A brand-new Chelsea squad will be visiting the Amex Stadium on 14th September to start their 2020-21 Premier League season facing Brighton late on Monday evening. Although Chelsea will not be at their full strength, they are expected to overcome Brighton without having any significant Hurdles.
Brighton, who were involved in the relegation battle last season did well to survive in the end and Graham Potter will be looking to build on it. Brighton had retained Lewis Dunk and managed to sign Lallana, Joel Veltman and Ben White, which has spread a wave positivity around Amex Stadium that Brighton could push upto 10th this season.
Frank Lampard confirmed on Thursday that Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell will not be fit for the game. Thiago Silva is also expected to miss the game due to lack of match fitness but Cesar Azpilicueta and Christian Pulisic are expected to make it to the squad. Whether the play or not remains to be a question. Mateo Kovacic will also be missing the game after receiving a red card against Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
Chelsea are expected to play a 3-4-3. Absence of Chilwell means Marcos Alonso will be guarding the left side of the defense and his counterpart will be Reece James. Rudiger, Azpilicueta and Kurt Zouma are expected to form the 3 at the back. N’golo Kante would start in the middle of the park with Jorginho possibly to partner him. The front 3 is where you cannot predict who starts and who does not. Whether Timo plays on the left with Tammy through the middle and Kai on the right, or Mount plays on the left, Werner through the middle and Kai on the right cannot be predicted.
Brighton are unbeaten in the previous 5 games one of which was against the Blues. They also played newly promoted West Brom but failed to score a goal. Their only victory came against Burnley, in which they scored 2.
Chelsea on the contrary have lost 3 times in the previous 5 games. Chelsea were unlucky to lose to Arsenal but were convincingly beaten by Liverpool and Bayern Munich. Chelsea beat Wolves in a must win game in the final Premier League and Manchester United in the FA Cup Semi Final.
Timo Werner is expected to make his debut and will be welcomed by the pair of Lewis Dunk and Ben White. This will be his first game in the “physical” Premier League. Brighton who are expected to have a narrow and compact defense led by Dunk, the off the ball movement of Timo will be the key. If Werner is not allowed to get into spaces, and is forced deep or wide, the threat will be much lesser. Brighton are almost already 1 up in this battle due to the lack of aerial threat that Timo possesses.
Just like Werner, Lallana is also expected to make his debut. While Brighton will not be having a lot of the ball vs Chelsea, they will be looking at Lallana to create chances for them as and when they are in positions. Lallana’s dribbling ability is not bad either and will be looking to hit Chelsea on the break. N’golo Kante will be deployed in the middle of the park to nullify any threat from Lallana. Doing so means that Brighton now do not have anyone to create for them and will be forced to play long balls which Chelsea’s defense can easily deal with.
Chelsea are expected to win this one with ease. A clean sheet victory will be a good way to start 2020-21 season for frank Lampard’s men.
Keep The Blue Flag Flying High!!!
- Anand Prem (CISC- Navi Mumbai)