Date: August 18, 2014
Venue: Turf Moor, Burnley
Kick-off time: 8.00 pm BST
Burnley face a baptism of fire on their return to the Premier League when they entertain Chelsea on Monday in their first game of the season.
Newly-promoted Burnley are being tipped by many to make a swift return to the Championship, but then again they were not expected to gain automatic promotion last term – so could surprise a few. A game against Chelsea, however, represents a very tough start to life back in the top flight.
Pre-season form has been reasonable, with a good draw against La Liga’s Celta Vigo in their last match.
Chelsea’s friendly form has been steadily improving as Jose Mourinho fine tunes the tactics he hopes will win him the title again. Their last two friendlies have seen 2-1 wins over Real Sociedad and Ferencvaros.
Having made some excellent signings, Chelsea start the new season as favourites to win the league for the first time since 2010.
Key Players/Team News
New strikers Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell will be expected to take the scoring burden off last season’s top scorer Danny Ings, especially with the prolific Sam Vokes out with injury. However, their record in the lower leagues is hardly inspiring and, although they have been on the scoresheet in pre-season, you worry there isn’t enough quality to unlock Premier League defences often enough.
Diego Costa scored twice in the win against Sociedad and will be expected to get the goals so sorely missing since the departure of Didier Drogba in 2012.
With the departure of experienced heads in Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, Jose Mourinho will be expecting replacements Felipe Luis and Cesc Fabregas to fill the voids. Fellow ‘new’ signing Drogba may miss out on a re-debut with injury.
An interesting battle this season will be in goal for Chelsea, with young Belgian Thibaut Courtois set to push Petr Cech for the number one jersey after spending the last three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid.
I think Chelsea will win the Premier League this season and should start with a victory at Burnley. They can be backed at 1.4 with bet365, who offer £200 as free bonus on sign-up.
Chelsea win at 1.4 (Bet365)
Costa to score anytime at 2.2 (Bet365)