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Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
The pre-emptive Premier League (and FA Cup) team of the weekend
Welcome to our new Friday morning feature in which we preview the forthcoming Premier League weekend through the lens of 11 players. The idea is to pick a team of individuals likely to play a pivotal role in the outcome of their match, their club's fortunes or feature in the big stories come Monday morning. All Premier League matches will be covered in some way, and the aim is to predict the weekend's best players before a ball has been kicked. For reasons of simplicity and week-to-week consistency, the players will be arranged in a 4-4-2 'formation'. Apologies to those of you who were fond of Premier League Bingo, which has gone the same way as the dodo, Woolworth's and Harry Kane's popularity. GK: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Despite their fine work and Carlos Carvalhal's garrulous proverbs, Swansea are not out of the woods just yet. Southampton and Stoke will hold out hope of reeling them in, particularly with a trip to newly crowned champions Manchester City looming this Saturday. With City charging towards 100 points, Swansea might need their goalkeeper to save them at the Etihad and Lukas Fabianksi has quietly been one of the division's best stoppers. There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers across the Premier League, and one or two of the 'Big Six' might be keeping an eye of Fabianksi - at least as a highly-competent No.2. Goalkeepers do tend to catch the eye in teams who keep them busy, however. (Manchester City vs Swansea, Sunday 4.30pm) RB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) Credit: GETTY IMAGES The on-loan Chelsea defender is more than capable of playing out of position at right-back, but Stoke are diluting one of their best assets by doing so. Burnley's visit to the bet365 Stadium is Stoke and Paul Lambert's last chance to mount a great escape, and they cannot afford to keep leaking cheap goals. Switching to a back five and utilising Zouma as one of three centre-halves would surely get more out of him and offer Stoke more attacking threat on that flank. (Stoke vs Burnley, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) Credit: GETTY IMAGES Pilloried for losing his man at the near-post in successive league games, Arsenal's £35 million centre back could probably do with a breather. However, with Laurent Koscielny kept on ice for their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Mustafi is likely to get a chance to make amends on Sunday. We are running out of space on the German's charge sheet: he is rash, one-paced, struggles to defend crosses and prone to losing his head when the pressure is turned up. However, Mustafi has proven himself capable of some extremely impressive performances against top-level opponents. He stuck to Diego Costa like a cheap suit in a 3-0 win over Chelsea a few weeks into his Arsenal career, did the same to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge this season and smothered Harry Kane (and scored) in a home north London derby. The jury is still out, but the foreman is getting impatient. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) CB: Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Credit: REUTERS Sanchez's potential is the reason Spurs appear confident enough to cash-in on Toby Alderweireld this summer. The £42million they paid Ajax will look a sound long-term investment in a few years - Sanchez in confident in position, happy to defend high up the pitch and comfortable in one-vs-one situations. However, the 21-year-old does tend to make at least one mistake per game and that will give Manchester United hope going into their FA Cup semi-final. Spurs will put United under intense pressure in central midfield, but that does mean they leave acres of green grass in behind their centre backs. That proved their undoing against City last weekend, when a clipped long ball from Vincent Kompany set Gabriel Jesus clean through for the opening goal. Sanchez is sometimes guilty of not checking over his shoulder, and can get the offside trap wrong. Jose Mourinho will have little interest in controlling territory at Wembley, he will wait for that one lapse in concentration to free one of his pacy forwards. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES LB: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) A week after a quite brilliant assist against Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand lines up against his former club in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Southampton left-back will receive Premier League offers if they do succumb to relegation, and he could even have an outside chance of a place in England's World Cup starting XI. Danny Rose has been an inconsistent presence this season, and Gareth Southgate's preference for a back three also opens up the possibility of Betrand starting as the left centre-back. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS RM: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling to regain fitness, Alex Iwobi can stake a claim for a starting spot against Atletico Madrid if he excels on Sunday. Iwobi was one of Arsenal's better performers in their defeat at Newcastle but remains a polarising figure, mainly because there is confusion about what type of player he is. Those who view him as a potential forward tend to focus on his pitiful end product and awkward finishing, while those who see him as a future midfielder praise his ball retention and spacial awareness. Iwobi should model his game on Tottenham's Mousa Dembele - a player derided for providing few goals or assists, who reinvented himself in a more withdrawn role where he could control games. (Arsenal vs West Ham, Sunday 1.30pm) Credit: PA CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) Shelvey's long-range passing was the scourge of Arsenal's defence last Sunday, and he lines up against an Everton midfield on Monday who also afford opponents time to think in possession. More importantly, the former Liverpool player now seems able to keep a lid on his emotions for 90 minutes and keep himself of the pitch. There is growing support to 'get him on the plane' to Russia, but Gareth Southgate might consider him too much of a loose cannon. Has been instrumental in Newcastle's surge to safety. (Everton vs Newcastle, Monday 8pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CM: Giogio Wijanldum (Liverpool) James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were a formidable midfield trio against Man City, but Wijnaldum might have a chance to change Jurgen Klopp's thinking before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma. Adam Lallana remains injured, so Liverpool are light on midfield options but Wijnaldum does feel something of a forgotten man. He was a key part of their performances in big matches last season, with his late runs into the box leading to some crucial goals. (West Brom vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm) Credit: ACTION IMAGES LM: Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) Jose Mourinho is weighing up his attacking options, and a big name forward looks like missing out at Wembley. It would be surprising if it was Lingard however. In a team who too often look like a disparate collection of individuals, Lingard is the one player United have who can strike up partnerships easily. Like tonic, he is the perfect mixer. His willingness to run 'off the ball' is valuable in these big games and, Lingard likes to play with one or two touches. A week after Mourinho labelled his team 'masters of complication', Lingard's simplicity should assure his of a start. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm) Credit: GETTY IMAGES CF: Shane Long (Southampton) Mark Hughes' striker of choice since he took over at Southampton, Long remains an invigorating, irritating and frustrating player to watch whether he plays for or against your team. Southampton will look to sit deep and hit Long in the channels against Chelsea at Wembley, a tactic to which he is ideally suited. Until the ball finally gets to him, that is, when a sight of goal goes straight to his head. Like a greyhound chasing after a plastic hare, Long enjoys the thrill of the chase without ever threatening a kill. (Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, 3pm) Credit: REUTERS CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham) Kane can deliver the perfect answer to those who argue he is in a slump and fire Spurs to their first FA Cup final since 1991. Still feeling his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury, Kane nevertheless scored at Brighton on Wednesday despite a below-par showing. Although he did not score in Spurs' 2-0 league win over United, Kane bullied their centre-backs and pulled Mourinho's side from pillar to post with his impressive hold-up play and immaculate passing - it was arguably his best performance of the season. Kane will look to target any United defender who isn't Eric Bailly. (Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, FA Cup semi-final, 5.15pm)
Liverpool vs AS Roma: Uefa Champions League semi-final prediction, preview, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live streaming online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Liverpool vs AS Roma: Uefa Champions League semi-final prediction, preview, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live streaming online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Liverpool vs AS Roma: Uefa Champions League semi-final prediction, preview, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live streaming online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Liverpool vs AS Roma: Uefa Champions League semi-final prediction, preview, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live streaming online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Liverpool vs AS Roma: Uefa Champions League semi-final prediction, preview, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live streaming online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Liverpool vs AS Roma: Uefa Champions League semi-final prediction, preview, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live streaming online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri warned his side are heading to Turin on Sunday determined to end Juventus' long reign as the kings of Italian football.
