The Blues will kick off their season away to a team that narrowly avoided relegation last season, as they head to Yorkshire on Saturday.
Chelsea are scheduled to kick off their Premier League season against Huddersfield Town on Saturday under new management, as they bid to improve upon last season’s disappointing fifth-placed finish.
Maurizio Sarri has taken over from Antonio Conte, who left the club having won the Premier League and FA Cup, but also falling short in the league standings last season.
Huddersfield were tipped to be relegated last season, but survived off the back of a draw at Stamford Bridge, which had the extra effect of being a huge factor in seeing Chelsea end up in the Europa League this season.
Thibaut Courtois has left Chelsea for Real Madrid in a £35 million ($45m) deal ahead of the new 2018-19 season. Tiemoue Bakayoko is expected to join AC Milan, with Mateo Kovacic coming into the midfield from Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has replaced Courtois in a £71 million ($91m) deal from Athletic Club, with Thursday’s transfer deadline having disrupted preparations for the opening game.
Cesc Fabregas is a minor doubt, as he works through a small knee injury and he was last seen with bandages on his leg after the Community Shield.
PSV loan star Marco van Ginkel is back at Chelsea, but he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament and is unlikely to play any part this season. Chelsea don’t have any further injury concerns but Eden Hazard, Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante, Gary Cahill and Michy Batshuayi have only trained for a week under Sarri.
Therefore, Sarri hinted that he may not start this group of players after they played less than 45 minutes from the bench in Chelsea’s final friendly against Lyon on Tuesday.
Chelsea have no suspensions to contend with carried over from last season.
Chelsea potential starting line-up
Chelsea will likely play in a 4-3-3 system as the new head coach implements his own brand of football that has been dubbed ‘Sarriball’ by some. The system involves defending with a high line and pressing opponents to win the ball high up the pitch.
It also typically includes Sarri’s teams moving the ball quickly between the lines, often seeing players taking no more than one or two touches at times.
Alvaro Morata looks likely to continue leading the line, despite having only scored three goals in the entirety of 2018, so far. This ranges in all competitions and includes his pre-season friendlies, where he failed to net even once.
Pedro has been in good form this pre-season and looks to have earned himself a starting role, while Jorginho looks set to continue in midfield. Record signing Kepa will likely be in goal for the FA Cup winners and make his debut, but Sarri will also probably opt for the same back four that faced Man City.
Sarri will likely assess whether Hazard and Kante can start, having only returned to training on Monday.
Huddersfield team news
Huddersfield have only one absentee from their opening game, with Danny Williams being unfit to play due to his ankle injury.
TV channel & kick-off time
The game kicks off at 3pm BST (10am ET) on Saturday , but it won’t be televised in the United Kingdom.
Best Opta match facts
Huddersfield are without a win in their last eight league meetings with Chelsea, (D3 L5), with their last league victory over the Blues coming in March 1963, via a 2-1 away win in the old Division Two.
At home, Huddersfield have lost each of their last four league clashes with Chelsea; they’ve never lost five in a row on home soil in the league against a single opponent.
Three of the last five red cards shown in opening weekend fixtures in the Premier League have been shown to Chelsea players (Thibaut Courtois vs Swansea in 2015-16 and Gary Cahill & Cesc Fabregas vs Burnley last season).
Willian was involved in all three of Chelsea’s goals as they won 3-1 in this fixture last season, scoring one and assisting the other two.
No side has lost more Premier League games (10) or earned fewer Premier League points (13) in 2018 than Huddersfield.