Chelsea begin the defence of their Premier League title with a meeting against Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon, aiming to build on their impressive opening-day record of previous years.
The Blues have claimed more points (54) on matchday one than any other side in the competition’s history, while the visitors are at the opposite end of the spectrum after losing all three of their past openers.
There is a sense around Stamford Bridge heading into the new campaign that all is not quite right. Boss Antonio Conte, very much the hero in his maiden campaign outside of Italian football, has made clear that he is not entirely happy with his side’s transfer dealings to date.
As witnessed over many years during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time at Manchester United, there is no harm in ripping up a squad and bringing in a new spine to keep things fresh after a title success, but Conte is worried by the lack of incoming players with three weeks of the window to run.
Never has the home/away divide been so telling in a Premier League campaign as it was last time out, as Burnley survived on results at Turf Moor alone over the duration of the 38-game season.
Sean Dyche was right to constantly point out that, ultimately, it matters little where the points are generated – all that counts is that his side get themselves above the dotted line by any means necessary, which they did with a fair bit of ease.
Victor Moses will sit this one out after picking up a red card in the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal last May, yet Pedro is free to play due to the Community Shield officially being classed as a friendly.
Bakayoko is still a few weeks away from full fitness following his move from AS Monaco, meanwhile, and Eden Hazard will be nursing a damaged ankle for the foreseeable future.
In terms of the visitors, Jonathan Walters and Jack Cork are pushing for full debuts after joining from Stoke and Swansea City respectively, but Taylor and Bardsley are expected to watch on for this one.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill, Alonso; Fabregas, Kante; Willian, Morata, Pedro
Burnley possible starting lineup:
Heaton; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward; Arfield, Cork, Hendrick, Brady; Vokes, Walters