Conte's Blues fail to breach Fortress Turf Moor

12 February 2017 08:07

Stoke on a Tuesday night in February has become the accepted metaphor for the type of Spartan ordeal that teams with designs on becoming Champions must endure to prove their worthiness.

For Chelsea however, their “Stoke on a Tuesday night” became “Burnley on a Sunday lunchtime”.

Television footage of the Chelsea entourage disembarking from their coach showed grim-faced players shivering against the squall of sleet and biting easterly wind which Turf Moor served up to greet their illustrious visitors.

Players used to the cossetted and rarefied atmosphere of London suddenly found themselves in industrial East Lancashire at its most inhospitable, a world away from their comfort zone.

In fairness, Chelsea survived the ordeal and immediately rose to the challenge and early in the game their intricate passing patterns and runners emerging seemingly out of nowhere, sliced Burnley open twice.

Tom Heaton saved the first effort but the impish Pedro made no mistake with the second chance and it seemed like Sean Dyche's Clarets might be in for a long afternoon.

Burnley however, are nothing if not resolute and quick to learn and as the first half progressed, they came to terms with the threat Chelsea posed and gradually began to impose themselves on the game.  

After twenty four minutes Burnley’s record signing Robbie Brady on his home debut, gave the home fans the perfect indication as to why he was hired, by superbly bending a free kick into the top corner of the Chelsea goal. 

The match developed into something of a mini-epic with both teams battling it out toe-to-toe. Not one for the purist perhaps but for those like me, who prefer their football to be more visceral, this was a game to savour.

 Chelsea deploy both full backs as old-fashioned touchline hugging wingers, were pinging the ball effortlessly across the width of Turf Moor. The generally poor in quality crosses were inevitably repelled by the foreheads of Michael Keane and Ben Mee, reducing Pedro and Diego Costa to increasingly peripheral figures.

Whilst the possession statistics suggested Chelsea dominance, the reality was that Burnley gave every bit as good as they got and arguably fashioned the more clear-cut chances, Lowton and Gray both coming close to scoring.

As the game came to its conclusion the endurance and fitness of Dyche's battlers looked like another  late winner might just top off a great day for a raucous home crowd. It would be hard to say either team deserved to lose a game that must have captivated the global millions watching this game live from Turf Moor. (TEC)

This article was written by uber Burnley fan and Clarets Mad contributor Dave Thornley.

Source: DSG


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