Chelsea v Swansea preview: Chelsea begin title defence
Last Updated: 08/08/15 5:41pm
Chelsea will be looking to get their Premier League title defence off to the perfect start against Swansea.
Chelsea will want to put their pre-season behind them after failing to win a single game. Mourinho’s side drew with Paris St-Germain and Barcelona, but lost to New York Red Bulls and Fiorentina. Arsene Wenger also got his first win over Mourinho in 14 meetings in the Community Shield last Sunday.
Swansea drew four of their five friendlies, winning just one, but have been boosted by the arrivals of five new signings including Eder, Franck Tabanou and Andre Ayew.
Chelsea have had a relatively quiet summer, but have brought in two notable signings. Asmir Begovic signed from Stoke to replace the departing Petr Cech, as well as signing Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco.
In the 23 Premier League seasons, the defending champion has never lost on the opening day (W20, D3).
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho does not know whether Diego Costa will be fit. Costa missed last Sunday's Community Shield defeat to Arsenal with a recurrence of the hamstring problem which has persistently plagued him in recent seasons.
Chelsea season preview
All the transfer news, statistics, pundit views and odds ahead of Chelsea's 2015/16 season.
Falcao and Loic Remy are vying for the starting spot if Costa is unavailable, and Chelsea have no further concerns.
Bafetimbi Gomis has been troubled by a hamstring injury but the French striker played in Swansea's final pre-season game against Deportivo La Coruna last weekend and reported no reaction.
Ghana forward Ayew is poised to make his debut against the champions following his move from Marseille, but fellow summer signings Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Tabanou and Eder could all start on the bench.
On the opening day in Premier League history, Chelsea have won the most games (15), scored the most goals (48), won the most points (50) and have the best points per game ratio (2.17 - minimum six matches).
Last season Swansea won their opening three league matches and were one of two clubs to win all three games played in August (with Chelsea).
Chelsea are looking to become the first team since Manchester United, who won three successive titles in 06-07, 07-08 and 08-09, to retain the title. They previously won successive titles in 04-05 and 05-06 under Jose Mourinho.
Swansea’s only ever League win at Stamford Bridge in 13 attempts came in their first ever visit; a 3-1 in November 1925.
This is where the champions start. People will go on about how Chelsea lost to teams on their tour of America and how they lost to Arsenal in the Community Shield but Mourinho knows that their season starts on Saturday, make no mistake about it. I saw it with Arsenal last season when they absolutely rinsed Man City at Wembley but they were out of the title race by November.
Chelsea will be prepared and ready to go for the start of the season. Costa appears to be struggling for fitness and that's why I don't think the victory will be as comfortable as it could be, but it will be a thoroughly professional performance nonetheless.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Swansea season preview
All the transfer news, statistics, pundit views and odds ahead of Swansea's 2015/16 season.
Chelsea are big odds-on favourites at 4/11 to begin their defence of the Premier League title with a win against 8/1 outsiders Swansea on Saturday Night Football. The Blues remain firm 13/8 shots to retain their crown with Swansea 11/10 to finish in the top half this term. Mourinho's men were four nil up at half-time when the sides met back in January before routing the Swans 5-0 and are 11/10 to win to nil.
Costa scored five times against Saturday's visitors last season and is the 11/4 favourite to net first and 8/11 to score anytime. Sky Sports football pundit Jamie Redknapp is tipping a 2-1 home win with Oscar score first at odds of 35/1.
Watch Chelsea v Swansea in the Premier league live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 5pm on Saturday night. Catch the match for £6.99 on NOW TV. No contract.