Chelsea vs Burnley Preview: Clarets travel to the champions for Premier League opener

The team with the second best home record of 2016/17 host the side with the second worst away record from last season.

Chelsea vs Burnley Preview: Clarets travel to the champions for Premier League opener
Burnley won't expect to see much possession on Saturday (photo: Getty Images/Paul Keevil)

Burnley could not have wished for a tougher return to Premier League action as they make the trip to London to face defending champions Chelsea.

Burnley seeking history at the Bridge

The statistics certainly do not weigh in favour of the visitors either. Burnley recorded just one win and seven points on the road last season as they struggled away from Turf Moor. In contrast, Chelsea won all but two games at Stamford Bridge, a record second only to Tottenham Hotspur.

History also weighs in favour of Antonio Conte's side. Chelsea have the best opening day record during the Premier League era, picking up no less than 54 points as the top flight enters its 25th season. Meanwhile, Burnley have lost all three of their Premier League openers, scoring just one goal in the process.

Only Leicester City, last season, have been defeated as reigning champions on the first day of the campaign and few will bet against the holders beginning their defence with three points. Burnley have picked up just two points in six Premier League fixtures against Chelsea, although they did hold on for a 1-1 draw in February.

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Clarets appear light in defence

Even though Chelsea have won 15 of their last 16 home games and scored at least three goals in the most recent four of those, finding the net could be more of a struggle on Saturday. Eden Hazard is still recovering from a broken ankle, Michy Batshuayi barely made an impact against Arsenal in the Community Shield and Alvaro Morata's match fitness is lacking.

Yet Burnley will have problems of their own facing up against the main striker in Chelsea's 3-4-3. The Clarets have failed to replace defensive lynchpin Michael Keane and James Tarkowski could be thrown into action alongside Ben Mee.

Charlie Taylor could make his debut at left-back but won't face Victor Moses down that flank. The Nigerian has a suspension carried over from the FA Cup final, though Pedro escaped a ban after his red card in the Community Shield.

Jack Cork and Jon Walters are also expected to start for the visitors as the latter prepares to take on Conte's new German defender Michael Rudiger alongside David Luiz and Gary Cahill.

Not ideal preparation

Neither side comes into the season curtain-raiser in particularly glittering form. Chelsea lost to both Inter Milan and Bayern Munich in pre-season before producing a flat display against Arsenal on Sunday. The absence of Diego Costa along with Hazard seemed to prove pivotal as the Gunners more than matched the champions.

Burnley completed pre-season undefeated but will be slightly concerned about the fitness of a number of players. The squad were granted a blow to their preparations when fan riots caused their latest match against Hannover 96 to be abandoned.

Andre Gray netted four times over the summer but has since departed to Watford. Sean Dyche will hope that his side have enough energy about them to panic Chelsea and cause an unlikely upset. A point would be an incredible result for the Lancashire club.

Burnley Football Club