It has been a quiet summer for the football lovers who had to make do with the boring international friendlies in the absence of the elite European Leagues which had taken a break. One dominant league is the English Premier League that has enthusiastic followers across the globe. Chelsea is the defending champion in a league that is quickly becoming difficult to defend. This article will give an incisive analysis and the prospect that Chelsea has to defend a trophy that now belongs to them.

The league began on Friday with Arsenal defeating Leicester city in an electrifying game that produced multiple goals.

The raining goals continued throughout the weekend with Liverpool sharing the spoil in a six-goal thriller, Manchester United whipped West Ham United 4-0 to remain top of the log in Week 1 proceedings. The highlight of the weekend is, however, the defeat that the reigning champions suffered at the hands of the less-fancied Burnley. Before the game, Chelsea hadn't lost an opening day fixture since 1998. The loss ensured that Chelsea broke several negative records. Will Chelsea retain their glory after losing the opening day fixture in front of their fans?

The Red-Card factor?

Chelsea broke the record as the first team to see two red cards on their opening day of title defense in a game that show the visiting underdogs go ahead at the break with three goals.

The game became difficult for the host after Gary Cahill earned a direct red card with less than 15 minutes of the game played. It was Cahill's first league game as Chelsea captain after John Terry's departure. The game became unbearable for Chelsea with Burnley exploiting the host's numerical disadvantage.

The next red card for the London outfit came as a result of two bookable offenses to the midfield maestro, Cesc Fabregas in the closing minutes of the game.

However, Chelsea still managed to grab one more goal to make their tally to two in a game that they nearly realized a remarkable comeback.

The red-cards meant that Chelsea has received the big cards in their last three competitive matches. In fact, it's through red cards that Arsenal managed to beat Chelsea and win both the FA Cup and Community shield.

The bad part is that Conte's side has failed to win in the previous three games they got the red cards. If Chelsea continues to play recklessly, they'll get more red cards that will tilt the title race in favor of their sworn opponent.

Squad depth

Some football pundits say that there's no point of changing a winning team, something that the Chelsea technician has deviated from. It's one team that won for the Blues the trophy last season in a season that the manager was lucky not to see his first team get injuries. It meant that the same team was available weekend after weekend. The squad reduction has seen Nemanja Matic who was dependable in the midfield join Manchester United in the summer transfer.

Another component of the title-winning side is Diego Costa who's currently unsettled at Stamford Bridge with the arrival of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid. Can the injury-prone Bakayoko fill the void that Matic has left?

Chelsea seems to be the only side with less than Twenty-Five players in their first team squad. With the low depth in the squad, the injuries and suspension can be catastrophic to the team that has few players on the bench. The Blues can count themselves lucky with the condition of Diego Costa who wasn't able to secure a transfer after the manager clearly told him (Costa) that he wasn't in Conte's plan.

Currently, Chelsea has only three attackers in their first team including the disgruntle Costa.

It means that if there's suspension or injury to either of the two strikers, then a greater magnitude of selection looms. Michy Batshuayi, who's one of the Chelsea strikers, hasn't played top-flight football and cannot be depended upon to lead the hunt of goals for the defending champions. On the other hand, Alvaro Morata who's the other striker, despite playing for the top sides like Juventus and Real Madrid hasn't scored beyond 15 goals in a season. In the end, Chelsea will blame themselves for rattling Diego Costa whose goals won the Blues the prestigious trophy.

Strength of the challengers

Last season Chelsea and Liverpool rode on the advantage of not being involved in the European competitions which congests fixtures, invites injuries and brings fatigue.

This season Chelsea will have to contend playing both at the weekend and mid-day with their narrow squad that they haven't done much recruitment to bolster it. Chelsea's main rivals have broad teams with immense talents.

The Red Devils, for instance, made several big names summer acquisitions to enable them gun for the trophy that has alluded them since Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho's side has acquired Romelu Lukaku from Everton. The Belgian attacker nearly won the golden boots last but stumbled a few games to the end of the season allowing Harry Kane to defend his boots. The Devils also got the signature of Nemanja Matic who was pivotal in Chelsea's success in the previous season.

Another favorite for the trophy are the Red Devils' neighbors, Manchester City. The Citizens squad looks fine without even making summer signing. I can say that they weren't lucky last season to mount enough challenge for the English elite title. The Etihad Stadium's outfit were the last English side to be eliminated from Champions League last season, something that destabilized their priorities. The Citizens can find themselves lucky if their talisman Sergio Aguero can avoid injuries and suspensions that made him exit the race for golden boots.

Other challengers for the trophy are fellow London city dwellers but towards the North. Tottenham Hotspurs who currently use the Wembley stadium as their home arena have proved in the past two seasons that they've what it takes to gun for domestic glory.

They have good depth and quality players who deliver under their able manager, Mauricio Pochettino. Arsenal who found themselves finishing outside the Champions League spot last season for the first time in many years. The Gunners will be keen to resurrect their hopes of finishing in Top Four or probably carrying the crown after signing Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac. Are Chelsea capable of repeating their success once again the same way they did when Jose Mourinho came to London in his first spell?