Chelsea will have the chance to see what all their rivals for the Premier League title do before kicking off their own domestic campaign against newly-promoted Burnley on Monday evening.
Many are tipping Jose Mourinho’s side to reclaim the title given the summer arrivals that compliment an already impressive squad. But having good players is only the start; it is now up to the Portuguese manager to mould them into a cup-winning team.
Here are the 11 Chelsea players I expect to line up against Burnley on Monday.
Whether you are in the Courtois camp or the Cech camp, the simple fact is Chelsea have two outstanding goalkeepers at their disposal and that is a wonderful problem to have. While Petr Cech has the Premier League experience, Thibaut Courtois’s spell at Atletico Madrid means the Blues could ignore him no longer.
I expect him to start the campaign ahead of Cech, but whether he remains number one all season is another question entirely.
While competition at right-back remains in the form of Branislav Ivanovic, I expect Cesar Azpilicueta to be reinstated into his natural position after a spell on the opposite flank last season.
The strength in depth at Chelsea is clear for all to see, with at least two players for every position, but the Spanish international’s more natural wide-play should see him get the nod over his Serbian teammate.
The Chelsea captain will continue at the heart of their defence for some time to come. And while the likes of Kurt Zouma and the on-loan Tomas Kalas are the future of the club, John Terry should play the majority of the big games in the short-term.
Gary Cahill continues to impress and may be eyeing the Chelsea captaincy in the longer term. For now he will simply focus continuing his impressive partnership with Terry as the Blues look to win a title that eluded them last season.
The new left-back shone for Atletico Madrid last season and I expect him to do the same for Chelsea this year. A natural wide-man with the ability to defend effectively and attack with pace, he could become one of the signings of the summer.
After returning to Chelsea in January – and immediately showing how much he had matured as a player – Nemanja Matic could go on to inspire the Blues to great things this season.
With a full pre-season under his belt and a summer off, Matic could be for Chelsea what Yaya Toure was for Manchester City last season. And I expect him to be on the short-list for more than one Player of the Year award as well.
It may have surprised many, but Cesc Fabregas’s arrival at Chelsea could be every bit as important as the signing of Diego Costa.
The former Arsenal player will have plenty to prove having returned to London and he could help fire his new club to a trophy or two.
After a disappointing World Cup campaign, it will be interesting to see how Eden Hazard does for Chelsea after shining in the previous campaign.
The good thing is the pressure has been taken off him somewhat following the signings of Costa, Fabregas and Didier Drogba. But he will want to prove last season was not as good as it gets for the mercurial Belgian.
Willian is one of the hardest workers in the Premier League and for that reason – among others – I expect him to start for Jose Mourinho’s side on Monday.
He will want to put a disappointing summer behind him and he can become an integral part of this Chelsea squad.
Patience has been the key with Oscar in recent times, but it is now time for him to consistently prove just how good he is. A regular starter for both club and country, he still has a lot to prove. If he does not start performing on a consistent basis, Chelsea have plenty of players who will.
The prolific Spanish international has already showed what he can do during pre-season. But it is what he does during the competitive action that will show just how well Chelsea spent their summer transfer kitty.
If Costa can replicate his form for Atletico Madrid in London, he can fire his new club all the way to the title.
Who would you like to see start for Chelsea against Burnley?