This will be a tough second season for Antonio Conte and Chelsea.
Chelsea finished top of last seasons Premier League, winning their second title in three years and first under Conte.
It is an incredible achievement for Conte, especially given the quality of opponents and managers in the top six.
With a new two-year contract extension the Italian will be looking to continue Chelsea’s domestic dominance and progress in the Champions League.
They will find this season a tough challenge, with the return of European football they will have to build a strong squad capable of dealing with those demands.
Chelsea’s opening fixture of this brand new Premier League campaign is against Burnley on Saturday 12th August, at Stamford Bridge.
Their next four fixtures are:
Spurs (A) 20th August
Everton (H) 26th August
Leicester (A) 9th September
Arsenal (H) 17th September
This will be a tough set of opening fixtures for the Blues, with games against Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham inside the first month.
Those fixtures will set the tone of Chelsea’s season, with a run of defeats getting them off to a poor start prior to their European adventures.
Their record against the top six last season was good, despite losing against Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham.
Chelsea managed an incredible 30 wins during their last campaign, ending the season with 93 points, a 7 point gap between them and second place.
This was a massive improvement on the 2015/16 campaign, where they won 12 matches and registered just 50 points, finishing a lowly 10th.
As a result of finishing tenth, the Blues didn’t have to contend with European football unlike all of their rivals.
The big challenge for Chelsea and Conte will be to maintain challenges on both fronts, an extremely difficult task.
It is a very tough balancing act that Conte must now take, with Chelsea desperate for a second Champions League trophy.
Playing fixtures on a Tuesday or Wednesday and then playing on the Saturday or Sunday will place huge demands on the Chelsea players.
But it is also an excellent opportunity to deliver a major European trophy for Chelsea, something Abramovich hugely desires.
If Chelsea are to compete on all fronts they will need to strengthen their squad, bringing in quality to enhance both the squad and first team.
They have already made some huge signings including Alvaro Morata and Bakayoko from Monaco.
The future of Diego Costa is yet to be determined, with the Spain frontman linked with Atletico Madrid.
Nemanja Matic also appears to be set for the Stamford Bridge exit door, after the club signed Bakayoko.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain has also been linked with Antonio Conte’s side, with his contract at Arsenal set to expire.
Transfers In: Ethan Ampadu (Exeter City), Tiemoue Bakayoko (Monaco), Willy Caballero (Manchester City),
Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid) and Antonio Rudiger (Roma).
Transfers Out: Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth), Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford), Alex Kiwomya (Doncaster Rovers), Bertrand Traore (Lyon) and Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) (Loan).
One To Watch
Alvaro Morata is the one to watch for Chelsea this season.
The Spaniard has huge boots to fill, with Diego Costa now seemingly surplus to requirements at the club.
His pace and style are electric, the Blues will be delighted to have secured his signature after a move to United never materialised.
Chelsea will need his goals if they are to mount a serious title and European charge.
To win the 17/18 Premier League outright @ 11/1
To secure a top four finish @ 10/11
To win the UEFA Champions League 17/18 @ 9/1
To win the FA or League Cup @ 6/1