3 Key Battles That Could Decide Burnley’s Clash With Chelsea On Thursday Night

Burnley host Chelsea on Thursday night in a late season clash between two clubs seemingly destined for Europa League football next season. Sean Dyche has masterminded a remarkable season that could see the Clarets on their way to Europe for the first time since the glory days of the 1960s and 70s.

The visiting Blues, however, face a near-insurmountable lead if they want to catch Tottenham in fourth and retain their Champions League status, most likely having to settle for the secondary competition next term.

Here are three key battles that could decide the game at Turf Moor:

3. Eden Hazard vs Matt Lowton

The Belgian, as always, holds the key for the Blues, with the visitors invariably playing well when their number ten is in the mood.

Up against Matt Lowton on the left wing, it will not be an easy ride for Hazard, with Lowton having a good season and entrenching himself as a top-quality Premier League defender.

2. Chris Wood vs Gary Cahill

After his club record move from Leeds United in August, Chris Wood has hit the ground running, netting nine league goals to propel Burnley to seventh place, having scored in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Leicester.

The New Zealander will have his work cut out getting past the Chelsea captain, who was sent off early on the opening day against the Clarets and will be hoping for better this time out. If Wood has the beating of the England international, it could pave a path to victory for the hosts.

1. Olivier Giroud vs James Tarkowski

Olivier Giroud finally arrived as a Chelsea player with two goals off the bench in their brilliant comeback 3-2 win at Southampton on Saturday, marking his maiden Premier League strikes for the club.

He will have to get past the formidable James Tarkowski, who has been the lynchpin of Burnley’s season, featuring in many pundits’ Team of the Year XI and earning an England call-up in March. The aerial battle between the two could decide the fate of Thursday’s game.

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