In a match of David against Goliath, newly promoted Burnley kick off their Premier League campaign against last year’s third place finishers, Chelsea. The heavy match and title betting favourites Blues travel to Turf Moor, and will be expected to get a result. José Mourinho will surely have seen how the rest of the clubs have fared over the weekend, especially those who finished above Chelsea last season – Liverpool and Manchester City.
Many pundits have tipped Chelsea to win the Premier League this season, after an impressive transfer window brought Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis. Adding to the list of summer acquisitions is fan favorite and longtime club talisman, Didier Drogba, who returns to Chelsea after two years. The Ivorian’s fitness may be in question after he picked up a knock in a preseason match against Ferencvaros. Still, Mourinho has yet to make it clear whether or not he will feature Monday evening against Burnley.
The Portuguese can take heart in the fact that new frontman Diego Costa seems to be firing on all cylinders. The former Atletico man has had an impressive preseason, netting four goals and providing an attacking threat the likes of which haven’t been seen at Stamford Bridge for several seasons. Chelsea are anchored in defense by longtime team captain John Terry, and we will likely see newly transferred Filipe Luis getting a start, as well. Other key players for Chelsea are former Barcelona playmaker Cesc Fabregas who will no doubt be a threat on the ball. Also, look for Eden Hazard to terrorize the Burnley defense. If Chelsea are to live up to expectations, they should make short work of newly promoted Burnley.
Burnley, who won promotion to the Premier League after securing second place in the Championship last season, will be looking to prove they belong. Chelsea, however, may be an unfair first test. Still, the Clarets will have nothing to lose when they take on the visiting Blues and will surely pose a threat. Manager Sean Dyche has been impressive in his two years in charge of the club and likes to play attractive attacking football. Setting his team up in a 4-4-1-1 formation, Dyche prefers active wing-backs and stern defending. He will also depend on Danny Ings, as the young English forward netted 21 goals in 40 appearances last season. New transfers Lukas Jutkiewicz, a striker acquired from Middlesborough, and Matt Gilks, a goalkeeper formerly of Blackpool, will be heavily relied upon to orchestrate the attacks and prevent Chelsea from scoring, respectively. It may be a tough ask.
It is no question that Chelsea will be expected to leave Turf Moor with all three points, but Burnley will no doubt give them a difficult test. Still, the Blues talent in attack and experience in defense should prove crucial. My prediction: Burnley 0-3 Chelsea.
Here are the predicted line-ups: