Chelsea Proves Their Mettle In Dominant Opening Victory Over Burnley

By Matt Johnson
Burnley v Chelsea - Premier League
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Everyone knows the transfer season opens doors for some clubs while shutting them for others. In the case of Chelsea, the door has never been more open than it is now.

After adding the likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Felipe Luis and Didier Drogba during Europe’s latest cycle of player movement, the Blues became a trendy pick to win the Premier League title in 2014-15. With one fixture in the books against Burnley, Chelsea certainly appears worthy of the tag as favorites.

After falling behind in the opening 14 minutes, coach Jose Mourinho’s squad simply brushed off the Clarets to the tune of an impressive 3-1 final. Costa, whose acquisition has been cited as the main impetus for Chelsea’s installation as favorite, started the scoring for the Blues with his first goal in the 17th minute.

It was Andre Schurrle’s goal four minutes later that should cause the greatest concern for future opponents, however.  The result of a beautiful passing play between Schurrle and Fabregas, the tally showcased a more adventurous and creative attacking style than the Blues have possessed in the past.

No single player figures to benefit more from Fabregas’ presence in midfield than Eden Hazard, the flashy Belgian who has dictated Chelsea’s offense for much of the past two years. With Hazard and Fabregas playing side-by-side in the middle, Chelsea now boasts a midfield duo that rivals any in Europe. Add in the confident and physical Costa along with a silky smooth goal-scoring threat in Schurrle and the Blues can attack in a variety of ways.

Defense has always been a strong point for Chelsea and with experienced stalwarts like Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry helping keep things organized, the Blues are set in the back.  Goaltender Thibault Courtois was already considered one of the world’s best before he assumed the top role for Mourinho’s team, further adding to Chelsea’s steadiness in the defensive third.

With all the additions on offense, Chelsea has the look of a major threat to win the Premier League this season. They now possess the necessary combination of skill, creativity and depth to hang with anyone.

Manchester City, last year’s champions, have remained largely quiet during the transfer window and appear ready to stand with most of last season’s roster intact. Arsenal managed to snare Alexis Sanchez but must overcome a lack of consistency from last season in order to become a true contender. Liverpool is attempting to compensate for the loss of Luis Suarez while Manchester United seems at least a year or two away from making a serious run back to the top of the domestic table.

Add it all up and the door is indeed open for the Blues to win the Premier League. With a roster chalked full of talent, expectations are understandably high at Stamford Bridge and the pressure is on Mourinho to produce a league champion.

Even as the pressure mounts, Chelsea looks to have everything in place. If Monday’s season opener against Burnley is an accurate indicator of the Blues’ upcoming performance this season, a nice piece of hardware may be awaiting Mourinho and his team in May.

Matt Johnson is a Big Ten Conference basketball writer who also writes about soccer for Follow him on Twitter at mattytheole or “like” him on Facebook.

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