Chelsea kick start their title defence at home against Burnley on Saturday. Injuries remain a concern for Antonio Conte with Eden Hazard sidelined until September and £40million signing Tiemoue Bakayoko still unavailable.
Burnley’s underwhelming business in the transfer window, in addition to the sale of Michael Keane, could see the Clarets struggle at the home of the Champions.
The Blues won this fixture 3-0 last season and the Stamford Bridge faithful will be expecting a similar result.
Burnley narrowly avoided relegation last season, finishing six points and two places above 18th. Sean Dyche’s side have had a solid pre-season, winning five of their seven matches and drawing the other two.
The Clarets scored in all of their warm-up matches, although top scorer Andre Gray (4) has since joined Watford.
Gray’s departure means that Burnley have lost arguably their two best players this summer, following Michael Keane’s transfer to Everton earlier in the window.
Meanwhile, the signings of Charlie Taylor, Jonathan Walters, Jack Cork and Phil Bardsley are not hugely impressive squad additions.
Team news: Chelsea
Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard remains sidelined after picking up an ankle injury on international duty at the end of last season.
New midfield signing Tiemoue Bakayoko – Nemanja Matic’s replacement – is nursing a knee injury and won’t be rushed back by Conte.
Victor Moses is suspended, carrying over a ban from last season’s FA Cup final. However, Pedro is illegible to play, despite his straight red card for a foul on Mohamed Elneny on Sunday.
German defender Antonio Rudiger could make his first start if Cesar Azpilicueta fills in for Moses at right wing-back.
Team news: Burnley
Dean Marney will only return in September. Sam Vokes is now fit to lead the line.
So how could Chelsea look in their opening Premier League fixture?
GK: Thibaut Courtois
RWB: Cesar Azpilicueta
CB: Antonio Rudiger
CB: David Luiz
CB: Gary Cahill (Captain)
LWB: Marcos Alonso
CM: N’Golo Kante
CM: Cesc Fabregas
ST: Alvaro Morata
The bench will again comprise of Willy Caballero, Christensen, Charly Musonda, Lewis Baker, Michy Batshuayi and a couple of youth players to make up the numbers. Since this is only Burnley, we should expect to get a win. However, Chelsea will surely miss Hazard. Who would you want on the bench?