Burnley vs Chelsea
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Chelsea begin their Premier League campaign with a visit to newly-promoted Burnley on Monday evening, and Jose Mourinho’s side are the overwhelming favourites to secure victory against weaker opposition.
With this summer transfer window having heralded the arrivals of attacking talents Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas and the defence being reinforced by Filipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea have the shortest odds to be champions this season.
They should, then, have little trouble overcoming Burnley, even if they did climb out of the Championship impressively under Sean Dyche last term.
Given the gulf in quality of the two squads, Chelsea have been placed at 5/2-on to clinch three points at Burnley, while £32 million acquisition Costa has been backed heavily to score his maiden competitive goal for the club.
The Spain international, barring an injury in the warm-up, will make his league debut for Chelsea as will compatriot Fabregas, although the make-up of much of the remainder of the team is more difficult to predict.
It appears increasingly likely that Petr Cech will lose his position as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper, with Courtois now back at Stamford Bridge having performed excellently with Atletico Madrid for three consecutive seasons.
His former teammate in Madrid, Luis, should take up his familiar position on the left of defence, even if Cesar Azpilicueta was superb there last season. Pre-season suggested Mourinho would favour Luis and Bransilav Ivanovic as his full-backs, with Azpilicueta to be used on a rotation basis.
Players still missing
In midfield Nemanja Matic will perhaps have to start alongside John Obi Mikel, with Fabregas set to take the role of the Nigerian once Chelsea have a squad health again.
Mourinho does not yet have all his players available at 100 percent, with Andre Schurrle, Oscar, Willian and Ramires all having been involved in the World Cup until its latter stages.
This could mean that it is Mohamed Salah who earns a rare start one side of a more advanced Fabregas, while Eden Hazard takes up a position on the left flank where, other than Costa, he will provide the greatest threat to Burnley.
Watch: The latest Chelsea transfer news
Chelsea predicted XI to face Burnley
Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Filipe Luis
Nemanja Matic, John Obi Mikel
Mohamed Salah, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard
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