After the weekend’s results, Monday’s match takes on even more importance. A victory over Burnley would send Chelsea into third place and put pressure on Arsenal, Tottenham, and Manchester United to deliver results in their midweek fixtures.
But Chelsea’s mind-set must be markedly different from the one on display Thursday. While the Blues were brilliant for the first 45 minutes, the drop-off in the second half was staggering, and Chelsea were at real risk of blowing the tie had the opposition been a bit more ruthless in creating chances.
Monday night will bring a different set of challenges in Burnley. All season, Chelsea have tended to struggle against teams that set out to sit back and defend, and it’s likely that Burnley will do just that.
While Burnley have had a tough season and are on the fringes of the relegation battle, just a single point at Stamford Bridge on Monday night will see Burnley hit the 40-point mark this season and almost assure themselves of being in the Premier League next season.
But Chelsea will almost be at full strength, with only Antonio Rudiger absent due to the knee injury he picked up last week against Liverpool.
The question will be what lineup Maurizio Sarri chooses. Chelsea have a tough run of fixtures as of late, but they will get the benefit of having nearly a week off after Monday night’s match before facing Manchester United next Sunday.
Sarri doesn’t necessarily have to rotate the team against Burnley as he has had to do over the last few weeks, so it will be interesting to see if the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek return to the starting 11 after Hudson-Odoi was used as a late substitute and Loftus-Cheek was left out of the squad.
It is a match that Chelsea really need to win if they have any expectations of finishing in the top four and earning automatic qualification to next year’s Champions League. Defeat on Monday might mean that Chelsea have to switch their focus towards the Europa League as their way of making it into Europe’s top club competition.