Serie A title hangs in balance as leaders Juventus host second-place Napoli in critical clash; Roma travel to SPAL
Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri warned his side are heading to Turin on Sunday determined to end Juventus' long reign as the kings of Italian football.
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Chelsea keep slim top-four hopes alive after Victor Moses winner sees off Burnley at Turf Moor
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Chelsea keep slim top-four hopes alive after Victor Moses winner sees off Burnley at Turf Moor
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Chelsea keep slim top-four hopes alive after Victor Moses winner sees off Burnley at Turf Moor
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Chelsea keep slim top-four hopes alive after Victor Moses winner sees off Burnley at Turf Moor
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Chelsea keep slim top-four hopes alive after Victor Moses winner sees off Burnley at Turf Moor
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Chelsea keep slim top-four hopes alive after Victor Moses winner sees off Burnley at Turf Moor
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Chelsea keep slim top-four hopes alive after Victor Moses winner sees off Burnley at Turf Moor
Antonio Conte may see the 55th minute of this victory over Burnley as a fair summing up of his second and potentially farewell season at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata, the man signed to replace Diego Costa, was sent clear with the kind of clinical counter-attack that defined last year’s title win. Had he scored Chelsea would have gone two-up and eased to a more comfortable win. Instead, the Spanish striker used the time and space to pick a spot wide of Nick Pope’s left post. Within ten minutes Burnley had equalised and although Victor Moses slammed in what proved to be the winner, Conte acted. Morata was replaced and a hissy-fit followed, the striker kicking the turf, and furiously discarding shin pads on the bench as Cesc Fabregas offered a consoling pat on the back like a mother taming an infant. It is that sort of campaign. There is not so much wrong with this side, even when changed as it was here, but the ruthlessness upfront that made them champions has gone. Even Chelsea’s hard-fought, deserved victories cannot escape the whiff of discontent. Morata should have made the game safe for Chelsea Credit: REUTERS Whether the outburst ended Morata’s chances of starting the FA Cup semi-final this weekend remains to be seen. Conte was more positive than unfavourable in his assessment, suggesting the striker’s fury was self-critical rather than pointed at the manager. “I think he was angry with himself for this chance he missed,” said Conte. “Alvaro must be angry because when you have a chance to score, especially for a striker, it can change your confidence. “I am happy I tried with two strikers. They played very well. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game. They put great pressure on the ball. There was a good combination and a desire to press. “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday and maybe the future.” The Chelsea strike duo had indeed demonstrated encouraging signs of working in tandem, or at least the enthusiastic Giroud hinted it could work. The experiment was not without merit. There was an old school look about both sides’ use of four target men, Chris Woods headed flicks to Ashley Barnes and Barnes’ headed flicks to Wood the most likely source of home success. Kevin Long's own goal gave the visitors an early lead Credit: PA Chelsea were robust rather than fluent - particularly in defence - but given the changes to the line-up it was a creditable win to retain Conte’s aspirations of a purposeful conclusion to the season, and most likely his reign. They are not so far behind Spurs in the chase for the top four, and Liverpool must still win their next two to guarantee the Merseysiders’ trip to Stamford Bridge has little meaning. “The only way is to get three points in every game from now until the end. It won’t be easy because it is five points to Tottenham,” said Conte. “We have missed great chances to stay closer but tonight I saw a great team spirit and we must be pleased.” Chelsea were a tad patched up, particularly as Marcos Alonso’s suspension for stamping Southampton’s Shane Long was confirmed before kick-off. More changes followed, Conte’s team selection given a retro feel – a reminder of those times when managers rested players in the league for crucial FA Cup ties rather than vice-versa. Emerson made his first start. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Andreas Christensen began on the bench. If that was no shock, Ross Barkley’s failure to get a game in the light of so many other changes was more surprising. The midfielder must hope the next coach sees what Conte has evidently missed. The Chelsea extras showed their desire was not as compromised as the manager’s selections, Morata sent clear by Giroud’s clever flick and forcing Nick Pope into the first meaningful action on ten minutes – an easy save from a tight angle. The visitors took the lead on 19 minutes, Gary Cahill’s diagonal picking out Moses whose tame cross somehow bewitched Pope and Kevin Long. The keeper’s fingertip onto the chest of the retreating centre-half did the damage. Gareth Southgate’s prayer for a consistent, error free finale to the season from his England goalkeepers is yet to be answered. Burnley responded when their defenders found their range and accuracy with their drivers, Matt Lowton particularly effective when testing Chelsea’s centre-halves. More sophistication was needed to ruffle Chelsea’s back three, however. Gary Cahill and company’s application, courage and concentration was under most scrutiny here, particularly when the Chelsea captain took an accidental boot in the face from Ashley Barnes. After Morata’s sloppy miss, Burnley struck a fortuitous equaliser on 64 minutes. The visitors felt Moses was fouled in the build-up, but the ball was worked to Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose hopeful strike deflected off Barnes heel, wrong-footing Thibaut Courtois. Ashley Barnes' deflection pegged Chelsea back in the second half Credit: PA Moses’ response five minute later owed much to surprising and rare sloppiness in Burnley’s defence, Chelsea’s wingback inexplicably having the time and space to beat Pope. “There is still a gap between ourselves and the top six. We were playing against the top end of the market,” said Dyche, who may yet achieve Europa League qualification. Dyche’s side has not missed too many chances to bloody the noses of the aristocracy this year. In truth, they rarely landed a punch here. Despite rumours of his own imminent demise, Conte is still fighting. “Now is not the time judge the season,” said Conte. “We must show we want to play the final of the FA Cup, the second in a row. In the end we will see what happens.” 