via Joe Apu
Burnley FC heads to the Stamford Bridge nowadays with an intent to checkmate reigning English superior League champions Chelsea on their opening fixture.
Antonio Conte has spent the summer season bemoaning the dearth of cash spent through his group in the summertime switch market, fretting in regards to the lack of avid gamers he needs to be a hit each in the prime League and the Champions League and wondering where his sources of offence are.
Now think about how much more intense these cries would be had Conte now not received the most appropriate League title in his first season with Chelsea.
The reigning title-holders commence their season nowadays in a state of flux as they host Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
Conte’s first season on the London touchline turned into stardust as Chelsea (30-three-5) rocketed from tenth throughout their shambolic title defense in the 2015-sixteen season to back atop the table for the 2d time in three years. The Italian had the luxurious of now not being concerned about any European competitors, and he was able to maintain his squad recent as Chelsea have been eliminated within the fourth round of the EFL Cup and reached the final of the FA Cup.
This time round, the Champions League beckons.
Conte has been vocal on repeated events he wished to aggressively spend this summer season to maintain up with the football powers each in England and Europe, the Manchesters, the Barcelonas, the PSGs of the arena, yet there was little splash apart from the £70 million for Alvaro Morata of actual Madrid and the mixed £60 million for Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko and AS Roma’s Antonio Rudinger.
“final season we played many matches however we had been able to leisure a lot between video games,” defender David Luiz said. “This season we will be enjoying midweek and then again on the weekend, so it’s extra about the remaining and rotating the team because some gamers will play in the premiere League, after which others will play within the Champions League, it’s more in regards to the squad.”
the lack of depth used to be further uncovered when midfielder Nemanja Matic, a key participant in Conte’s three-5-2 formation final season that changed the complexion of the optimal League, shockingly left remaining month to rejoin former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Manchester United for £forty million.
“Matic is aware of very well what I call to mind him,” Conte informed Sky sports activities. “The significance for me about this participant, who is a really good participant, a high participant, very important for our workforce, however infrequently you must settle for this loopy switch market.
“however he is a great loss for us.”
the issue up front was once partly exacerbated by Conte, who instructed Diego Costa his services had been now not wished at Chelsea rapidly after last season ended. Love him, hate him or otherwise given his pantomime villain routine on the pitch, Costa scored a group-excessive 20 targets in league play to assist Chelsea win the title and is now content material to bide his time at Cobham ready out Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban that ends in January.
His absence is a evident void that needs to be filled, the earlier, the simpler. And whereas Morata had 20 objectives in all competitions for the Champions League winners, leading the line in London might be a tall order for the 24-yr-outdated, in all probability more so seeing that Conte and Chelsea were gazumped by Mourinho and United for high target Romelu Lukaku.
a few of Chelsea’s rising pains have been apparent Sunday once they misplaced the neighborhood defend healthy to Arsenal on penalties at Wembley. Morata was a late replace, whereas starting forward Michy Batshauayi didn’t galvanize. though nonetheless an impressive distributor of the ball, Cesc Fabregas lacked % every now and then and left N’Golo Kante with a ways too much easy-up work to do in front of the defence.
Conte has warned, repeatedly, that his current thin side might suffer a “Mourinho repeat” championship hangover with out reinforcements. Chelsea are rumoured to be desirous about disgruntled Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk and Leicester metropolis midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who could be reunited with Kante from their 2016 premiere League title days, and the next two-plus weeks resulting in the closing date will indisputably be stuffed with moves and countermoves to stand up to speed.
One holdover who will miss Chelsea’s lid-lifter is attacking midfielder Eden Hazard, who’s recuperating from an ankle damage. Hazard’s return to type was once a key reason Chelsea back to their successful methods as he completed with sixteen goals and five assists in league play.
Amid the drama that surrounds Chelsea enter Burnley (11-7-20), who completed sixteenth ultimate season and six points clear of the drop in their return to the prime League. This marketing campaign will mark the primary time the Clarets will play top-flight soccer in consecutive seasons when you consider that 1973-76, but like the Blues, they enter this game with a large query mark at the ahead position.
After negotiations for a new contract with Andre grey fell thru, Burnley opted to sell the striker, 2nd to Sam Vokes final season with nine targets, to Watford for a mentioned £18.5 million, which is without doubt one of the largest switch fees in membership history. the most important came in July, when primary defender Michael Keane used to be bought to Everton for £25 million.
the two moves have thrust Burnley into the favourites’ spot of being relegated this season, however the outlook is the rest but dreary at Turf Moor. if truth be told, defender Ben Mee thinks Saturday may well be the very best opportunity to trap Chelsea on the back foot.
“it’s important to play them at a while,” he advised The Telegraph. “it’s possible you’ll as well play them early, chances are you’ll catch them abruptly, you never understand. Our performances in opposition to the enormous teams were lovely excellent remaining year, barring Chelsea away and it’ll be a truly just right check for us early within the season.”
but the Clarets’ street form, including that three-0 hiding by means of Chelsea, leaves much to be desired. Burnley had just one victory and a paltry seven factors outdoor Turf Moor, getting outscored 35-13 and failed to score a purpose within the run of play on the street unless their eighth match.
Chelsea have gained all three most effective League fits at residence over Burnley, whose ultimate win at Stamford Bridge got here on penalties in the fourth round of the 2009 Carling Cup. The Clarets have not gained at Chelsea in league play considering that 1977 within the second Division.