Premier League: Chelsea vs. Hull City

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The 18th season of Premier League kicks off this afternoon with an eagerly anticipated opening match between Chelsea and Hull City.

John Terry and the rest of his team are desperate to end Manchester United’s three-year reign as champs and take the crown back to west London for the first time since 2006. Carlo Ancelotti, the new Chelsea boss, has predicted Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka will score the goals to win them the title.

The Blues looked in good shape against the Reds in the Community Shield last weekend. Unfortunately they are without a number of players for their opening clash with the Tigers because of some injuries. New signing Yuri Zhirkov is out with knee problems, while Juliano Belletti and defender Alex are also set to miss out.

According to reports, American striker Jozy Altidore will also miss the game due to work permit issues. He is still in the U.S. trying to fix paperwork and will not make it to England in time for the match.

PREDICTION: Hull did manage several wins last season. However, a victory in this EPL opener is unthinkable.

Game time is 12:45 p.m. London (7:45 a.m. ET) at Stamford Bridge.

UPDATE: Chelsea won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. Didier Drogba scored twice after Stephen Hunt had given Hull the lead in the first half.