Chelsea look to continue their defensive stability after their the third consecutive clean sheet following a comprehensive 4-0 victory against Krasnodar on Wednesday. However, Burnley will provide a stubborn test for the blues who will no doubt be suffering from fatigue after a trip to Russia followed by an away trip to Turf Moor. Here I give the starting XI I believe that Lampard should adopt.
In goal, Edouard Mendy produced another stellar performance and came up with crucial saves which kept the hosts scoreless in Russia. The commanding keeper has looked extremely assured and with 3 clean sheets in a row, Chelsea are hoping he continues his fine form. It’s a no brainer, Edouard Mendy will start in goal.
In regards to the defence, Lampard made the decision to rest Thiago Silva for the long trip to Russia and to everyone’s surprise, included Antonio Rudiger in the starting XI along with Zouma. In truth, the CB’s were never in any danger and the performance was sufficient. However, without Thiago Silva there was an evident lack of intensity and creativity whilst passing out from the back. We have seen Silva spray balls accurately to start attacks for Chelsea but this was missing in Russia and at times, Chelsea were passive. Silva should return into the XI against Burnley to partner Zouma, who has turned out to be an ever-present in the Chelsea XI following his omission for most of last season. The full backs were also solid in Russia and Ben Chilwell will no doubt keep his place after his successful start to life at Stamford Bridge. I would love to see Reece James recalled into the XI after not appearing in Russia. His added physical presence might be crucial to combat the robust and physical presence that Burnley have.
The midfield that Lampard chooses will largely depend on the formation wishes to deploy. The 4-2-3-1 was underwhelming for Chelsea against Krasnodar and it wasn’t until the switch to 4-3-3 with a lone DM and two 8’s that Chelsea started to look dominant. Having said this, I’m unsure if the lone DM is the way forward for Chelsea as Frank has tried it previously and we have not looked fluid. In my opinion, Mateo Kovacic has to start. Chelsea’s 19/20 POTY wasn’t his usual self against Krasnodar but in a 4-3-3 he looks at home. N’golo Kante looked solid as the lone DM when brought on and he could form a strong partnership with Kovacic as long as they remain close to each other whilst playing in a 4-3-3. The last spot would have to go to Kai Havertz. We are yet to see Lampard deploy Havertz as an 8 for a long period of time and this might be an opportunity to see how he does. The German’s vision and ability to play intricate passes could be crucial in order to break down a defensively compact Burnley side.
There is talk amongst Chelsea fans and especially myself surrounding the situation with Olivier Giroud. The elite target man has seemingly been frozen out and no longer in Frank Lampard’s plans. The game in Russia would have been a clue to see if he was of use and wasn’t utilised in the 5 substitutes either. His profile would be perfect for a game against Burnley but his lack of involvement should be a clue that he won’t start. Werner will start up front in my opinion and I would go with him too. His penalty was dispatched convincingly in Russia and no doubt will help his confidence. Tammy Abraham made a positive impact off the bench and his assist for Pulisic showed class. However, I can’t see him being given a start. On the wing, Pulisic will no doubt have to return into the side. The American was his direct self on Wednesday and his goal was just reward for the impact he made. Callum Hudson-Odoi misses out in my XI due to Pulisic’s return though he scored against Krasnodar and everyone at Chelsea is no doubt very happy for him. The right wing spot will fall to Hakim Ziyech. Chelsea’s clear man of the match for me in midweek. The Moroccan was bright and on another level to Chelsea’s attackers, showing why Chelsea bought him. Intricate passes, tempting crosses and an arrogance that Chelsea fans love. This performance deserved a goal and he duly produced it.
My preferred XI
Mendy, James, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell, Kovacic, Kante, Havertz, Ziyech, Werner, Pulisic