Chelsea v Burnley Betting Preview : Champions begin their title defence
Event Venue: Stamford Bridge, Kick off at 3pm Saturday 12th August.See Stats
Chelsea will kick their season off with a home game against Burnley as they bid to become the first team since Manchester United in 2009 to successfully retain the Premier League title. It's been a summer full of intrigue at Stamford Bridge and it's going to be very interesting to see how Antonio Conte and his side fare. For Burnley and Sean Dyche, this season is all about consolidation once again but it's going to be tough after Michael Keane's departure to Everton. Our preview looks ahead to Saturday's game on the opening weekend of the new top flight season.
How strong will the Champions be?
After a somewhat shaky start last season, Antonio Conte soon got his Premier League bearings right and his famed switch to 3-4-3 proved the turning point in Chelsea's season. The Blues went on to win the league with 93 points, a tally beaten only by the 95 points amassed during Jose Mourinho's first season at the club. The Blues were by far and away the best side in the division last season but Conte has already admitted himself that this season will be much tougher. The added burden of Champions League football will play its part but the player's Chelsea have at their disposal are all well versed to the workload that entails. The issue for Chelsea appears to be their recruitment this summer and you could make the case that they are not an awful lot stronger than last season. With Manchester City in-particular looking much better shaped to challenge this season and surely United as well, could this season see Manchester strike back?
This summer has seen Antonio Rudiger arrive from Roma, Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco and Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid. All good additions but when you break down the outgoings, it begs the question as to whether or not the squad is actually any stronger. Rudiger's incoming in defence is offset by the departures of John Terry and Nathan Ake whilst it's hoped Bakayoko will fill the void left by Nemanja Matic's departure to Manchester United. It's a like for like and at 22-years-old and missing most of pre-season with injury there is no guarantee the Frenchman is going to hit the ground running. The same can also be said up-front where Diego Costa has seemingly been cast aside in the hope that Morata could prove an upgrade. Like the Bakayoko-Matic scenario, it's a case where it could work out for Chelsea but it nonetheless represents a gamble to replace two first choice players from last season with new arrivals.
By no means however are we writing Chelsea off and Antonio Conte and the Chelsea hierarchy certainly know a lot more about football than ourselves but we're merely pointing out that it seems Chelsea are not subscribing to the mantra of 'If it's not broke, don't fix it'. Their performance against Arsenal in Community Shield is hardly an overly alarming result, to draw 1-1 before losing on penalties but there does appear to be a slight air of uncertainty around the club as we enter the new season. Eden Hazard will miss the game through injury whilst two of the new recruits Bakayoko and Morata are unlikely to be fully match fit to start the game. Michy Batshuayi could therefore retain his place up front as the first choice striker.
Can Sean Dyche keep the Clarets up again?
Alongside Antonio Conte, Sean Dyche was one of the manager's of the season last year. Keeping Burnley in the Premier League is no mean feat and the Clarets never really appeared to be in grave danger of the drop all season. They were hard-working and difficult to beat, in particularly at home but the issue Dyche now faces is how they will fare without Michael Keane. The former Manchester United centre back was pivotal in their survival and his form last season saw him break in to the England squad. His departure leaves an obvious hole at the back so can they remain as tight defensively in his absence? They have brought in some players with solid Premier League experience in Phil Bardsley, Jack Cork and Jon Walters but the questions will remain at centre back if no Keane replacement comes in.
In order to improve this season, Burnley will need to improve on their away form. They didn't win on their travels until April last season and unless they can maintain their excellent record at Turf Moor, they will have to pick up some more results on the road. With Michael Keane gone, much will be expected of their other better performers from last season Tom Heaton and Andre Gray but this season promises to be a difficult one. What better place to start then with a trip to the Champions?
It's got be Chelsea for us here. Whilst we have a few doubts over just how good they are going to be over the course of the league season, the Blues should win this one. It's the safe choice however and there is a distinct lack of value at backing them at just 1/4 with many of the leading bookies.
So looking for slightly more appealing odds, we like the look of Chelsea winning to nil. A 2-0 scoreline seems a plausible choice if you wanted to go down the scoreline route available at 6/1 but given Burnley's woeful away record last season, backing Chelsea to win to nil is our suggestion.
- Chelsea won 17 of their 19 Premier League home games last season
- Burnley's win at Crystal Palace was their only victory on their travels last season
- The Blues won this fixture 3-0 last season
- In the 2005-06 season, Chelsea became only the second club to successfully defend the Premier League title. Manchester United have done it four times including winning three titles consecutively on two occasions
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