Preview: Chelsea v Burnley

Defending champions Chelsea start off their Premier League campaign against Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Premier League
12 August 2017
Kick-off 15:00 UK time
Venue: Stamford Bridge

Head-to-head summary:

Chelsea     71      23    15     33
Burnley     71      33    15     23

Previous encounter:

Burnley 1-1 Chelsea  – 12/02/17 (Premier League)

Chelsea goalscorer: Pedro (7')
Burnley goalscorer: Brady (24')

Players to watch:

With last season's club top scorer Diego Costa on his way out of the club, it will be interesting to see who the Blues start up front. Spanish striker Alvaro Morata was brought in from Real Madrid to replace the Brazil-born forward, but Michy Batshuayi has impressed more in pre-season. The Belgian striker barely got a chance last season but will sense this as his opportunity to establish himself as the club's first choice up front.

For Burnley, the match could well be a debut for their new striker Jon Walters, while their new arrival from Swansea City, Jack Cork, came through the Chelsea youth ranks and would love to get some game time against his former club.

What's going on here, @mbatshuayi?! ? #CFC #Chelsea #TheBatsman

A post shared by Chelsea FC! ? (@chelseafc) on

Team form and manager quotes:

The Blues enter the match after last Sunday's defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield, losing on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time at Wembley. Having not shown the most promising pre-season form, failure to win at home against last season's relegation strugglers would send a bad message.

The Clarets, meanwhile, have gone through their preseason undefeated with wins over sides like Shamrock Rovers, Preston North End and Celta de Vigo. They were able to hold the Blues to a 1-1 draw at home last season but were beaten 3-0 on their trip to the Bridge.

Blues boss Antonio Conte has allayed fears that his team aren't ready to defend their title by saying that the "commitment is incredible, better than last season".

"We are working very well," Conte said. " It's a pleasure for me to see this every single day.

"I don't know if this season can be more difficult than last season. For sure we are champions and have to face every game in the right way. The other teams are going to put 120 percent against us.

"I think when you start a new season it is very important to think about ourselves and not see the others. To assess the other teams is not important to us. We have to improve our team. There are six strong teams to fight for the title, this is normal."

"It's a tough start, but one we're relishing," said Burnley's new signing Jon Walters. "Sometimes it's a good time to play the bigger teams, early on in the season.

"It's a difficult game, but it's only a team of 11 names and hopefully we will go out there and put on a good performance and get a result we want. Bring it on.

"It's always nice to prove people wrong. People might look at you and you're not a fashionable name. But there are good players here and the title of underdog might suit you going into games."

Team news:

In team news, Chelsea won't be able to call on star forward Eden Hazard who remains sidelined with an ankle injury, while Tiemoue Bakayoko's Premier League debut will be postponed by a knee injury.  Pedro is available despite his red card in the Community Shield.

Burley will only be missing  Dean Marney, who remains out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.