Chelsea found themselves in an interesting predicament toward the end of the 2013-14 season. The Blues remained in the running for a Premier League title late into the year (though Manchester City and Liverpool would eventually pull away), but also managed to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
In the end, neither resulted in a trophy.
The club's 2014-15 season begins with a trip to newly promoted Burnley, revealed by the club's official Twitter account:
Burnley away is our 1st league fixture with Leicester at home the following weekend. Sunderland at home is final game. Full list soon. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) June 18, 2014
The expectations will once again be high in Jose Mourinho's second year in his second stint as Chelsea manager. Cesc Fabregas has arrived, Diego Costa is expected to follow, and the goal will be the same: Win every piece of silverware available.
Let's see whom they'll face and when they'll face them in their quest to win the Premier League this season.
|Aug. 16.||3 p.m. BST||Burnley (a)|
|Aug. 23.||3 p.m. BST||Leicester (h)|
|Aug. 30.||3 p.m. BST||Everton (a)|
|Sept.13.||3 p.m. BST||Swansea (h)|
|Sept. 20.||3 p.m. BST||Manchester City (a)|
|Sept. 27.||3 p.m. BST||Aston Villa (h)|
|Oct. 4.||3 p.m. BST||Arsenal (h)|
|Oct.18.||3 p.m. BST||Crystal Palace (a)|
|Oct. 25.||3 p.m. BST||Manchester United (a)|
|Nov. 1.||3 p.m. GMT||Queens Park Rangers (h)|
|Nov. 8.||3 p.m. GMT||Liverpool (a)|
|Nov. 22.||3 p.m. GMT||West Brom (h)|
|Nov. 29.||3 p.m. GMT||Sunderland (a)|
|Dec. 3.||7.45 p.m. GMT||Tottenham Hotspur (h)|
|Dec. 6.||3 p.m. GMT||Newcastle (a)|
|Dec. 13.||3 p.m. GMT||Hull (h)|
|Dec. 20.||3 p.m. GMT||Stoke (a)|
|Dec. 26.||3 p.m. GMT||West Ham (h)|
|Dec. 28.||3 p.m. GMT||Southampton (a)|
|Jan. 1.||3 p.m. GMT||Tottenham Hotspur (a)|
|Jan. 10.||3 p.m. GMT||Newcastle (h)|
|Jan. 17.||3 p.m. GMT||Swansea (a)|
|Jan. 31.||3 p.m. GMT||Manchester City (h)|
|Feb. 7.||3 p.m. GMT||Aston Villa (a)|
|Feb. 11.||7.45 p.m. GMT||Everton (h)|
|Feb. 21.||3 p.m. GMT||Burnley (h)|
|Feb. 28.||3 p.m. GMT||Leicester (a)|
|Mar. 3.||7.45 p.m. GMT||West Ham (a)|
|Mar. 14.||3 p.m. GMT||Southampton (h)|
|Mar. 21.||3 p.m. GMT||Hull (a)|
|Apr. 4.||3 p.m. BST||Stoke (h)|
|Apr. 11.||3 p.m. BST||Queens Park Rangers (a)|
|Apr. 18.||3 p.m. BST||Manchester United (h)|
|Apr. 25.||3 p.m. BST||Arsenal (a)|
|May 2.||3 p.m. BST||Crystal Palace (h)|
|May 9.||3 p.m. BST||Liverpool (h)|
|May 16.||3 p.m. BST||West Brom (a)|
|May 24.||3 p.m. BST||Sunderland (h)|
A lot of teams will want their revenge against Chelsea this season, specifically the league's best teams.
In their 12 games against the other six teams that comprised the top seven last year, Chelsea only lost to Everton in September, 1-0, winning or drawing every other match. That means against Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United, they took an impressive 27 out of 36 possible points.
They also beat City and Liverpool (the teams that finished above them in the table) twice apiece in the league. So how in the world did Chelsea fail to win the league title?
By playing down to the level of their opponents, that's how.
Ultimately, costly losses against Newcastle, Stoke City, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Sunderland—and a slew of draws against inferior competition, too—were the difference between winning the league and finishing third.
One would imagine Mourinho and his staff would place a greater importance on remaining focused against the league's less-talented clubs this season. On the other hand, Chelsea will need to find a way to keep their form against the best of the best. City will be as strong as ever, while Liverpool, Arsenal (if they can stay healthy) and Manchester United all will surely be improved.
Perhaps a bit of turnover in the squad will aid in that goal. Defender David Luiz and midfielder Frank Lampard have moved on, for starters, and Lampard was all class as he bid his goodbye to the club in early June in a statement, via ESPN:
The club will move forward, and as a Chelsea man I have no doubt that with the quality of the players that are there, they will continue with the success that we have all enjoyed over the past seasons.
Finally and most importantly, I would like to thank the Chelsea fans. I believe they are the greatest fans in world football. You have supported me from the moment I arrived. Not only on the pitch, but in difficult moments in my personal life off the pitch. I will never forget.
I feel honoured to have shared so many special times with you. Bolton, Amsterdam, Munich, the list goes on and on. I, and we as a team, could not have achieved those moments without your support.
Whatever the next challenge is for me I will always be amongst you and have Chelsea in my home and in my heart. Hopefully I will get to see you all soon to say goodbye properly. In the meantime thank you for the memories and keep making history!
Oliver Kay of The Times thinks he'll be remembered as one of Chelsea's two best players of all time:
So it's a fond farewell from Frank Lampard to Chelsea. History will surely judge him as their all-time No 1 player. Well, so far, at least.— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) June 2, 2014
Drogba won Chelsea all-time greatest player vote in 2012. Osgood and Zola are traditional favourites. I'd suggest Lampard and Terry 1 and 2.— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) June 2, 2014
With Luiz and Lampard gone, the defence and midfield will need to be addressed. Fabregas' arrival goes a long way toward achieving the latter.
But attack is obviously the top priority—Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba just won't cut it at a club of Chelsea's ambitions—though the Blues have the luxury of Romelu Lukaku returning to them as well as the highly expected capture of Costa..
Adding a deep-lying playmaker like Fabregas to pair with Nemanja Matic in Chelsea's midfield will be key. Chelsea relied on a strong defence and dangerous counter-attack a season ago, but at times the team looked a bit uninspired when they were in control of possession.
It will be fascinating to see how Mourinho and the Blues will evolve in Year 2 of the manager's second stay. Will his mind games work or hurt the club? Will players like Eden Hazard and Oscar take the next step to superstardom? How much longer can veterans like John Terry continue to perform?
The answers to those questions will impact Chelsea's level of success this season.