return to action after rupturing his Achilles tendon back in August while Ross Wallace and Steven Reid are questionable. Arsenal will more than likely be without Laurent Koscielny while keeper Wojciech Szczesny could be fit enough only for a spot on the bench as Ospina remains in form between the sticks for the North London side. Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby, and Jack Wilshere are expected to be fit for the Gunners as well. Head-To-Head The contest will be the 100th meeting between the two sides, with Arsenal having won 45 of them to Burnley’s 33 but Arsenal haven’t won at Turf Moon since 1973, losing one and drawing the three with the Clarets. Burnley have only 1 win in their last 10 games, losing 6 of them but the Clarets can boast 4 points and 2 clean sheets in their last 2 home games. Burnley’s 26 points on the season is also split evenly from teams in the top and bottom half of the table. The Clarets have conceded the most headed goals at 17 and goals from corners at 11 this season, both of which are the worst in the Premier League. The Clarets have also used the same starting XI players in 16 matches this season, 9 more times than the next most, 20th place Leicester. Arsenal have won 7 straight Premier League games heading into the fixture, scoring 17 in the process which is a streak only matched and bested by their run as the Invincibles 11 seasons ago. The Gunners come into the match with the exact same record as they did last season after 31 games but are the only side in the Premier League that has not lost to a team in the bottom half of the table, although 10th place Stoke City could become one if the Potters slip into the bottom half with a loss to West Ham. Arsenal’s 20 goals from set pieces is a league high. Arsenal can boast two men in form right now as Mesut Ozil has scored 3 and assisted 4 in his last 8 games for the club, while striker Olivier Giroud has 10 goals in 10 games for the club across all competitions including a goal in each of his last 6 Premier League games. Prediction: Arsenal are just too hot at the moment. It will be a tight game but the Gunners, and Giroud, should come out on top. Burnley 0-1 Arsenal
[21st-Mar-15] Match Preview: Southampton – Burnley
Elijero Elia, who scored a brace on his debut against Newcastle just 2 months ago, is set to return from ankle injury but the Saints will be without Jay Rodriguez and Emmanuel Mayuka due to injury. Burnley’s Stephen Ward will play despite not being at training this week due to injury while Matt Taylor is set to sit out one final week as he returns to full fitness. Burnley won the reverse fixture at Turf Moor 1-0 and are looking to do the double over Southampton for the first time since the 1946-1947 season. Burnley however have only one 2 of their last 23 games on the road to Southampton. Burnely’s away record needs improving as only QPR have taken less points away from hom and the Clarets are also without a clean sheet in their last 12 trips away from Turn Moor. Burnley have also conceded 27 goals in those 12 games but Ashley Barnes will be the one to watch, as he’s cored in 3 of his last 4 games against the Saints. Southampton have also begun another slump, scoring only thrice in their last 7 games in all competitions. Southampton have a solid record at St Mary’s Stadium though, with 11 clean sheets and only 12 goals conceded in their last 19 home Premier League games. Saints keeper Fraser Forster also has a league leading 13 clean sheets this season and the Saints defense from set pieces is admirable, conceded only 2 goals from them all season which is lowest of any club in any country’s top 5 leagues on the continent. Prediction: Loads of missed chances and a scoreless draw in the end. Southampton 0-0 Burnley