Blues miss opportunity to go third after entertaining draw
Chelsea missed the opportunity to move third in the Premier League after drawing 2-2 with Burnley on Monday Night Football.
It was a pulsating start at Stamford Bridge as all four goals came in the opening 24 minutes. Jeff Hendrick’s spectacular volley put Burnley ahead (8) before N’Golo Kante (12) and Gonzalo Higuain (14) put Chelsea in front with a quickfire double.
However, Burnley came into this one high on confidence with three straight wins under their belt and levelled it up through Ashley Barnes (24), meaning Chelsea have now failed to win any of their last six fixtures following a Europa League game.
Chelsea’s frustrations boiled over as the clock ticked down with Maurizio Sarri being sent to the stands after protesting at Burnley’s perceived time-wasting while Antonio Rudiger – not in the matchday squad – was seen arguing with a Burnley member of staff near the tunnel at full-time.
The result leaves Chelsea in fourth place in the Premier League having played a game more than their top-four rivals, while Burnley are all-but safe, nine points clear of Cardiff in 18th with three games left.
With Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United all losing over the weekend, the door was open for Chelsea to make a statement.
The hosts started brightly with Higuain having an effort cleared off the line by Ben Mee but fell behind on seven minutes to a cracking strike from Hendrick. There did not look much danger on when the ball dropped out of sky following a Burnley corner but the Republic of Ireland international connected flush with a volley which flew into the net.
The Blues were level four minutes later when Hazard tricked and turned Matthew Lowton inside out down the left before rolling a cross to Kante, who spanked a left-footed strike home.
With Burnley struggling to get out of their half, Chelsea struck again. Cesar Azpilicueta flicked a ball into Higuain down the right edge of the box and the 31-year-old fired a powerful effort home to notch his first goal since March 3.
That should have been the catalyst to take control of the game but back came Burnley again, to score the fourth goal in a pulsating opening 24 minutes.
A free-kick was met Ben Mee who nodded it across the six-yard box. Chris Wood then helped it into the path of Barnes, who finished from close range. From having just 18 per cent of the ball, Burnley had somehow scored twice.
Callum Hudson-Odoi limped off midway through the half with a calf problem before Kante joined him in the treatment room after being replaced by Mateo Kovacic at the break.
Hazard continued to threaten after the break but the Chelsea chances dried up as Burnley began to heavily frustrate Sarri’s side, who were restricted to long-range efforts.
Olivier Giroud replaced an unhappy Higuain with 15 minutes but despite dominating territory, Chelsea failed to produce a match-winning moment and Sarri’s frustration boiled over as he was sent to the stands in stoppage time.