Jorginho struggles as Chelsea lose Hudson-Odoi for the season and ground in top-four race
LONDON -- Not only did Chelsea miss a huge opportunity to capitalise on the mistakes of their top-four rivals by being held to a 2-2 draw by a stubborn Burnley side at Stamford Bridge despite another impressive display by Eden Hazard, Callum Hudson-Odoi was lost for the season to an Achilles injury. N'Golo Kante also exited with an injury, but he's expected to be fit to face Manchester United in midweek.
There were times this season when Chelsea might have lost a game like this. As things were, they were a little unlucky not to win it, stifled both by Burnley's deep defending and commitment to time-wasting. Hazard also enjoyed a good game and Gonzalo Higuain showed signs of improvement.
Chelsea really, really needed to win this game to take charge of the top-four race. Not doing so will only raise further doubts about Maurizio Sarri's ability to meet his objectives in the Premier League and Europa League. Injuries to Hudson-Odoi and Kante were also hugely problematic.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Sarri's starting XI played some exhilarating attacking football early on, but paid for their lack of attention to detail on set pieces. They also lost their attacking rhythm after half-time -- a recurring theme this season -- and there was very little attempt to change the dynamic from the sidelines.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 6 -- Could do absolutely nothing about Jeff Hendrick's unstoppable volley and was left badly exposed for Ashley Barnes' equaliser. Commanded his area and distributed the ball well, even if Burnley weren't exactly pressing Chelsea high at any stage.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 -- A constant threat down the right as Chelsea pinned Burnley back early, and he capped one inside run with an ingenious flick to slip Higuain into scoring position. His overlapping surges were also threatening, though Dwight McNeil gave him problems at the other end.
DF Andreas Christensen, 5 -- Was one of several players who didn't get out to Hendrick quickly enough to stop his stunning volley, and also lost track of Chris Wood when Burnley gave Chelsea a big fright at the start of the second half, only to be let off by the striker's poor control.
DF David Luiz, 5 -- Could not carve Burnley open with any of his trademark raking long passes, and his positional defending for the set piece that Barnes poked in does not look good on repeat viewing. Also had trouble tracking runners on the rare occasions that the visitors attacked after the break.
DF Emerson Palmieri, 6 -- Hazard's tendency to stay wide for much of the night limited the value of his overlapping runs down Chelsea's left, and when he was given the opportunity to cross, his deliveries were poor. Burnley caused him few problems defensively but he drifted through much of the game.
MF N'Golo Kante, 8 -- Ripped through Burnley's defence at every opportunity and timed his runs into the box to perfection. Lashed in Hazard's low cross on his left foot to bring Chelsea level -- though he remains charmingly unaware of how to celebrate. Substituted with a back problem at half-time.
MF Jorginho, 5 -- Played an important role in getting Chelsea moving forward in the first half, finding progressive passes between Burnley's lines. Still doesn't convince defensively though, and was responsible for leaving Barnes at the back post to equalise for Burnley.
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 7 -- The physicality he brought to Chelsea's midfield was particularly valuable against these opponents, and one driving run enabled Hazard to isolate Matthew Lowton and create Kante's equaliser. Curled one early shot just over, but didn't carry his usual goal threat.
FW Callum Hudson-Odoi, 6 -- Had some nice moments finding Hazard in transition early on, but wasn't able to make the most of his opportunities when the Belgian switched the ball to him before what appeared to be an Achilles injury ended his night on 41 minutes. Will we see him in a Chelsea shirt again?
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 7 -- Perhaps his best all-round performance since arriving in January. Pressed from the front, consistently moved into dangerous positions and linked up neatly with those around him. Took his first goal since March 3 brilliantly, and was unlucky not to add to his tally.
FW Eden Hazard, 8 -- It could be a while before Lowton stops having flashbacks of being sat down by Chelsea's sparkling superstar in the lead-up to Kante's equaliser. Not quite as decisive as he was against West Ham earlier this month, but still a constant threat and privilege to watch.
FW Pedro, 6 -- Given more than a half due to Hudson-Odoi's injury, he could not find a way to test Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal. His best attacking contribution was a low cross from the right that Higuain fired into the goalkeeper's hands.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 -- Offered very little in the way of attacking thrust when he replaced Kante at the interval, never looking to run into the box and shooting poorly on the couple of occasions he decided to let fly from long range.
FW Olivier Giroud, N/R -- Did give Burnley something else to think about in place of Higuain for the final 13 minutes, but was smothered whenever he tried to connect with crosses.