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Trip to Burnley an interesting first assignment for new-look Chelsea.

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Tonight Chelsea must dress appropriately. Last season Jose Mourinho complained that some of his players did not sufficiently grasp the differing demands of the Premier League.

They had, said the Portuguese in a memorable metaphor, a tendency to wear jeans to weddings and smoking jackets for a stroll in the park. Turf Moor this evening will be no place for sports casual.

Mourinho is confident the changes his club have made this summer mean his team will not look as ill-suited for purpose as they did on some such occasions last term. But Burnley will be hell-bent on putting a dent in that confidence.

Sean Dyche’s newly promoted side, who lost just twice in 23 home Championship matches last season, will be propelled by the raucous majority of a 22,500 capacity crowd at Turf Moor. It is a trial that will evoke memories of the trip to Selhurst Park in March, when Chelsea were beaten by Crystal Palace – that defeat, and other timid performances against well-drilled, skilled underdogs ultimately cost Mourinho’s men the title.

Mourinho foresees his four major signings making a significant impact and congratulates his club for procuring Diego CostaCesc FabregasDidier Drogba and Filipe Luis while turning a profit in transfer fees thanks notably to selling David Luiz, Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba.

Those four new arrivals have the character to help Chelsea gut it out in games. More than just being battle-hardened, of course, each of those players offers better-honed skills.

Costa is more powerful than any of the strikers that Chelsea had last term and more adept at holding up the ball. Fabregas has a keen eye for an incisive early pass and an instinct for contributing goals from midfield.

Filipe Luis is a natural left-footer who can attack and defend relentlessly while Cesar Azpilicueta, who did an admirable job on the left last season, can do the same in his more familiar position on the right.

Aerial power

Drogba offers aerial power, leadership and the promise of having an impact on tight matches when introduced. In addition to those purchases, two returned loanees excite Mourinho: the 19-year-old Kurt Zouma offers extra cover at centre-back and, most of all, Thibaut Courtois,looks ready to assume the position of Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper.

 The composition of the side he sends out at Burnley may not be exactly in keeping with what Mourinho considers his strongest XI because players who reached the latter stages of the World Cup are not yet as fit as others; but he does expect the team he names to show the attitude that will take them higher than last season.


Guardian Service

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