Our resident Stateside blogger, Stephen Rea, is back for another season and to kick off the new campaign, he looks ahead to today's Premier League opener at Old Trafford... Chelsea fans all over the USA are sighing with relief now that the Premier League is back. Much as I’ve missed watching the Blues play competitively every week, I feel like the summer has flown by.

It seems like no time at all that I was in Boston to see the Londoners take on the New England Revolution in May, then I went to the opening pr-eseason fixture against Bohemians in Dublin in July.

Normally I only get to watch Chelsea play live once a year, either in the UK or when they tour the States, so to see them twice in the space of eight weeks - but in different campaigns - has compressed the close season for me.

I was really busy. Two trips across the Atlantic to Ireland, a visit to France for the Women’s World Cup, a five-day break in Holland, my daughter staying with me here in New Orleans and now the season is about to get underway, although I can hardly believe our domestic opener is here already.

Often it feels like the club season arrives early in the “even” years when we have either the European Championship or the World Cup. But we had neither in 2019. The Copa America and the African Cup of Nations were staged in June and July, but they did not attract much attention either in the UK or in America.

We Chelsea fans had good reason to follow the Gold Cup, the North and Central American tournament, with our new signing Christian Pulisic starring for the USA. But aside from our new forward’s performances, the competition barely registered on the general football conscience in Britain.

And even though the USA made the final, Stateside their run was overshadowed by the World Cup-winning women’s national team. As a local Louisiana “soccer expert” (don’t laugh), I was asked to do four radio interviews about the females. I did not receive a single request from sports shows in the region asking me to discuss the men’s tournament.

If you spent the off season counting down the days until you could cheer on Chelsea again, you have my sympathy. For me it’s been the blink of an eye. Either way though, I’m sure you will join me in welcoming back the Boys in Blue.

By Stephen Rea, Blogger from America