It’s the opening fixture of the Premier League season for Chelsea, who are aiming to retain their crown after winning their fifth Premier League trophy last season, in Antonio Conte’s first season. They are coming up against Burnley, who once again retained their status in England’s top flight with ease.
Holders Chelsea, come into this fixture off the back of a poor pre-season, only winning one game out of three in which they played, and then lost the ‘curtain-raiser’ fixture last weekend at Wembley to Arsenal in the Community Shield, albeit on penalties. The signs are there that this could be the 2015/16 campaign all over again, however it looks highly unlikely that a season like that one, could be repeated on the back of another title-winning season.
The Blues come into this game with a near full strength squad, however rather depleted on the number of senior players. New signings Antonio Rudiger and club-record signing Alvaro Morata are expected to start at the weekend. The Spaniard has been finding his way in the latter stages of pre-season, and featured in the defeat to Arsenal at the weekend. Rudiger, is set to come into the side at the weekend with full-back Victor Moses suspended for the league tie after receiving a red card in the FA Cup Final at the end of the last campaign. It therefore looks like Cesar Azpilicueta will shift over to the wing-back spot, and Rudiger to play in the back three. Main man Eden Hazard and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko are still getting up to full fitness, and therefore won’t be involved on Saturday afternoon.
Burnley will arrive at Stamford Bridge with no real goal threat after forward Andre Gray left to Watford this week for a club-record fee. New signing Jonathan Walters is in line to start for the Lancashire side after his arrival from Stoke City. Last season, they only managed to win one of their away games all season long, and they will face another test in London to Chelsea who will be putting up a fight to retain their title. Burnley come into the game, with only one injury concern, and that is Dean Marney, who is out with a long-term knee injury. Other than that, Dyche will have his whole squad to call upon, and they’ll need to, to have any chance of coming away with a result.
Chelsea are at home and will be looking to put their pre-season worries away. With Chelsea unbeaten in six games against Sean Dyche’s men, it will take a very good Burnley side to break down the Champions. With the home advantage, and the superior quality of squad, I expect Chelsea to come away winners here , and claim their first three points of the 2017/18 campaign.
Match Prediction – Chelsea 2-0 Burnley