PMB: Chelsea v Burnley - talking points

The champions' league defence starts with a Saturday 3pm kick-off, and here club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton begin their Pre-Match Briefing…



Ah! The opening exchanges of the campaign… We recall Poyet’s volley, Stanic’s missile, Deco’s thump, hitting Derby for five and the Baggies for six (Liverpool, too, for our most venerable supporters). We remember seeing off West Ham's ‘World Cup winners’ on their own patch, and Cesc Fabregas’s geometric pass for Andre Schurrle to score at Turf Moor in 2014/15.

The opening exchange of the season is a time when belief is fit to burst, hope is pristine and dreams can be realised. The Premier League champions will start their defence without live TV coverage for the first time since 2003. The cameras will miss Eden Hazard walking the trophy around the pitch before kick-off, but those lucky enough to be inside the Bridge will not.

In bringing a fifth Premier League title to Stamford Bridge, head coach Antonio Conte became the fourth Italian to lead a team to the championship, and the fourth coach to do so in his maiden season in charge.

The trick, now, is to make the best start to doing what no English club has managed since 2009 – retain the Premier League title. It is a feat the Italian managed with remarkable diligence as coach of Juventus.

More often than not the opening day of the season has been a pleasant one for Chelsea supporters. In fact, you have to go back to 1998 to find a defeat – a debacle at Coventry in which the Blues were trailing 0-2 after a quarter-of-an-hour. Happily, there have been 15 wins (and three draws) to savour since then.