The last time these teams met was in the Premier League last season. On 12 February, 2017, they played out a 1-1 draw. The result played a part in Burnley securing a place in the league for another season, while it allowed the title race to stay relatively open for the end of the season. Despite Chelsea’s stumble, they went on to win the title within the next few months with a strong finish.
For this clash, Chelsea will be missing Eden Hazard due to an ankle problem he is still recovering from, and new signing Tiemoué Bakayoko due to a knee operation.
Burnley will only have Dean Marney missing due to his cruciate ligament injury, leaving the majority of the squad available for selection.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Cahill, Azpilicueta, David Luiz; Alonso, Kanté, Fàbregas, Moses; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro
Burnley (4-4-2): Heaton; Ward, Long, Tarkowski, Lowton; Brady, Westwood, Hendrick, Arfield; Vokes, Barnes
WHAT ARE THEY FIGHTING FOR?
Chelsea will be looking to start their title defense on the right foot, with a solid home win on their first match of the new season. A lot of uncertainty has surrounded the club in recent months, so a shaky performance or dropped points could add fuel to the fire, while a strong showing would do well to put fears to rest.
This match could also be a good opportunity for Antonio Conte to try out some of his new signings and see how they react to their first Premier League test.
Although Bakayoko will miss out, Antonio Rüdiger and Álvaro Morata could see some minutes later in the match. Both of these players have also impressed in preseason, so a place in the starting lineup isn’t out of the question.
Meanwhile, Burnley will want to capitalize on a decent finish last season, where they avoided relegation and ended up in 16th place.
The question surrounding the club at the moment is whether their path is headed up or down. If Burnley continue to be formidable at home and work on getting points in more away matches, then they will find themselves safely in the Premier League yet again.
Therefore, getting a result away from home against the defending champions would give them the sort of positive start they need to avoid relegation for a second year in a row.
Chelsea’s quality, especially at home, should be more than enough to overwhelm Burnley, even if they are missing star player Eden Hazard. And if Chelsea do start to struggle against a resolute Burnley side, they now have attacking options off the bench that can change the game in their favor.
Final Prediction: Chelsea 2 – 0 Burnley
NOW HERE ARE SOME JUICY FACTOIDS
• Chelsea are the Premier League club with the most points won on opening day (54)
• Burnley have lost all three of their opening day Premier League matches, scoring one goal total
• The only team out of the last 25 Premier League champions to lose their following opening day match was Leicester City (last year, 2-1 against Hull City)