Radamel Falcao Chelsea
There is a lot of pressure on new Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao to perform in the expected absence of Diego CostaReuters

Chelsea and Jose Mourinho might not have strengthened their team considerably after romping to the title last season, but the West London club remain the clear favourites to retain their crown, and they will look to show why when Swansea City pay a visit to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday.

Last season, Chelsea started strong and they stayed the course really well to comfortably see off their rivals for the Premier League title. This season, the rivals – Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool – have all strengthened their squads, and how Chelsea cope with the increased competition will be interesting to see.

If there is one thing they cannot do to start the season, it is take Swansea lightly, after Garry Monk's team showed just how good a side they are last time around, while also beginning their campaign in the best possible manner with a win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

"The dream is to beat Swansea, I have no more dreams for the season," Mourinho said when asked if he was thinking of Chelsea defending their title. "We go week after week.

"We are the champions, we play with that gold thing on our shirt. I want the players to feel that way. It is a big challenge for us this season."

Monk showed last season the positives of taking a punt on a young manager, and the former Swansea defender is also relishing the challenge of upsetting the Premier League champions on Premier League opening day.

"It doesn't come any tougher than this start, going to the home of the champions," Monk said. "But we will relish the challenge and try to come away having put on a good performance.

"We've put a lot of hard work in during preseason. The new signings came in early, so we have had the group together to prepare for a good five or six weeks, and we're looking forward to the season now.

"If we can put in a good performance and take that into the rest of the season, it would be great."

Chelsea's problems, at the moment, lie in the striking department, with Diego Costa not expected to be fit enough to start the match against Swansea, having missed the Community Shield against Arsenal as well as the preseason loss to Fiorentina on Wednesday due to a hamstring problem.

Radamel Falcao has been tipped by Mourinho to step in Costa's absence, with Loic Remy also looking to make an impression. Having failed to trouble the Arsenal defence in the Community Shield last Sunday, Mourinho will hope for a bit more bite up front from the duo in this match against Swansea, or else it could be another scalp for Monk's side.

Premier League Chelsea vs Swansea City Schedule: Saturday, 8 August (5.30 pm BST, 10 pm IST, 12.30 pm ET) at Stamford Bridge.

The match will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports 1, in India on Star Sports 4 and in the US on NBC Sports.

Also read