Chelsea kick off their Premier League campaign with a game at home to Welsh side Swansea. The champions begin the defence of their title in Saturday’s late kick off, as they look to continue the unbeaten home league record they had throughout last season.
Given how Swansea upset Manchester United at Old Trafford on the opening day of the last campaign, they certainly shouldn’t be written off. Gary Monk led his team to a very respectable finish last term, and he’ll be looking for more of the same this year. A result at Stamford Bridge on the opening day would be the perfect result for Monk and his merry men.
As you’d expect, Chelsea come in to this game as heavy favourites to get their season off to a winning start. They’re being backed to retain the Premier League title, and to do that they’ll need to start the campaign well. After last week’s Community Shield defeat to Arsenal, it’s clear that the squad aren’t quite up to full fitness.
Hopefully that’ll be put right by the time the Swans visit the Bridge. Given that there could be as many as three challengers for the title, starting slow isn’t an option. Arsenal established that they are up to speed, so the Blues really have to do the same. With a week of training and another preseason friendly under their belts by then, you’d expect a big improvement.
One thing not to expect is to see any new faces in the line-up on Saturday. Asmir Begovic is likely going to have to wait patiently for a debut, while Falcao did little to earn a starting spot against Arsenal. While the Colombian showed glimpses of ability, Diego Costa is expected to return from injury and take his place up front. Hopefully he can start this season as well as he did the last.
One other change to expect this weekend will be the return of Oscar to the starting 11. The Brazilian was a substitute at Wembley, with his compatriot Ramires taking his place in the team, to give energy and a more defensive edge to the team. At home to Swansea, Mourinho can surely free up his team and play with three attacking midfielders.
The manager has even hinted at moving to a system with two up front this term, partnering Costa with his former Atletico Madrid teammate Falcao. While it feels a little early to test that, he did switch to three at the back for a time at Wembley, so maybe he’s building up to that later in the season.
This should be a straightforward home victory for Chelsea. Swansea are a good side but Mourinho should be fully prepared for this one, with his men itching to put their defeat last week behind them. This side has a good record at bouncing back from losses, and you can expect that to continue this week.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 3-1