9:38PM Full time: Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 An ultimately well-earned three points for Chelsea, the significance of which might yet be not inconsiderable. They'll need Tottenham to slip up, but they're five points behind with four to play. Fifth place, at least, should be theirs. Alvaro Morata's glaring miss could have undone that good work, and Ashley Barnes' unwitting heel almost did, but Victor Moses gave Chelsea a morale-boosting win to take into Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Their opponents, Southampton, have drawn 0-0 against Leicester tonight. 9:34PM 90 min +2 Burnley look to launch it. They send 9 men forward for a Pope punt upfield, but Barnes is penalised for jumping into Kante, which is met by sighs of Chelsea relief and Burnley despair. 9:31PM 90 min Kante leads a Chelsea counter, but his pass drives Zappacosta too wide to capitalise further. Hazard has been a delight since coming on, toying with the nightclub bouncers of Tarkowski and Long. Four more minutes. 9:29PM 87 min Zappacosta heads over after Hazard orchestrates another patient Chelsea attack. Sean Dyche rolls the dice by bringing on Nahki Wells for Aaron Lennon. 9:25PM 84 min Change for Chelsea: off goes Emerson, who's been quite decent in deputising for Alonso, and on comes Davide Zappacosta. 9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Burnley vs Chelsea: live Premier League score updates
9:23PM 81 min Hazard feeds Giroud on his left foot, but Tarkowski stays tight to block for a corner. Hazard spots Pedro lurking on the edge of the box, but the sidefooted shot is blocked. 9:21PM 78 min Bakayoko is gently chopped down by Kevin Long while in full flow. Chelsea use the free kick conservatively, Moses gets down the right, but his cut-back is dealt with. 9:18PM 76 min Hazard tries to walk his way through a wall of claret-and-blue. Meanwhile, Morata continues to seethe on the Chelsea bench, probably directed more at himself than anything else. 9:13PM 72 min Burnley swap: Chris Wood off, Sam Vokes on. Like. For. Like. 9:12PM 71 min Chelsea make their change: off goes Morata - 50% relief, 50% shame - and on comes Eden Hazard. Morata takes some flak off the home fans and responds with a harmless flail of the arm. 9:10PM GOAL! Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 (Moses 69 min) Emerson hits a shot straight at Pope! That, at least, reminded us that Emerson is still playing. Good game, this. Shortly after that, Emerson's cross evades everyone except Victor Moses, who laces it in at the near post! Burnley 1 - 2 Chelsea (Victor Moses, 69 min) 9:08PM 67 min That will hasten the introduction of Chelsea's main men, you would think. 9:06PM GOAL! Burnley 1 (Barnes 64 min) Chelsea 1 Hello! And that's the good fortune the home side needed! Gudmundsson lets fly from 25 yards, Ashley Barnes simply stands there, the ball flicks off his heel and Courtois hasn't got an earthly. Start ruing that Morata chance, Chelsea... 9:04PM 64 min Burnley are pushing up, leaving space to exploit. If Conte wants to risk one or both of Hazard or Willian - both are warming up - they'll surely make hay here. 9:03PM 63 min Chelsea launch another counter, making full use of Pedro's quick feet and brain, but Moses slaps his shot from an angle straight at Pope. 9:02PM 61 min Giroud goes down shrieking in agony after a clash with Tarkowski, but the referee sees nothing untoward from the already-booked Burnley defender. Giroud gets some hearty Lancashire boos for his trouble. 9:00PM 58 min Pedro's turn to race into Burnley territory next, but Gudmundsson tracks him all the way. Chelsea now have a missed chance to potentially rue, no doubt about it - it's Burnley's job to make it happen. 8:57PM 55 min CHANCE! Alvaro Morata, my goodness. Kante breaks up a Burnley attack, slides a perfect pass into the Spaniard's path. Morata carries the ball 40 yards, Pope stays at home...and the ball is sidefooted wide. Miss: Burnley 0 - 1 Chelsea (Álvaro Morata, 55 min) 8:54PM 53 min Cesc Fabregas looks ready to go for a little stretch down the Turf Moor touchline. Perhaps that killer ball through the middle is what Chelsea have lacked so far, but the need isn't urgent. At the other end, Cahill slips! That allows Barnes to pounce, but Cahill slides in to rescue the situation. 8:51PM 50 min Chelsea patiently wait for Giroud or Morata to present themselves up front. The former makes space for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. 8:49PM 47 min Both sides give the ball away cheaply in the early second-half exchanges, which does little to turn down the volume from their respective managers. 8:46PM We go again... Burnley get the second half going at Turf Moor - no changes to report for either side at the break... 8:43PM Top of the shots: Burnley vs Chelsea shots on goal 8:31PM Half time: Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 Good work from a 3-5-2 Chelsea there but can they kill this off and avoid some unnecessary sweating in the second half? We'll find out soon, but Burnley will come out fighting. 8:29PM 44 min An ironic cheer from the home faithful as they finally witness a decision going their way, but that's a minor victory in a half that's been mostly Chelsea's. 8:25PM 40 min Space opens up in front of N'Golo Kante, and he obliges by zipping forward and curling a shot over the Burnley crossbar. Chelsea ending the half stronger. 8:22PM 37 min Old news, but: Bakayoko is just not good. Another of Chelsea's logical-looking signings who needs a good pre-season under his belt, I think. 8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Burnley vs Chelsea: live Premier League score updates
8:18PM 33 min Chance! Kante plays the Fabregas role, feeds Giroud, who in turn slides in Morata, but Pope is out quickly to make sure the no.9 can't flick it over him. Corner, which again is no bother for Burnley. 8:15PM 31 min Half-chance for Burnley! Matt Lowton pokes a hopeful cross into the Chelsea box, but Ashley Barnes can't stretch enough to do the same and trouble Courtois. Burnley having a nice mini-spell here, though... 8:13PM 28 min Giroud very much the link-man of the Chelsea front two, which makes sense given his velvet lay-offs and Morata's relative pace. Speaking of which, he's tugged down by James Tarkowski on the edge of the box - yellow card. Pedro stands over the free kick over to the left...but he clips it wide of the near post in an attempt to catch Pope out. 8:07PM 23 min Chelsea looking happy enough so far - their new system is starting to find useful pockets of space, while Burnley are yet to muster a shot at the right end. 8:05PM GOAL! Burnley 0 Chelsea 1 (Long og, 20 min) Well! Gary Cahill pings a crossfield ball for Moses to run on to. He tries to clip a cross to Giroud, but Kevin Long gets there first...to bundle the ball past his own keeper! 8:01PM 16 min Chelsea work the ball in from the left, using Giroud as a capable wall to feed Pedro, but he awkwardly sidefoots a volley into Row Z. 7:59PM 14 min Chelsea are making good use of Thibaut Courtois' catapult of a left foot which, although not Ederson-like, has some long-range capability. Barnes and Wood, meanwhile, continue to hare after the ball in behind the Chelsea back three. 7:56PM 11 min Morata's through! He latches on to a Giroud flick, but he takes an inexplicable extra touch that turns a tight angle into an impossible one - Nick Pope gets a toe to the ball to help it on its way for a corner, which Burnley handle with ease. 7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
