Here we go again

This weekend sees the return of the Premier League and the beginning of our campaign to defend the title. While our pre-season finished with the disappointment of missing out on the Community Shield on penalties, we must put it behind us and start the season well.

We begin by hosting Burnley at Stamford Bridge this Saturday, a fixture we won comfortably last season. Just like us, however, the Clarets will want the best possible start, and Antonio Conte will not have forgotten our 1-1 draw with them at Turf Moor back in February. 

The week after we head back to Wembley to face Tottenham. Spurs have become a tough test in recent seasons and always turn up against us, and we will have to be sharp to get past them. They have not had the best results at Wembley over their past few visits and will still be getting used to their temporary new home, so perhaps so early on in the season may be a preferable time to meet them.

After this the big fixtures continue. We have Everton at home and meet both Arsenal and Manchester City next month. Additionally, September brings the start of the Champions League group stages and our return to European football after a season-long sabbatical. I can’t wait to get back to European weeknight games at the Bridge. While the unwanted break allowed us to concentrate on the league last season, we can’t let the additional games and travel affect us too much. Our squad depth is imperative to this, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a few more signings before the transfer window closes at the end of August. 

The majority of our rivals have been busy during the transfer window, with many of them no doubt eager to improve on their final league table positions of last season. I fully expect the battle for the top spot to be even tougher and closer this time around. Following the departure of our captain, leader, legend John Terry, the armband has been passed over permanently to Gary Cahill, and last season showed he is more than capable of leading us in the challenging campaign that awaits.

Michy Batshuayi appeared eager and sharp during pre-season, and I expect he will be given more game time this season. He is quickly becoming a favourite among us fans, only amplified by his goal against West Brom in May which secured us the title and crowned us champions. I also have high hopes for Alvaro Morata, as both a goalscorer and creator. I hope he adapts quickly to English football - no doubt the Chelsea Spanish contingent has already made him feel welcome.

Once back from injury, Eden Hazard will return to bolster our midfield, along with Willian, Pedro, PFA and FWA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante, and new signing, Tiemoue Bakayoko. Cesc Fabregas is perhaps set for more starts this season, something a lot of Blues fans will be glad to see.

Our defence will consist of Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz, supported by Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses and Antonio Rudiger. That leaves Thibaut Courtois in goal, last season’s Golden Glove winner, along with Eduardo and Willy Caballero as back-ups.

So, here we go again. Here’s hoping we hit the ground running. Are you ready?

By Hannah Kurzawski, Chelsea fan.