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Burnley will face a stern test in the first match-week of the Premier League 2017/18, as they embark on a trip to Stamford Bridge, to take on current holders Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.
The Clarets had a solid season last time around, on their return to the top-flight as they defied the odds to survive the drop back to the Championship, eventually finishing 16th in the league standings. Manager Sean Dyche has been fairly active in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of Charlie Taylor, Jonathan Walter, Phil Bardsley and Jack Cork so far. The club lost Michael Keane in the summer to Everton, but have shown in the pre-season that they can cope without the former Manchester United man.
There are no real injury concerns for Dyche and Burnley, with just midfielder Dean Marney unavailable due to his anterior cruciate ligament injury. Andre Gray will not be a part of the team as the striker has completed a £18.5million move to Watford. (The Guardian).
Here is how Burnley could take the field against the Premier League champions:
Dyche experimented with a 4-3-3 and a 4-4-1-1 in the pre-season and we may see him use a three-man midfield against the Blues on Saturday.
The club captain is the undisputed first-choice between the sticks for the Clarets and he will rightfully start at the Bridge.
The right-back slot will be taken up by Matthew Lowton. The 28-year old was a consistent performer throughout last season and should start as the first-choice ahead of Tendayi Darikwa.
The centre-back made a return from long-term injury late last season and has gone on to sign a new three-year deal with the club. Was very impressive in the pre-season, and he could start against Chelsea.
Long will be partnered by the ever-so consistent Ben Mee. Alongside Keane, he forged an excellent partnership last season and will want to establish a similar connection with his new partner in the heart of the defence.
The 23-year old arrived for free from Leeds United after his contract expired. An exciting talent, he could get the nod ahead of veteran Stephen Ward.
The Republic of Ireland international was one of the better performers for the club last season and comes on the back of a decent pre-season. Will start in the midfield.
The summer arrival knows the league well and has shown that he can shield the defence well, during his stints with Southampton and Swansea. Will operate as the deepest of the midfield three.
The Belgian was widely tipped to leave in the summer, but has stayed back with the Clarets and has had a more than decent pre-season. Will add great quality to the midfield.
The Icelandic international spent large parts of last season on the treatment tables, but having started the pre-season strongly, he could start on the right-hand side.
The veteran summer signing has been among the goals in the pre-season and should get the nod in the attack.
The former Aston Villa man seems like he has settled down well finally and has that ability to produce a moment of magic every now and then. Should occupy the left-hand side of the attack.