Burnley vs Chelsea: live Premier League score updates
7:54PM 8 min Azpilicueta slides in Giroud, who is losing the footrace with Kevin Long, and tumbles over looking for a penalty. Referee Bobby Madley is truly, deeply unmoved. 7:52PM 7 min First glimpse of Chelsea's Plan A: Giroud clips the ball out to Emerson on the left. His cross is a tasty-looking one, but a Burnley head glances it away. 7:50PM 5 min Burnley free kick, out wide on the right. Johann Berg Gudmundsson swings it in, there's some muted appeals for a Chelsea handball, but it's hacked clear by the visitors. 7:49PM 4 min Chelsea, without their A-list ball-carriers, are already happy to ping the ball long to the heads of Morata and Giroud. Burnley, meanwhile, are looking to exploit the channels to find Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. 7:47PM 2 min Burnley get the early touches of the ball on their carpet of a playing surface. It's a good 90 seconds before a Chelsea boot finally gets to a pass first. 7:45PM Kick off! We're off and running at Turf Moor, where I am obliged by accepted wisdom to say it's a perfect evening for football...despite the glorious sunshine being in at least 10,000 people's eyes. Chelsea are in their change colours of very-slightly-off-white. 7:38PM Dyche's pre-match rallying cry: "We've kept it simple for a long time, the next game is the most important one, and that's kept us focused on what's right in front of us. We've been more flexible this season; having two strikers gives you a better goal threat but you've got to have that defensive balance as well, and we've found that in the last few games" 7:35PM Conte speaks: "It's always a good opportunity when you get the chance to play - to show you deserve the chance to play more often. That's what the players need to show me. This is the first time we've had the opportunity to play with two strikers, and tonight I hope to see a good game, and a good link between Morata and Giroud" 7:26PM Counting on Conte? Antonio Conte takes charge of his 100th Chelsea game (all comps), tonight. He’s the 3rd Chelsea manager to reach that milestone under the 15-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, after Jose Mourinho (321 over 2 spells) & Carlo Ancelotti (109) #PLpic.twitter.com/HqQ14HAAd5— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2018 It's a bit of a shame that Chelsea managers have such a limited lifespan. Some will argue their short-termist model has worked well enough in terms of trophies, but you sense their luck might be running out there. As they lifted the Premier League trophy almost a year ago, the plan wasn't to be England's fifth-best team by a distance. 7:23PM Victor Moses speaks: "We know what a hard game this is going to be. They gave us a tough game here last season and it's always difficult coming to Turf Moor. We have to believe." Moses and, on the other flank, Palmieri will be key for Chelsea, seeing as they have Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to aim at in the middle. In the absence of Willian and Hazard from the start, only Pedro will be scheming in behind. 7:11PM Conte: Dyche's job "is more simple" than managing Chelsea Antonio Conte, it seems, won't be in the Premier League next season, so the pressure's off as far as his press-conference sentiments are concerned. Ahead of this one, he claimed that Sean Dyche's job is easier than his. In fairness, Conte was happy to explain himself: “I think he is doing an important job,” said Conte, whose side lie fifth and face a daunting task if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. “He is doing a great job this season. But if you start the ­season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple. It is more simple also if you have a small budget because you can count on a team that in the past reached qualification to play again in the league. “It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins. The others must see the other team win.” Conte's future remains unclear Credit: CHELSEA FC Expanding on why he believes Dyche has it easier, the Italian added: “It is more simple because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. You can play only for this target. “Then, if you have a good base and in the previous season played very well, you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid this. “It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and if the other doesn’t win you are the first to speak about a failed season. If you don’t win the FA Cup, the league, the Carabao Cup, the season is a failure and, for this ­reason, it is more difficult to play for this target.” 7:01PM Barkley's back Ross Barkley is among the Chelsea substitutes Credit: AFP Having overcome his latest hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is again among the Chelsea subs tonight. It looks a proper pre-season is his target, after which Chelsea might have a bargain on their hands. As it stands, though, he's something of a curious, peripheral figure. 6:48PM Team news! TEAM NEWS: Here's your Clarets team to face @ChelseaFC at Turf Moor tonight. pic.twitter.com/mHxcka3j5g— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) April 19, 2018 Chelsea team: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard. #BURCHEpic.twitter.com/IIYdnl805P— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 19, 2018 Two big strikers for Chelsea! It's like the 1990s! Meanwhile, there's a return for the much-maligned Tiemoue Bakayoko and a start - in place of the suspended Marcos Alonso - for Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma for around £18m in January. Eden Hazard, wrapped in cotton wool, is on the bench. Burnley are unchanged, in the sense that they'll be rock solid. 6:42PM The Race for Fifth? Few might have predicted that here, in the middle of April, Chelsea would be heading to Turf Moor with their league season effectively shelved - albeit with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to - and with Burnley breathing down their necks to be the among the best of the rest, outside of the Champions League places. That says as much about their latest limp title defence as it does of Sean Dyche's tight ship, which has steered itself to within touching distance of Europe despite scoring fewer goals than 14 other Premier League teams. Burnley surprised Chelsea on the opening day Credit: REUTERS The first scribbles of the writing on Chelsea's wall where made all the way back on a sun-drenched opening day at Stamford Bridge, where Burnley were 3-0 up at half-time, and two men up at full-time. Another win for them tonight - a sixth in a row, to boot - wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a shock. That, again, says it all about both managers' seasons.
