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newgersy/ Chelsea vs. Burnley, Premier League: Time, TV schedule preview


Chelsea vs. Burnley, Premier League: Time, TV schedule preview


Chelsea begin their defence of the Premier League title when they welcome Burnley to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, August 12.
Antonio Conte's side cruised to league glory last season and they will be determined to get off to a winning start at home as they brace themselves for a sterner challenge in 2017-18.

Burnley, on the other hand, narrowly avoided relegation from the division last term and they are expected to mount another fight against the drop this year.

The Clarets suffered a 3-0 defeat when they visited The Bridge in the league last August, but Antonio Conte's side have gone through plenty of changes since then.

Chelsea, the defending Champions of England for the second time in three years, will of course be wishing for something slightly less dramatic than that, and certainly nothing on par with the drama of two seasons ago, when a title defense went completely awry from day one.

Retaining the title may be a tough ask, even before we consider the squad depth issues — the last eight champions failed to do so in an increasingly competitive league — but hopefully we can expect something better than a 10th-place finish and a sacked manager by December. How about a top four finish, a strong showing in Europe (beyond first knockout round), and a deep run in at least one of the cups? And then a new contract for Conte, again.

Chelsea have not lost in 18 straight opening games. The season begins here.

Chelsea team news:

 Chelsea have managed to spend a lot of money yet still end up with plenty of squad concerns and issues heading into the season. Costa, Matić, and Terry have gone (among many, many others, either on loan or permanently, especially promising youth players) and were replaced by Morata (£58+12m), Bakayoko (£40+5m), and Rüdiger (£30m). Other long-serving players like Mikel, Ivanović, and Oscar have left as well in the last 12 months, as the club completed the overhaul we were all expecting after last season.

Trouble is, the rate of incoming players has not matched the rate out of outgoing experience, talent, and familiarity, and Antonio Conte has not been able to find it within himself to fully trust most of the club’s youth. The primary goal for the summer was to add depth to squad; instead, we’ve gotten younger (and perhaps not better?) in replacing like-for-like. Conte relied on 13 players to win the league last season; that’s unlikely to get it done in consecutive seasons, especially with added European commitments.


Injuries to Eden Hazard (back in 1-2 months), Tiemoué Bakayoko (back in 2 weeks), and more recently Pedro (back next week?) have pushed us even closer to the brink of an early season crisis, while the likes of Álvaro Morata and Charly Musonda Jr are still coming up to speed with the demands of Conte’s system. Victor Moses’s absence through suspension highlights the fact that we still don’t have recognized back-ups for either wing-back position, which are arguably the most important roles in Conte’s 3-4-3.

How Chelsea and the head coach handle these early season woes — a tweak of the system, integrating new players/youth, etc — will go a long ways towards determining how painful this season is going to be. Last year, Conte executed a masterful pivot in tactics after six games. He might have to perform an even bigger miracle this year.

Predicted lineup (3-4-3):
Courtois | Cahill (c), David Luiz, Rüdiger | Alonso, Kanté, Fàbregas, Azpilicueta | Boga, Batshuayi, Willian

Burnley team news: 

Sean Dyche’s team are incredibly annoying, even with Joey Barton out of the team and suspended from all footballing activities for five months due to gambling. Ashleys Westwood and Barnes are still there, while in the close season, Burnley added to their collection of grafters and destroyers with Phil Bardsley, Jonathan Walters (both of Stoke fame), and former Chelsea youth star Jackie Cork. They cashed in on Michael Keane for £25m, and he could be a significant loss, though they retain Tom Heaten in goal, who was one of last season’s standout performers.a

Match Details:


When: Saturday at 10 a.m. ET
Where: Stamford Bridge in London
TV: NBCSN
Stream: fuboTV and NBC Sports Live
Follow: CBS Sports App

Odds

Chelsea to win - 2/9
Draw - 9/2
Burnley to win - 14/1

Prediction

Chelsea rolls behind a big match from Alvaro Morata, and the Blues get all three points to kick off the campaign. 
Chelsea 3, Burnley 0. 


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