Jose Mourinho will begin his second stint in the Premier League when Chelsea host newly-promoted Hull City at Stamford Bridge on the first Sunday of the Premier League campaign.
Having guided Chelsea to five major titles in his first spell – two of which were back-to-back Premier League titles – his arrival back to his “home” has caused quite a buzz. And not just among Chelsea fans.
Since Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea last won the Premier League in 09/10 they haven’t been pushing as hard for the title as much as they’d like – even finishing sixth the year they won the Champions League.
Mourinho has come in this summer and cleared out a lot of deadwood, replacing it with some fresh blood in Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen and Marco van Ginkel from Vitesse Arnhem.
New men Hull have brought in a number of new signings, a lot of which may get their debut against Chelsea, including Allan McGregor, Maynor Figueroa, Yannick Sagbo, Tom Huddlestone, and Jake Livermore on loan from Tottenham.
The Tigers lasted two seasons the last time they got promoted, so they won’t have forgotten how difficult it can be to cement your place in the Premier League when you get promoted from the Championship. But if Steve Bruce and his men look at a team like Swansea they will see that with hard work and bold footballing style to take on the big guns, it can definitely be done.
Mourinho’s teams are usually very hard to break down and don’t often massive risks. So unless Hull can get a few free kicks around the box for Tom Huddlestone to try work with they may find it hard to get a clear-cut chance on goal.
Mourinho will have a matter of settling who is going to start in the striker position. Romelu Lukaku impressed last season for West Brom and during pre-season for The Blues, but Fernando Torres finished last season as their top goalscorer and first choice striker over Demba Ba, so he may be the man deployed to lead the line. Either way Hull's defence is going to have its hands full.
With Mourinho’s unbeaten league record still in tact at Stamford Bridge – on top of being back with something to prove – Hull surely couldn’t have picked a more difficult start to the season.
The last time Chelsea played host to Hull City at the Bridge it finished 2-1 to the Blues, who were then under the charge of Carlo Ancelotti. Don’t be surprised if you see a similar outcome this Sunday, only with a clean sheet for Chelsea seeming more likely.
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