British football fans are having to pay exorbitant prices to watch their teams in Europe because of a “terrible” ticketing policy that targets supporters of wealthy clubs, the head of the European supporters’ federation has warned. Ronan Evain, the chief executive of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), has said that more and more clubs are using a loophole in Uefa rules in order to charge high amounts to travelling fans in the Champions League and Europa League. FSE is now lobbying Uefa to tighten its regulations and prevent clubs from hiking prices for away fans after supporters from England, Germany and France were among those targeted this season. Liverpool fans must pay £73 for a ticket to next month’s Champions League semi-final with Roma, having already paid £66 — three times more than home fans — to attend the round-of-16 match against Porto earlier this season. The Spirit of Shankly Liverpool fan group group said the price for tickets to the semi-final was “appalling”. According to FSE figures, Roma charged Shakhtar Donetsk fans €50 (£43) for tickets for their round-of-16 tie earlier this year, while Porto charged RB Leipzig fans €50 for their group stage match. Liverpool fans face more steep ticket prices in the Champions League semi-final away leg in Rome Credit: OFFSIDE “There is a general perception that if a club is rich, then its fans are rich,” Evain told the Daily Telegraph. “There is a belief that if a club has a huge support, then the share of fans who are able to afford expensive tickets is bigger. “As British football is the richest in Europe, the fans of British clubs are regularly targeted. But we also have examples of fans from French and German clubs who have suffered from the same ticketing policy.” Under Uefa regulations, the price of tickets for supporting teams must not exceed “the price paid for tickets of a comparable category that are sold to supporters of the home team”. But clubs such as Roma and Porto have offered discounted tickets to home fans who are season ticket-holders or members, meaning that their supporters are paying considerably less for tickets when there is no general sale, as is often the case with bigger ties such as knockout games. “Our argument is that if the clubs know they are going to sell everything in pre-sale, then they are in breach of Uefa regulations,” Evain said. “If the whole of the home section has access to the pre-sale prices, then the fans in the away sector are paying higher prices than the fans in the home sector. When 95 per cent of the stadium has a discount, this is not a discount any more. There have been frequent protests around Europe against rising ticket prices Credit: ACTION IMAGES “If they are not in breach then the regulation is too loose and is allowing too many loopholes. Clubs are getting smarter in the way they approach the Uefa regulations and these kind of terrible ideas are travelling pretty fast in European football.” In February, Anderlecht were ordered by Uefa to partially refund Bayern Munich fans after charging €100 (£87) for tickets. Anderlecht supporters had only been able to buy tickets for the match as part of a package deal for multiple games. “They sold in a bundle, but the result was the same in that there was no general sale,” Evain said. “So everybody that was going to the game in Anderlecht had a discount except for the away fans. “The fact that Anderlecht was fined was clearly a step forward in Uefa accepting there is a problem with the discount policy.” Earlier this year, Sevilla charged Manchester United fans €100 for tickets to their round-of-16 match. United responded by subsidising their supporters but also by increasing the price for Sevilla fans who were attending the second leg at Old Trafford. A Uefa spokesman said: “Since the pricing strategy regarding ticketing is under the responsibility of the home club, our focus is on encouraging dialogue between the clubs to resolve any disputes or avoid any disagreements. Breaches of the regulations can result in disciplinary proceedings being opened.”
