Monday marks the start of another new Premier League season for the Blues, as they kick off their 2020/2021 Premier League campaign away at the Amex stadium against Brighton & Hove Albion. Of course, it will not be as tough a game as the campaign opening fixture that we were given against Manchester United last season, but it promises to be a good opening game, and one where Chelsea will be hoping to take all three points, to get off to a good start ahead of their home fixture against Liverpool.
Brighton, on the other hand, will be looking to begin the season fresh and hit the ground running, taking a bit of confidence from the 1-1 draw when they faced Chelsea in pre-season to try and frustrate them on opening day.
When these two sides last met at the beginning of the new year, it ended in a 1-1 draw at the Amex, with Cesar Azpilicueta scoring early on for Chelsea, and Brighton stealing a point through a spectacular effort from Alireza Jahanbaksh in the dying embers of the game. When they met earlier in the campaign, Chelsea had taken a comfortable 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge with goals from Jorginho and Willian.
Chelsea’s overall record against Brighton shows that it has been a favourable fixture in the past for us, meeting 14 times in all competitions, while winning 11 of them. Brighton have never beaten Chelsea in the Premier League, and last season was the only time when Chelsea dropped points against the Seagulls in the league. The Blues have won 11 of their last 12 games against Brighton in all competitions and have scored 26 goals in those fixtures, conceding only 3.
Frank Lampard’s new look Chelsea side will be looking to make a good start to this campaign, having procured a number of new players into the squad with the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell being added to the squad. However, out of these new signings, only Timo Werner and Kai Havertz will be available for selection, with Ziyech and Chilwell out with injuries, and the game coming too early for Thiago Silva to participate in. Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta, who both had to be subbed off during the FA Cup final due to injuries, are both fit and available for selection again. Billy Gilmour is also out because of his long-term injury.
The formation that Chelsea will lineup in is still unclear but it could be presumed that we may keep Christian Pulisic on the bench as he has just recovered from an injury, and Kai Havertz may be on the bench as well, having arrived not long ago and with no pre season game time under his belt.
Meanwhile, Graham Potter’s side will be missing Jose Izquiedero and Christian Walton, who are both recovering from injury, the rest of the players are fit and ready for the Chelsea game and Potter will have a full squad to choose from and would still have to assess some of the players that have come back from international duty before picking his XI. Chelsea will have to look out for the dangers of Neal Maupay, the French striker, who will shoulder the responsibility of netting a goal, coming off the back of a very good individual season. Tariq Lamptey, the Chelsea academy graduate, will also be in the squad for Brighton, making his return to face his former club, where he had got his first break into the senior team last season before securing a move to the Amex.
Frank Lampard’s tricky blues will be out to send a message to the rest of the league, to show that their new-look squad can compete and show some improvements to last season, both offensively and defensively. Having said that, it is still the first game of the season, so Chelsea will be far from the finished article, especially without a decent pre-season behind them. Brighton looks like a favourable fixture on paper, with them being set for another relegation tussle, but it will by no means be a walk in the park. No doubt, our excitement for the new season is peaked by the new Germans that may be on show at the Amex, with Timo Werner and Kai Havertz set to make their debuts. Brighton will be up for it defensively, which is why we may need something special to unlock them, which may well be a good setup for one of our new signings to make an impact.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Mount, Barkley; Werner, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi.
Brighton & Hove Albion (5-3-2): Ryan; March, Webster, Dunk, White; March, Lamptey; Bissouma, Alzate, Lallana; Trossard, Maupay.
Do you think Chelsea will start the season with three points? Let us know your thoughts on the game.