4 Key Battles That Could Decide Burnley’s Clash With Chelsea on Sunday

After a routine victory on Thursday night in the Europa League at home to BATE, Chelsea will face a much sterner test as they travel to Burnley on Sunday. 

Maurizio Sarri’s men will need to make sure they maintain the performance levels they have produced so far this season if they are to preserve their unbeaten record. 

Meanwhile, the Clarets will be looking to improve upon the dismal showing in their last Premier League fixture, as they lost 5-0 away to Manchester City. 

Here are four key battles that could decide where the game is won and lost on Sunday lunchtime. 

1. Johann Berg Gudmundsson vs Marcos Alonso

Burnley’s Icelandic midfielder has been in excellent form so far this campaign, notching four assists. He is the Clarets’ most dangerous attacking player and Burnley picking up anything from the game will depend largely on how Berg Gudmundsson performs.  

Equally dangerous in attacking positions, Blues left-back Marcos Alonso will need to be alert defensively. 

If the Spaniard gets caught too far forward, his side could be vulnerable to the counter-attack because of how likely it is that they will dominate possession. 

2. Ross Barkley vs James Tarkowski

With talisman Eden Hazard potentially missing out with a back injury, the task of unlocking a stubborn Burnley defence will be given to playmaker Ross Barkley. 

The youngster is likely to start on Sunday given Hazard’s injury and his own superb run of form. He has scored in each of his past two Premier League appearances. 

Fellow England international James Tarkowski will have the responsibility of containing his compatriot’s creative flair, which is a daunting challenge given Barkley’s stellar showings in recent weeks. 

3. Joe Hart vs Alvaro Morata

Following torrid loan spells at Torino and West Ham United over the last two seasons, Hart appears to be enjoying life in Lancashire after a rejuvenation under Sean Dyche. 

The ex-England shot-stopper has made 40 saves in the Premier League so far this season – more than any other goalkeeper in the competition. 

The man he will be trying to thwart has not had the same success. Alvaro Morata has only scored twice in nine Premier League games in 2018/19.

The Spaniard will need to start scoring goals or he could find himself being replaced come the January transfer window. 

4. N’Golo Kanté vs Steven Defour

This is the sort of game that epitomises the fiercely competitive nature of the Premier League and the engine room is where these tight tussles are usually won and lost. 

As a result, the match-up between World Cup winner N’Golo Kanté and Belgian Steven Defour could go a long way to deciding the result of Sunday’s contest. 

Kanté continues to look imperious at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield. He leads his team in tackles with 18 and continues to dominate from the centre of the park. 

The experienced Defour will need to ensure that he provides adequate protection for his back four given Kanté’s ability to bring Chelsea forward after winning a challenge. 

4 key battles that could decide the result of Sunday’s Premier League clash between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on Sunday lunchtime

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