Exclusive: Fans groups lobby Uefa over loophole allowing British supporters to be charged more for tickets abroad
British football fans are having to pay exorbitant prices to watch their teams in Europe because of a “terrible” ticketing policy that targets supporters of wealthy clubs, the head of the European supporters’ federation has warned. Ronan Evain, the chief executive of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), has said that more and more clubs are using a loophole in Uefa rules in order to charge high amounts to travelling fans in the Champions League and Europa League. FSE is now lobbying Uefa to tighten its regulations and prevent clubs from hiking prices for away fans after supporters from England, Germany and France were among those targeted this season. Liverpool fans must pay £73 for a ticket to next month’s Champions League semi-final with Roma, having already paid £66 — three times more than home fans — to attend the round-of-16 match against Porto earlier this season. The Spirit of Shankly Liverpool fan group group said the price for tickets to the semi-final was “appalling”. According to FSE figures, Roma charged Shakhtar Donetsk fans €50 (£43) for tickets for their round-of-16 tie earlier this year, while Porto charged RB Leipzig fans €50 for their group stage match. Liverpool fans face more steep ticket prices in the Champions League semi-final away leg in Rome Credit: OFFSIDE “There is a general perception that if a club is rich, then its fans are rich,” Evain told the Daily Telegraph. “There is a belief that if a club has a huge support, then the share of fans who are able to afford expensive tickets is bigger. “As British football is the richest in Europe, the fans of British clubs are regularly targeted. But we also have examples of fans from French and German clubs who have suffered from the same ticketing policy.” Under Uefa regulations, the price of tickets for supporting teams must not exceed “the price paid for tickets of a comparable category that are sold to supporters of the home team”. But clubs such as Roma and Porto have offered discounted tickets to home fans who are season ticket-holders or members, meaning that their supporters are paying considerably less for tickets when there is no general sale, as is often the case with bigger ties such as knockout games. “Our argument is that if the clubs know they are going to sell everything in pre-sale, then they are in breach of Uefa regulations,” Evain said. “If the whole of the home section has access to the pre-sale prices, then the fans in the away sector are paying higher prices than the fans in the home sector. When 95 per cent of the stadium has a discount, this is not a discount any more. There have been frequent protests around Europe against rising ticket prices Credit: ACTION IMAGES “If they are not in breach then the regulation is too loose and is allowing too many loopholes. Clubs are getting smarter in the way they approach the Uefa regulations and these kind of terrible ideas are travelling pretty fast in European football.” In February, Anderlecht were ordered by Uefa to partially refund Bayern Munich fans after charging €100 (£87) for tickets. Anderlecht supporters had only been able to buy tickets for the match as part of a package deal for multiple games. “They sold in a bundle, but the result was the same in that there was no general sale,” Evain said. “So everybody that was going to the game in Anderlecht had a discount except for the away fans. “The fact that Anderlecht was fined was clearly a step forward in Uefa accepting there is a problem with the discount policy.” Earlier this year, Sevilla charged Manchester United fans €100 for tickets to their round-of-16 match. United responded by subsidising their supporters but also by increasing the price for Sevilla fans who were attending the second leg at Old Trafford. A Uefa spokesman said: “Since the pricing strategy regarding ticketing is under the responsibility of the home club, our focus is on encouraging dialogue between the clubs to resolve any disputes or avoid any disagreements. Breaches of the regulations can result in disciplinary proceedings being opened.”
British football fans are having to pay exorbitant prices to watch their teams in Europe because of a “terrible” ticketing policy that targets supporters of wealthy clubs, the head of the European supporters’ federation has warned. Ronan Evain, the chief executive of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), has said that more and more clubs are using a loophole in Uefa rules in order to charge high amounts to travelling fans in the Champions League and Europa League. FSE is now lobbying Uefa to tighten its regulations and prevent clubs from hiking prices for away fans after supporters from England, Germany and France were among those targeted this season. Liverpool fans must pay £73 for a ticket to next month’s Champions League semi-final with Roma, having already paid £66 — three times more than home fans — to attend the round-of-16 match against Porto earlier this season. The Spirit of Shankly Liverpool fan group group said the price for tickets to the semi-final was “appalling”. According to FSE figures, Roma charged Shakhtar Donetsk fans €50 (£43) for tickets for their round-of-16 tie earlier this year, while Porto charged RB Leipzig fans €50 for their group stage match. Liverpool fans face more steep ticket prices in the Champions League semi-final away leg in Rome Credit: OFFSIDE “There is a general perception that if a club is rich, then its fans are rich,” Evain told the Daily Telegraph. “There is a belief that if a club has a huge support, then the share of fans who are able to afford expensive tickets is bigger. “As British football is the richest in Europe, the fans of British clubs are regularly targeted. But we also have examples of fans from French and German clubs who have suffered from the same ticketing policy.” Under Uefa regulations, the price of tickets for supporting teams must not exceed “the price paid for tickets of a comparable category that are sold to supporters of the home team”. But clubs such as Roma and Porto have offered discounted tickets to home fans who are season ticket-holders or members, meaning that their supporters are paying considerably less for tickets when there is no general sale, as is often the case with bigger ties such as knockout games. “Our argument is that if the clubs know they are going to sell everything in pre-sale, then they are in breach of Uefa regulations,” Evain said. “If the whole of the home section has access to the pre-sale prices, then the fans in the away sector are paying higher prices than the fans in the home sector. When 95 per cent of the stadium has a discount, this is not a discount any more. There have been frequent protests around Europe against rising ticket prices Credit: ACTION IMAGES “If they are not in breach then the regulation is too loose and is allowing too many loopholes. Clubs are getting smarter in the way they approach the Uefa regulations and these kind of terrible ideas are travelling pretty fast in European football.” In February, Anderlecht were ordered by Uefa to partially refund Bayern Munich fans after charging €100 (£87) for tickets. Anderlecht supporters had only been able to buy tickets for the match as part of a package deal for multiple games. “They sold in a bundle, but the result was the same in that there was no general sale,” Evain said. “So everybody that was going to the game in Anderlecht had a discount except for the away fans. “The fact that Anderlecht was fined was clearly a step forward in Uefa accepting there is a problem with the discount policy.” Earlier this year, Sevilla charged Manchester United fans €100 for tickets to their round-of-16 match. United responded by subsidising their supporters but also by increasing the price for Sevilla fans who were attending the second leg at Old Trafford. A Uefa spokesman said: “Since the pricing strategy regarding ticketing is under the responsibility of the home club, our focus is on encouraging dialogue between the clubs to resolve any disputes or avoid any disagreements. Breaches of the regulations can result in disciplinary proceedings being opened.”
