Chelsea are out to send a message to the rest of the competition in tonight’s opening game of their Premier League campaign away to Brighton.
Questions will finally be answered on Chelsea’s overall level of competitiveness in tonight’s trip to Brighton, with everyone eager to see whether the new-look Blues have what it takes to challenge for the Premier League title.
Frank Lampard knows results are a must after the club spent €223.2m in the summer transfer window. It’s a make-or-break scenario for the manager ahead of his second season at the helm. Thus, he’ll be keen to send a message to all their rivals with a convincing victory at the south coast.
But while Brighton are not expected to pose much of a threat, injuries to several key Chelsea players could change the dynamic of tonight’s showdown at the Amex.
Brighton Form & Stats
Improving on a 15th-place finish in the 2019/20 Premier League is a must for Brighton after spending their first three seasons back in the English top-flight scrambling for survival.
The Seagulls have never finished any higher than 15th since returning in 2017/18 and ended last season poorly. In fact, they’ve recorded just three wins in their 18 league matches in 2020 so far.
In an attempt to improve their fortunes, Brighton have welcomed five new signings for just €3.55m. The captures of Liverpool’s Adam Lallana and Ajax’s Joel Veltman, in particular, could prove to be smart additions. Therefore, they’ll be quietly confident of moving up the table this season.
Graham Potter’s side can also take heart from the fact now could be an opportune moment to face Chelsea. Their poor record against them may suggest otherwise, but visitors do head to Amex without several key stars (see Team News below).
Key Team Stats
– An equal league-best of 14 draws last season (seven both home and away).
– Only three wins in 18 league games in 2020 (D9 L6).
– Under 2.5 goals in last 3 games against Chelsea.
– Have never beaten Chelsea in 6 Premier League games (L5 D1) and scored just two goals.
Chelsea Form & Stats
Inconsistency and defensive issues dogged Chelsea for much of last season on route to a fourth-place finish. Qualifying for the Champions League, however, was a boost on top of their summer acquisitions for the 2020/21 campaign.
Lampard now has a plethora of attacking options at his disposal following the arrivals of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Hakim Ziyech. He’s also welcomed defensive reinforcements in Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, and Malang Sarr.
But, with three of those new recruits unavailable (see Team News below), can the Blues begin the season with a victory? Their absence, on top of the club’s lingering defensive woes, may prove tricky in a must-win match. Especially with Liverpool coming up next weekend on Sunday.
All eyes will be on new signings Werner and Havertz, in particular, as they prepare for their Premier League debuts.
Key Team Stats
– Conceded 54 goals in the 2019/20 Premier League, the same number as Brighton.
– Undefeated in their last seven games against Brighton in all competitions.
– Lost two of their last three league openers.
– Scored two or more goals in 10 of their last 12 league games.
– Over 2.5 goals in their last seven away league games.
Brighton & Chelsea Team News
Brighton: Jose Izquierdo, Christian Walton, & Florin Andone (All injured); Davy Propper (doubtful).
Chelsea: Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, & Billy Gilmour (all injured); Christian Pulisic, Thiago Silva, & Cesar Azpilicueta (doubtful); Mateo Kovacic (suspended).