Premier League: Chelsea left frustrated by Burnley’s ‘anti-football’ tactics
Blues fail to take advantage in the race for Champions League qualification
Premier LeagueChelsea 2 Burnley 2
Chelsea blew a big chance to consolidate their claim for a top-four finish when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Burnley on Monday night.
The scoreline all but ensures Burnley’s place in the Premier League next season but for Chelsea the failure to take maximum points means that once more they’ve put themselves under pressure.
Although the draw moves them above Arsenal into fourth, they’ve played a game more than their London rivals and have only a point to show for it.
If the Gunners and Tottenham win their remaining four matches they’ll knock the Blues out of the Champions League qualification spots.
The frustration was there for all to see from the home side in the closing stages of the match. As manager Maurizio Sarri was ordered away from the dugout, Chelsea defender David Luiz squared up to Ashley Barnes. The Brazilian had some harsh words for Burnley in his post-match interview, accusing the Clarets of time-wasting.
“It’s anti-football,” he said. “Losing time all the time, especially when you have the ball. Their players went to the floor and stopped the game.”
Luiz’s sentiments were shared by the Blues’ assistant coach, Gianfranco Zola, who said: “We expected it to be a tough game. We didn’t expect so much time-wasting. We expected the referee to give more extra time. That’s why we're very unhappy. Five minutes injury time wasn’t enough to compensate.”
Zola also intimated that the club would today lodge a formal complaint with the Football Association against Burnley’s backroom staff because of offensive comments allegedly made to Sarri on the touchline.
“I think there will be a follow up on that, Maurizio felt very unhappy,” said Zola. “We understand it’s a football game. You say words because of the adrenaline, but he wasn’t particularly happy.”
Sarri will be even more unhappy with his team’s inability to beat Burnley. The visitors took the lead on eight minutes through Jeff Hendrick, and although Chelsea were soon ahead with goals from N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain, a frenetic opening quarter was capped by Barnes’s equaliser on 24 minutes.
Although there were no more goals, there was still plenty of drama. Kante was forced off with a rib injury and Callum Hudson-Odoi ruptured his Achilles tendon, an injury that will almost certainly result in the 18-year-old sitting out England’s Uefa Nations League semi-final against Holland on 6 June.
With three games remaining, Burnley are now almost certainly immune from relegation. They are nine points clear of 18th-placed Cardiff and boast a superior goal difference of 17 over the Welsh side.
“I don’t think we can relax and enjoy it – but after the season we’ve had to get to 40 points is a big marker,” said Burnley boss Sean Dyche. “We know, unless strange things occur, we’ll be working in the Premier League again next year.”
Premier League results
- Manchester City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
- AFC Bournemouth 0 Fulham 1
- Huddersfield Town 1 Watford 2
- West Ham United 2 Leicester City 2
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
- Newcastle United 3 Southampton 1
- Everton 4 Manchester United 0
- Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 3
- Cardiff City 0 Liverpool 2
- Chelsea 2 Burnley 2
Premier League fixtures and TV guide
Tuesday 23 April (7.45pm UK time)
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (live on Sky Sports)
- Watford vs. Southampton
Wednesday 24 April
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Arsenal (7.45pm)
- Manchester United vs. Manchester City (8pm, live on Sky Sports)
Friday 26 April
- Liverpool vs. Huddersfield Town (8pm, live on Sky Sports)
Saturday 27 April (3pm unless stated)
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Crystal Palace vs. Everton
- Fulham vs. Cardiff City
- Southampton vs. AFC Bournemouth
- Watford vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Newcastle United (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 28 April
- Leicester City vs. Arsenal (12pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Burnley vs. Manchester City (2.05pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Manchester United vs. Chelsea (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)