Exclusive: Fans groups lobby Uefa over loophole allowing British supporters to be charged more for tickets abroad
British football fans are having to pay exorbitant prices to watch their teams in Europe because of a “terrible” ticketing policy that targets supporters of wealthy clubs, the head of the European supporters’ federation has warned. Ronan Evain, the chief executive of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), has said that more and more clubs are using a loophole in Uefa rules in order to charge high amounts to travelling fans in the Champions League and Europa League. FSE is now lobbying Uefa to tighten its regulations and prevent clubs from hiking prices for away fans after supporters from England, Germany and France were among those targeted this season. Liverpool fans must pay £73 for a ticket to next month’s Champions League semi-final with Roma, having already paid £66 — three times more than home fans — to attend the round-of-16 match against Porto earlier this season. The Spirit of Shankly Liverpool fan group group said the price for tickets to the semi-final was “appalling”. According to FSE figures, Roma charged Shakhtar Donetsk fans €50 (£43) for tickets for their round-of-16 tie earlier this year, while Porto charged RB Leipzig fans €50 for their group stage match. Liverpool fans face more steep ticket prices in the Champions League semi-final away leg in Rome Credit: OFFSIDE “There is a general perception that if a club is rich, then its fans are rich,” Evain told the Daily Telegraph. “There is a belief that if a club has a huge support, then the share of fans who are able to afford expensive tickets is bigger. “As British football is the richest in Europe, the fans of British clubs are regularly targeted. But we also have examples of fans from French and German clubs who have suffered from the same ticketing policy.” Under Uefa regulations, the price of tickets for supporting teams must not exceed “the price paid for tickets of a comparable category that are sold to supporters of the home team”. But clubs such as Roma and Porto have offered discounted tickets to home fans who are season ticket-holders or members, meaning that their supporters are paying considerably less for tickets when there is no general sale, as is often the case with bigger ties such as knockout games. “Our argument is that if the clubs know they are going to sell everything in pre-sale, then they are in breach of Uefa regulations,” Evain said. “If the whole of the home section has access to the pre-sale prices, then the fans in the away sector are paying higher prices than the fans in the home sector. When 95 per cent of the stadium has a discount, this is not a discount any more. There have been frequent protests around Europe against rising ticket prices Credit: ACTION IMAGES “If they are not in breach then the regulation is too loose and is allowing too many loopholes. Clubs are getting smarter in the way they approach the Uefa regulations and these kind of terrible ideas are travelling pretty fast in European football.” In February, Anderlecht were ordered by Uefa to partially refund Bayern Munich fans after charging €100 (£87) for tickets. Anderlecht supporters had only been able to buy tickets for the match as part of a package deal for multiple games. “They sold in a bundle, but the result was the same in that there was no general sale,” Evain said. “So everybody that was going to the game in Anderlecht had a discount except for the away fans. “The fact that Anderlecht was fined was clearly a step forward in Uefa accepting there is a problem with the discount policy.” Earlier this year, Sevilla charged Manchester United fans €100 for tickets to their round-of-16 match. United responded by subsidising their supporters but also by increasing the price for Sevilla fans who were attending the second leg at Old Trafford. A Uefa spokesman said: “Since the pricing strategy regarding ticketing is under the responsibility of the home club, our focus is on encouraging dialogue between the clubs to resolve any disputes or avoid any disagreements. Breaches of the regulations can result in disciplinary proceedings being opened.”
British football fans are having to pay exorbitant prices to watch their teams in Europe because of a “terrible” ticketing policy that targets supporters of wealthy clubs, the head of the European supporters’ federation has warned. Ronan Evain, the chief executive of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), has said that more and more clubs are using a loophole in Uefa rules in order to charge high amounts to travelling fans in the Champions League and Europa League. FSE is now lobbying Uefa to tighten its regulations and prevent clubs from hiking prices for away fans after supporters from England, Germany and France were among those targeted this season. Liverpool fans must pay £73 for a ticket to next month’s Champions League semi-final with Roma, having already paid £66 — three times more than home fans — to attend the round-of-16 match against Porto earlier this season. The Spirit of Shankly Liverpool fan group group said the price for tickets to the semi-final was “appalling”. According to FSE figures, Roma charged Shakhtar Donetsk fans €50 (£43) for tickets for their round-of-16 tie earlier this year, while Porto charged RB Leipzig fans €50 for their group stage match. Liverpool fans face more steep ticket prices in the Champions League semi-final away leg in Rome Credit: OFFSIDE “There is a general perception that if a club is rich, then its fans are rich,” Evain told the Daily Telegraph. “There is a belief that if a club has a huge support, then the share of fans who are able to afford expensive tickets is bigger. “As British football is the richest in Europe, the fans of British clubs are regularly targeted. But we also have examples of fans from French and German clubs who have suffered from the same ticketing policy.” Under Uefa regulations, the price of tickets for supporting teams must not exceed “the price paid for tickets of a comparable category that are sold to supporters of the home team”. But clubs such as Roma and Porto have offered discounted tickets to home fans who are season ticket-holders or members, meaning that their supporters are paying considerably less for tickets when there is no general sale, as is often the case with bigger ties such as knockout games. “Our argument is that if the clubs know they are going to sell everything in pre-sale, then they are in breach of Uefa regulations,” Evain said. “If the whole of the home section has access to the pre-sale prices, then the fans in the away sector are paying higher prices than the fans in the home sector. When 95 per cent of the stadium has a discount, this is not a discount any more. There have been frequent protests around Europe against rising ticket prices Credit: ACTION IMAGES “If they are not in breach then the regulation is too loose and is allowing too many loopholes. Clubs are getting smarter in the way they approach the Uefa regulations and these kind of terrible ideas are travelling pretty fast in European football.” In February, Anderlecht were ordered by Uefa to partially refund Bayern Munich fans after charging €100 (£87) for tickets. Anderlecht supporters had only been able to buy tickets for the match as part of a package deal for multiple games. “They sold in a bundle, but the result was the same in that there was no general sale,” Evain said. “So everybody that was going to the game in Anderlecht had a discount except for the away fans. “The fact that Anderlecht was fined was clearly a step forward in Uefa accepting there is a problem with the discount policy.” Earlier this year, Sevilla charged Manchester United fans €100 for tickets to their round-of-16 match. United responded by subsidising their supporters but also by increasing the price for Sevilla fans who were attending the second leg at Old Trafford. A Uefa spokesman said: “Since the pricing strategy regarding ticketing is under the responsibility of the home club, our focus is on encouraging dialogue between the clubs to resolve any disputes or avoid any disagreements. Breaches of the regulations can result in disciplinary proceedings being opened.”
