After a high-powered opening fixture, a 5 – 0 win for Manchester City v Liverpool, there were a lot of questions for the rest of the EPL’s “big teams” to answer.

How would they respond? Would there be any more game-changing red cards this weekend? And for Chelsea, were they really back to last season’s form, or were Everton just tired from the Europa league?

How would Chelsea line up at the King Power, with a big Champions League game on Tuesday? Would Eden Hazard finally return from injury? Would Danny Drinkwater start against his old side?

And everybody loves the internationals but… OK no that’s not true. If you’re a club with lots of players out with their national teams, the international break is a testing couple of weeks. Your players could come back injured or jet-lagged, or even a little mixed up from playing a different system. If your team were doing well before, they could easily lose momentum after the break. So did Chelsea have an international hang-over? […]

Champions Chelsea began their second home game of the season twelfth in the premier league table. They hosted Everton at Stamford Bridge, whom at kick off, were a well-deserved four places ahead of them in eighth.

Last week we witnessed Antonio Conte’s Italian job, in which Chelsea snatched all three points to make Wembley even less comfortable for Tottenham than it already was. It was a brilliant performance tactically, Conte deploying a bristling Roman testudo shield wall, with six center backs and defensive midfielders in two ranks of three each. So what would the shape and tactics be this week, against an improving Everton side?

Everton, had shown good defensive quality so far this season, conceding only one goal in their previous two games against Stoke City at home and Manchester City away. They might have had a few tired legs from their midweek trip to Hajduk Split in Croatia, but they’d been a quietly efficient side so far this season. […]

It was the perfect storm. The premier league champions had lost their first game of the season to Burnley FC, who’d barely avoided relegation last season. They also had four starters out to suspension and injury, and their next game was an away derby against Tottenham. Their manager had signed a new contract on increased wages, but ominously, no extension.

Ex-Chelsea players Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Kevin de Bruyne and Mo Salah were showing themselves to be among the best players in their respective positions in the premier league – playing for Chelsea’s title rivals.

And want-away striker Diego Costa sat above the entire dismal mess, firing furious demands and accusations at his club from a distance, like thunderbolts from some angry Azteca god. […]

After the long wait, Premier League football was finally back! It was match day one of the new season. Chelsea FC were the reigning champions, having won the league with games to spare – just like in 2015. They had also lost their Community Shield opener to Arsenal – just like in 2015. Club manager Antonio Conte and his players were desperate to avoid any further parallels to predecessor Jose Mourinho’s disastrous final season at the club.

Chelsea had endured a challenging run up to the new season, following two wins against Fulham and Arsenal with two tough losses against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. A tumultuous summer transfer window had also resulted in significant changes to their starting line-up, with Nemanja Matic off to Manchester United, top scorer Diego Costa in exile and talisman Eden Hazard injured. Although they should have been consolidating this season, Chelsea were once again firmly in transition mode. […]