The Premier League is a pretty complicated division, in the sense that you truly never know what to expect from one week to the next. There’s a certain unpredictability to it that keeps fans and media members alike coming back for more, and whilst that can be pretty entertaining for us, it can be incredibly stress-inducing for those with a real investment in one of the 20 teams that make up England’s top flight.
Of course, as the years have gone on we’ve developed a sort of unspoken ‘code’ regarding how a lot of viewers expect the game to be played at such a high level. There are certain unofficial rules and regulations that fans like to see be abided by, but more often than not, there are abnormalities.
Case in point: Chelsea were probably considered to be the runaway favourites in their scheduled game against Burnley last night and you won’t find many folks who would say differently. They’re the team in with a shot of a place in the top four and, on paper, they also have a much more superior squad.
As we all know by now the Clarets were able to come away from the Monday Night Football encounter with what proved to be a vital point in their race against survival.
Jeff Hendrick gave the Lancashire-based side the lead early on, only for N’Golo Kante to register a quick equaliser. Gonzalo Higuain handed the Blues a huge lifeline with a nice goal to make it 2-1, only for Ashley Barnes to score his 11th of the campaign to bring the visitors level once more.
With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kante both going off injured you’d think the story of the night would be Chelsea’s collapse, when in truth, more pundits are choosing to talk about Burnley.
The reason for this is due to their perceived time-wasting, which has been heavily ridiculed throughout the football world. The expectation, seemingly, was that they’d take confidence from scoring two goals against a team like Chelsea, and would therefore try and push on for a third goal.
Two sides to every story
Because you know, everyone else knows what is best for the football club.
There are absolutely signs that point towards time wasting from Burnley in the latter stages of the game, but it really does feel like these are nothing more than excuses which are being used to mask over the failures of Chelsea from a defensive standpoint.
Sean Dyche’s men are locked into a dogfight in the battle to avoid relegation, and as we all know, there’s a big financial gap between playing in the top flight and competing in the Championship. We aren’t saying that we condone some of the actions of the first team, but there needs to be a realisation for what they were trying to accomplish. They weren’t the first relegation-threatened team to do this and they certainly won’t be the last.
Even with all of this, it seems like Chelsea are still heavily favoured to break back into the Champions League next season, whether that be courtesy of winning the Europa League or via slipping into one of the top four slots.