Champions Chelsea kick start their defence of the Premier League title at Stamford Bridge this afternoon as Antonio Conte’s men will play host to a Burnley side who are about to embark on their second successive campaign at this level.
It has not been the best of weeks for the defending champions as in addition to losing the Community Shield to Arsenal they have also lost Nemanja Matic to Manchester United. A third defeat in four games to Arsenal is bad enough but it will be the departure of the Serbian international which will be felt more.
Comments in this weeks Premier League launch day from Antonio Conte seem to suggest that the sale of Matic was not his doing and he is not best pleased at the fact, that sale will have undoubtedly made Chelsea weaker while also strengthening one of their arch rivals.
When you also consider that from the spine of the team that won the league last season they have for all intents and purposes also lost Diego Costa then you could say that this is a slight step down from the team that charged to the title.
They have of course bought in replacements with Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata but they are untried in this division and will have to now adapt quickly to make sure that Chelsea do not miss a step early on in the race for this season’s title.
For all the new signings that have come in, the other two being Antonio Rudiger and Willy Caballero they have only replaced players who have either left or been frozen out so in effect there has not really be any new additions to the squad.
That is something that is undoubtedly been cause for concern for Antonio Conte and something he would like to address before the end of this transfer window. But that is a plan for another day as first he has to plan for the clash against Burnley.
Sean Dyche’s has not had the most inspiring of transfer windows it must be said as in terms of additions they have bought in Charlie Taylor, Jack Cork and Jonathan Walters but also have lost both Michael Keane and Andre Gray to Everton and Watford resepctively.
Dyche himself says that he believes his squad is stronger but struggle to see how that is the case when two of their star performers have now moved onto pastures new. Burnley could well be a team that struggles with “Second Season Syndrome” this time around.
Not only that but their away form was nothing to write home about last season with just a solitary win on the road, that eventually came against Crystal Palace and was a win that secured their Premier League status but that is something that is going to have to improve.
The reason being that I cannot see them re-creating the fortress which was Turf Moor this season, especially now that Michael Keane who was the defensive lynchpin is no longer there. I think Burnley are going to struggle this season and especially today. It’s a routine home win for me.
This what is social media thinks will happen this afternoon at Stamford Bridge
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) August 11, 2017