The stage is set for Chelsea’s title defence as they play host to the Clarets of Burnley in match-week one.
As many of us remember, Sean Dyche’s men have often allowed us to set the bar for the season, especially in the last few years.
In Chelsea’s 2014/2015 title-winning season, Mourinho and company came up against Burnley in their opening game as well.
The Blues went on to win this match 3-1, scoring what may have been their finest goal of the season, with André Schürrle, getting on the end of an exquisite first-touch pass from new-signing, Cesc Fabregas.
Diego Costa would also open his Premier League account on the day, by scoring the equalizer and reminding fans of what it is like to have a proper striker leading their side. Even Branislav Ivanovic would find his way on the scoresheet as well.
This match set the tone for the Blues to be perfect until November, where they would eventually falter against Newcastle.
The Blues have not always had a straightforward affair with Burnley. Since the aforementioned match, we have drawn with the Clarets twice, beating them 3-0 in the beginning of last season.
In any sort of successful title defense, Conte’s men must expect to beat Burnley in their opening match of the season.
The Blues’ quality far surpasses the likes of Dyche’s men, who recently saw striker Andre Gray, seek the slightly greener pastures of Watford.
The Clarets have welcomed in Jack Cork from Swansea, Jonathan Walters and Phil Bardsley from Stoke City, and a few lesser known squad players as well.
Chelsea has done much more selling than purchasing, allowing several players to leave the club this summer.
New faces include Antonio Rudiger from Roma, Tiémoué Bakayoko from AS Monaco, Andres Christensen returning from his loan with Borussia Mönchengladbach, Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, and Willy Caballero from Manchester City.
While one could argue that these are all quality signings, there is no doubt that Chelsea boasts a weaker squad than last season, following what felt like a fire-sale of players this summer.
However, Chelsea’s strange transfer business this summer should have no effect on the match this weekend. Burnley remains a game that Conte’s men should comfortably win.
While there has been a lot of discussion regarding how the Blues will start the season, I believe we will see a largely unchanged lineup to the XI that played in the Community Shield against Arsenal last weekend.
Victor Moses begins the season with a suspension due to his red card in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal last season. Hazard and Bakayoko are still recovering from injury. These are the only players not available for selection.
Overall, this weekend represents a chance for Chelsea to begin on a high note. They have the opportunity to momentarily help us forget about their failed transfer dealings this summer.
Three points will go a long way this weekend.
Projected lineup (3-4-3): Courtois, Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Kante, Fabregas, Pedro, Batshuayi, Willian
Projected Score: Chelsea 3, Burnley 1.
Projected Scorers: Batshuayi, Willian, Cahill, Vokes