Burnley v Chelsea: Can Mourinho's men kick-off in style?
The first Monday night game of the season sees Burnley’s return to the Premier League as they face a new look Chelsea team at Turf Moor.
Burnley will see Premier League football for the first time since their relegation in 2010, but the Claret’s are heavy bookie favourites to go straight back down this time around. The omens don’t look good unfortunately, as their last stint in the top tier was limited to just a season, finishing 18th hence facing the drop. Having achieved promotion last year coming runners up in the Sky Bet Championship, the long awaited return finally came with Sean Dyche in charge. A season that Burnley fans will treasure, the strike partnership of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes proved vital and will hope to continue scoring goals in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho will take charge of his second season since returning to Stamford Bridge, as the Blues look to challenge for the title. As they faded away from the challenge last year, Mourinho’s men will be looking to put that wrong right. Chelsea have had club legends go either way this summer, with Frank Lampard joining New York City on a free, then ultimately joining Manchester City on loan and Didier Drogba made a sensational return to the club he left in 2012 after winning the Champions League with them.
Burnley: Sam Vokes is still out with ligament damage after suffering it at the end of last season. New signing Lukas Jutkiewicz is set to make his debut following move from Middlesbrough.
Chelsea: Didier Drogba is a doubt after sustaining an ankle injury in pre-season. Ramires is suspended after an incomplete ban from last year. Filipe Luiz, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are all likely to make debuts. Thibaut Courtois is set to start in goal following his loan at Athletico Madrid.
For Burnley, last years superstar Danny Ings will be looking to team up with new strike partner Lukaz Jutkiewicz. Jutkiewicz has had an outstanding pre-season scoring 6 goals. If Burnley are to cause any problems, these two will be at the forefront of the danger. Attacking full-back Kieran Trippier is the main threat down the right, as his crossing abilities were showcased in the championship last season.
The obvious key man for Chelsea is new signing Diego Costa, the forward has too been in fine form in pre-season and will be hoping to make his immediate mark on the Premier League. Eden Hazard is the threat down the wing, as the playmaker hopes to carry on his fine form from last season. Cesc Fabregas will also look to make his mark on his return to the Premier League.
Chelsea are the obvious favourites but Burnley’s home crowd will be firmly behind the newly promoted team. However I cannot see past a convincing Chelsea win. The Chelsea team should outplay the naïve and inexperienced Burnley side and Chelsea’s class should be too much for Burnley to handle.
Prediction: Burnley 0-3 Chelsea
Can the Blues kick-off their title challenge in style, or will Sean Dyche’s Burnley pose problems for them early on? Join the discussion in the comment section below or on Twitter @Tbrfootball.com.