Chelsea to control opening game
Ian Ogg previews the Monday Night Football clash between Burnley and Chelsea and expects the visitors to emerge with the points.
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Burnley v Chelsea (2000BST)
Barclays Premier League football returns to Turf Moor and Burnley will be in the spotlight with an opening slot on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.
Expectations for the promoted club - outside Burnley at least - are low (they are the only side that are odds-on for relegation) and no one will be expecting them to take anything from this match against title favourites Chelsea who conceded just 16 goals in 19 away games in the league last season.
While Chelsea have brought in the likes of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, Sean Dyche has had to be content with Stephen Ward who joins up with former teammates Michael Kightley and Sam Vokes who were all relegated from the top flight during their spell with Wolves.
Vokes, who is not expected to return to action until 2015, found his feet in the north west after leaving the Black Country club and formed a fruitful partnership with Danny Ings in the Championship that contributed 41 goals and Sean Dyche has brought in Lucas Jutkiewicz from Middlesborough to add further support to January signing Ashley Barnes.
Many of Burnley's hopes of avoiding relegation will rest on their shoulders with goals and strikers always at a premium and Dyche will need them to quickly adjust to the demands of playing at this stronger level.
They should certainly have a pretty good idea of what lies ahead of them by the close of play and it wouldn't entirely surprise if they were to trouble Chelsea, after all we have seen promoted sides start their Premier League campaigns strongly only to fade away.
Whether that's a case of sides working them out or adrenalin wearing off I don't know but they did finish a clear second to Leicester last season and were only beaten twice at home, winning 15 while they also conceded six fewer goals than the champions through the course of the campaign.
They may give a good account of themselves but it's hard to quibble with prices of around the 8/1 mark that they will take all three points with Chelsea unbackable for all except the big hitters at 2/5.
Among their performances on the road in the second half of last season were losses to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace and a draw with West Brom as their challenge faltered which is a reminder of their vulnerabilities last term but Jose Mourinho has been able to address a number of the 'problem' areas and it would be surprising to see his 'little horse' make mistakes at similarly innocuous obstacles this time around.
Given the Londoners defensive record, the odds-against about Chelsea winning to nil makes some appeal as does backing the Blues at -1 on the handicap and the Chelsea/Chelsea outcome in the half-time/full-time market with the southerners expected to dominate from the off.
Costa will rightly be popular in the goalscorers markets while Fabregas is well worth considering in the assists betting but while the sides and the season settles down it may pay to adopt a less specific approach.
In light of that, the 4/6 available about Chelsea -1 on the asian handicap line makes plenty of appeal as they really should start their campaign by collecting all three points but it wouldn't surprise to see Mourinho's men keep things tight.
They've started their last two campaigns with 2-0 victories and it wouldn't surprise to see that scoreline again and, as such, backing Chelsea to win and there to be under 2.5 goals in the game also takes the eye at 9/4.
Verdict: Burnley 0 Chelsea 2
Jose Mourinho has seen Chelsea win on all five opening weekends that he has been manager. In fact, the Blues are unbeaten since 1998/99 on the opening day, winning 13 of 15 games (D2).
Cesc Fabregas has scored in each of his two Premier League appearances against Burnley.
Chelsea allowed the joint-fewest shots on target against them in 2013-14 (122; along with Man City).
Burnley allowed fewer shots on target against them than any other team in the Championship last season (159).
- Preview posted at 1140 BST 17/08/2014