Burnley vs Chelsea - Burnley boss Dyche sets his sights on Arsenal

Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2018 by PA

Burnley vs Chelsea - Burnley boss Dyche sets his sights on Arsenal

Burnley have Arsenal in their sights as they attempt to take another remarkable step up the Premier League ladder.

The Clarets’ 2-1 victory over Leicester last weekend left them red-hot favourites to secure the final Europa League spot – providing Southampton do not win the FA Cup – but they are only two points behind the Gunners in sixth.

A sixth win in succession against stuttering Chelsea on Thursday would see them overtake Arsene Wenger’s side, albeit having played a game more, and with a match at the Emirates still to come.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche said: “To be seventh is fantastic. If we can attempt to chase down Arsenal – I don’t think that would have been words I’d have been using at the beginning of the season – we will do.”

Ahead of a trip to relegation-threatened Stoke on Sunday, Dyche welcomes Antonio Conte’s Chelsea – who are only eight points ahead of Burnley – to Turf Moor.

The tone for the Clarets’ stunning campaign was set on the opening day when they defeated the reigning champions 3-2 at Stamford Bridge having led 3-0 at half-time.

Recalling his mid-match team talk, Dyche said: “It was definitely one I hadn’t planned on. We had a little meeting with the staff and they said, ‘What do you think’. And I said: ‘I don’t know. What do you want me to tell them? They’re 3-0 up at Chelsea’. Then we just waffled on and kept our fingers crossed and we managed to get that one over the line.

“The big thing looking back on that game, it’s not just a great result against a top side, everyone waits for their first win and it makes a story if you don’t get it in a number of games, well that’s gone immediately. And an away win. It doesn’t guarantee anything but it changes the immediate feel of the season. We’ve not really looked back.”

Uncertainty remains about Conte’s future at Chelsea, while he could rest players for Thursday’s match ahead of their FA Cup semi-final against Southampton on Sunday.

Chelsea go into the match with their top-four hopes hanging by a thread.

The Blues trail fourth-placed Tottenham by eight points, even if Spurs have played a game more.

On his side’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League, Conte said: “We have to try until the end to reach this target.

“If we want to be realistic with five games to go, it’s not simple to reduce the gap, but we must have the will to fight, the desire to take this target. Why not?

“We have an important game against Burnley, a really strong team having a fantastic season, and it won’t be easy to get three points.

“But we have to try in every game to do our best and try to avoid what happened against Southampton in the first 60 minutes, because we played badly not only in a tactical and technical aspect but also in spirit.

“We have to avoid this if we want to keep the hope to finish in the top four.”

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