Chelsea drop two points and, in more significant damage lose Matic for three games, after an ill-tempered affair against Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues, who had got in front thanks to another Ivanovic goal, were struggling to get through for a second insurance goal, and Burnley made them pay, through whatever illegal means it took. Mee headed home an equaliser late on from a corner, but the real turning point was in the 70th minute.
Matic was sent off for reacting to a Barnes challenge, and whilst you typically associate Matic with being an ice-cool customer, it is easy to see why he reacted so angrily to Barnes’ leg-breaking challenge, which earned the Englishman absolutely no card at all. It means the Serbian will now miss next week’s all-important League Cup Final against Tottenham. Couple that with two stone-wall penalty appeals and it adds further fuel to Mourinho’s “campaign” suggestions.
It should have been a match were we were talking the joys out of another Serbian: Branislav Ivanovic. The right-back has been in prolific form of late, scoring four in a month and only one behind Fernando Torres in terms of Chelsea career goals. Hazard worked it well and Ivanovic was on hand to drive home.
But as the match wore on, Chelsea were not feeling the rhythm. Hazard and Cuadrado could not link up well but Chelsea should have had a penalty when Ivanovic’s cross hit Kightly’s outstretched hands in the box. It was a certain penalty; Atkinson saw differently.
As the first half drew to a close, it should have been another penalty. Costa was felled and, though contact was weak, it was more than a shoulder-to-shoulder barge so it should have been a spot-kick. Again, Atkinson saw differently.
But credit to Burnley where they deserved it. Courtois had to make fine saves, particularly against Barnes, but the Burnley striker was lucky to not even get a single card at any point during the match, for he made many similar tackles.
That would incense Mourinho but what may incense him more is his decision to not bring Cahill on before the corner Burnley equalised from. He had the option to, but Ramires was preferred to mark Mee, to much regret.
Man of the Match
BRANISLAV IVANOVIC: He scored again. The man has given Chelsea seven years’ excellent service for £9 million. You will not find a more atypical right-back: right-backs tend to be good at crosses and useless at everything else. Ivanovic is a defensive and attacking machine — a defender-cum-striker — not your standard ‘failed right-winger put into right-back position’. Excellent stalwart. 7/10
Mourinho wanted focus on four key points — two Barnes challenges and two blatant penalty appeals — before referring back to his ‘campaign’ suggestions: “There are four moment of the game where you can write the story. Minutes 30, 33, 43 and 69. Don’t ask me more questions. I am happy that I am not stupid. I understood everything a couple of months ago.”
Dyche was skipping around the point: “I am very pleased with the application and the quality we showed. The mentality is solid and they are a very good side.”