Helped by a goal from defender Branislav Ivanovic but hurt by a Nemanja Matić red card, host Chelsea were shocked by Burnley in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The result is a great point for relegation-zone Burnley and surely a let-down for top-of-the-table Chelsea. The Blues had some good chances to put the match away, but were eventually hurt by the red card and a good finish on a Burnley set piece.
Chelsea got on the board in 14th minute. Attacking midfielder Eden Hazard started the play with a beautiful dribble, cutting into the box along the right side of the pitch. Burnley looked timid, afraid to foul in the penalty area, and Hazard placed a pass directly on right-back Ivanovic’s foot. The defender knocked it home to put Chelsea up, 1-0.
Chelsea were in control of the match from the early going, even before the goal. Burnley were able to muster a few chances, especially on counter attacks. The Blues, however, never really looked troubled early at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea, and manager José Mourinho especially, felt they should have been awarded a penalty kick on two different occasions in the first half-- to no avail. It appeared that Burnley committed a hand ball in the penalty area and shoved down forward Diego Costa in the box, but neither play resulted in a penalty kick.
The beginning of the second half saw the chances for Chelsea continue. Costa nearly put a few in the back of the net, just barely missing multiple crosses in the box. In the 70th minute the Blues lost Matić on a straight-red card. Matić got up and pushed Burnley forward Ashley Barnes after what appeared to be a wild Barnes tackle. Matić 's reaction earned him the card while Barnes stayed on the pitch. Mourinho's side were then forced to defend much more and attempt to hold the lead. Chelsea keeper Thiabaut Courtouis made a great save in the 80th minute pushing a ball wide for a corner kick.
The resulting 81st-minute corner, however, is where Burnley found an equalizer. Defender Ben Mee found himself open from close range and was able to slip a header past Courtouis. Mee rose above the crowd on the far post and did a fine job finishing the cross from right back Kieran Tripper.
Chelsea were boosted by the return of Costa, who had served a three-match ban for stomping on Liverpool’s Emre Can in the Capital One Cup. Costa is the leading scorer in the Premier League. The Spaniard has scored 17 goals in 19 league matches.
Chelsea remain atop the league table, while Sean Dyche's Burnley squad hover about the logjam around the relegation zone.
Chelsea move on to play Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley Stadium on March 1. Burnley play next when they host Swansea in a league match on Feb. 28.