Chelsea will be keen to send a message to the rest of the Premier League that their multi-million-pound new-look squad can compete for the title as they face Brighton at the Amex.
(African Stand) — Chelsea commences their 2020-21 Premier League campaign with another trip to Brighton on Monday night.
The Blues are making a slightly later start to the season following their Champions League involvement in Lisbon, where they were brushed aside by eventual winners Bayern Munich in the round of 16.
Frank Lampard’s side last visited Amex Stadium only a fortnight ago, when 2,500 home fans were permitted to attend a match that ended all square at 1-1 after Timo Werner’s debut goal was cancelled out by a late Christian Gross penalty.
Chelsea have spent heavily in the transfer market in a bid to improve on a debut campaign for Lampard in which they sealed the fourth spot on the final day and also reached the FA Cup Final, with Werner joined at Stamford Bridge by Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, and Malang Sarr.
Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy also looks set to arrive in the coming days.
Brighton have also been active in terms of new arrivals, welcoming the likes of Adam Lallana and Joel Veltman and highly-rated youngsters such as Jan Paul van Hecke, Jensen Weir, and Ulrick Eneme Ella as they bid to build for the future and on last season’s 15th-place finish under Graham Potter.
Date, time, and venue
Brighton vs Chelsea is scheduled for an 8:15 pm BST kick-off on Monday, September 14.
This match will be played behind closed doors at Amex Stadium with no fans due to being present due to government guidelines regarding coronavirus.
Three of Chelsea’s new signings are unavailable for this contest, with Ziyech picking up a knee injury during that aforementioned friendly, Chilwell still recovering from a heel problem suffered at Leicester last term, and Silva yet to begin training with his new team-mates.
Werner is in line to make his first competitive start, though Mateo Kovacic is suspended following his red card in the FA Cup Final defeat by Arsenal.
Lampard must choose between Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero once again with the deal for Mendy not yet sealed, while it remains to be seen if Christian Pulisic and captain Cesar Azpilicueta will be risked after they both returned to training this week.
As for Brighton, influential midfielder Davy Propper is unlikely to feature due to an Achilles injury.
Goalkeeper Christian Walton (ankle) and striker Florin Andone (knee) are also sidelined along with Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
These two clubs have met only six times in the Premier League, with Chelsea winning all but one of those matches. The other was a draw.
Last season, Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in September before a 1-1 tie at the Amex followed on New Year’s Day.
Prediction: Brighton 0-2 Chelsea
Chelsea impressed during the first half of last month’s friendly, with Ziyech and Werner linking up well against a Brighton side that was content to sit deep and looked thoroughly ordinary in possession.
However, some risky challenges inside their own box led to the conceding of two penalties, while the hosts were more energetic and purposeful after the interval.
Brighton’s lack of consistent goal threat remains an obvious issue and is likely to prevent them from taking anything from this opening encounter.
Chelsea to get their season up and running with a comfortable three points on the south coast.