Exclusive: Fans groups lobby Uefa over loophole allowing British supporters to be charged more for tickets abroad
British football fans are having to pay exorbitant prices to watch their teams in Europe because of a “terrible” ticketing policy that targets supporters of wealthy clubs, the head of the European supporters’ federation has warned. Ronan Evain, the chief executive of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), has said that more and more clubs are using a loophole in Uefa rules in order to charge high amounts to travelling fans in the Champions League and Europa League. FSE is now lobbying Uefa to tighten its regulations and prevent clubs from hiking prices for away fans after supporters from England, Germany and France were among those targeted this season. Liverpool fans must pay £73 for a ticket to next month’s Champions League semi-final with Roma, having already paid £66 — three times more than home fans — to attend the round-of-16 match against Porto earlier this season. The Spirit of Shankly Liverpool fan group group said the price for tickets to the semi-final was “appalling”. According to FSE figures, Roma charged Shakhtar Donetsk fans €50 (£43) for tickets for their round-of-16 tie earlier this year, while Porto charged RB Leipzig fans €50 for their group stage match. Liverpool fans face more steep ticket prices in the Champions League semi-final away leg in Rome Credit: OFFSIDE “There is a general perception that if a club is rich, then its fans are rich,” Evain told the Daily Telegraph. “There is a belief that if a club has a huge support, then the share of fans who are able to afford expensive tickets is bigger. “As British football is the richest in Europe, the fans of British clubs are regularly targeted. But we also have examples of fans from French and German clubs who have suffered from the same ticketing policy.” Under Uefa regulations, the price of tickets for supporting teams must not exceed “the price paid for tickets of a comparable category that are sold to supporters of the home team”. But clubs such as Roma and Porto have offered discounted tickets to home fans who are season ticket-holders or members, meaning that their supporters are paying considerably less for tickets when there is no general sale, as is often the case with bigger ties such as knockout games. “Our argument is that if the clubs know they are going to sell everything in pre-sale, then they are in breach of Uefa regulations,” Evain said. “If the whole of the home section has access to the pre-sale prices, then the fans in the away sector are paying higher prices than the fans in the home sector. When 95 per cent of the stadium has a discount, this is not a discount any more. There have been frequent protests around Europe against rising ticket prices Credit: ACTION IMAGES “If they are not in breach then the regulation is too loose and is allowing too many loopholes. Clubs are getting smarter in the way they approach the Uefa regulations and these kind of terrible ideas are travelling pretty fast in European football.” In February, Anderlecht were ordered by Uefa to partially refund Bayern Munich fans after charging €100 (£87) for tickets. Anderlecht supporters had only been able to buy tickets for the match as part of a package deal for multiple games. “They sold in a bundle, but the result was the same in that there was no general sale,” Evain said. “So everybody that was going to the game in Anderlecht had a discount except for the away fans. “The fact that Anderlecht was fined was clearly a step forward in Uefa accepting there is a problem with the discount policy.” Earlier this year, Sevilla charged Manchester United fans €100 for tickets to their round-of-16 match. United responded by subsidising their supporters but also by increasing the price for Sevilla fans who were attending the second leg at Old Trafford. A Uefa spokesman said: “Since the pricing strategy regarding ticketing is under the responsibility of the home club, our focus is on encouraging dialogue between the clubs to resolve any disputes or avoid any disagreements. Breaches of the regulations can result in disciplinary proceedings being opened.”
Jordan Henderson insists Liverpool won't be taking Roma lightly when they face the Italian side in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool are not underestimating Roma - Henderson
Jordan Henderson insists Liverpool won't be taking Roma lightly when they face the Italian side in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Jordan Henderson insists Liverpool won't be taking Roma lightly when they face the Italian side in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool are not underestimating Roma - Henderson
Jordan Henderson insists Liverpool won't be taking Roma lightly when they face the Italian side in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Jordan Henderson insists Liverpool won't be taking Roma lightly when they face the Italian side in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool are not underestimating Roma - Henderson
Jordan Henderson insists Liverpool won't be taking Roma lightly when they face the Italian side in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
The Reds got past Manchester City in the quarter-final stage, setting up a surprise meeting with the Serie A side
Henderson insists Liverpool won't underestimate Roma in Champions League semi-final
The Reds got past Manchester City in the quarter-final stage, setting up a surprise meeting with the Serie A side
<p>Henderson insists Liverpool won&#39;t underestimate Roma in Champions League semi-final</p>
Henderson insists Liverpool won't underestimate Roma in Champions League semi-final

Henderson insists Liverpool won't underestimate Roma in Champions League semi-final

<p>Henderson insists Liverpool won&#39;t underestimate Roma in Champions League semi-final</p>
Henderson insists Liverpool won't underestimate Roma in Champions League semi-final

Henderson insists Liverpool won't underestimate Roma in Champions League semi-final

Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won&#39;t under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. &quot;I&#39;ve watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. &quot;We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I&#39;m expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. &quot;I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
The Reds got past Manchester City in the quarter-final stage, setting up a surprise meeting with the Serie A side
Henderson insists Liverpool won't underestimate Roma in Champions League semi-final
The Reds got past Manchester City in the quarter-final stage, setting up a surprise meeting with the Serie A side
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won&#39;t under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. &quot;I&#39;ve watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. &quot;We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I&#39;m expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. &quot;I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won&#39;t under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. &quot;I&#39;ve watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. &quot;We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I&#39;m expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. &quot;I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma vs Genoa - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - April 18, 2018 Roma&#39;s Cengiz Under in action with Genoa&#39;s Francesco Migliore REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Serie A - AS Roma vs Genoa
Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma vs Genoa - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - April 18, 2018 Roma's Cengiz Under in action with Genoa's Francesco Migliore REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Juventus has a four-point lead, but faces a Coppa Italia Final to go with matches vs. Napoli, Roma, and Inter Milan.
Juve slips to draw, Napoli wins ahead of scudetto-defining Sunday
Juventus has a four-point lead, but faces a Coppa Italia Final to go with matches vs. Napoli, Roma, and Inter Milan.

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