Chelsea will begin their Premier League campaign against Brighton at the Amex Stadium, and will hope to beat the Seagulls this time having drawn with them in a pre-season friendly at the end of last month.
All eyes will be on the Blues this season as they have spent lavishly in the transfer market to add some exciting players to their squad, and seem to have narrowed the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City, at least on paper.
The biggest worry for manager Frank Lampard will be the team’s chemistry. The Chelsea lineup might have a different look about it when the players are fit and running, but Lampard will have to carefully integrate the news signings without affecting the performances on the pitch.
The pressure will certainly be on Chelsea and Lampard as they will be expected to not only finish on the top four once again, but potentially push Liverpool and Manchester City for the title, and challenge for some cup glory, having missed out narrowly last season to Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
Chelsea Team News vs Brighton
Lampard will be without three of his new signings, Thiago Silva, Hakim Ziyech, and Ben Chilwell. While Chilwell is still recovering from a heel injury, Ziyech picked up a knee injury in the pre-season game, and is still not fit.
Silva has barely trained with the team, and is not expected to make his bow. Christian Pulisic too is not 100% fit, and is unlikely to feature in the Chelsea lineup. The same applies to Cesar Azpilicueta, has he hasn’t had too many training sessions with the team and is not expected to start.
Mateo Kovacic was sent off in the final of the FA Cup game last season, and will be unavailable as he is serving his ban.
Predicted Chelsea Lineup vs Brighton (4-2-3-1)
Kepa Arrizabalaga was below par last season which resulted in veteran custodian Willy Caballero getting some playing time. Lampard could stick with the Argentine, as Chelsea continue to be linked with a move for a new goalkeeper.
The defending was an issue last season, and although Silva and Chilwell will strengthen the defence, the duo will not play in the opening fixture. We could see Marcos Alonso and Reece James playing as the two full-backs in the Chelsea lineup, while Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma are expected to line up as the two centre-backs.
N’Golo Kante will have a big role to play this season in midfield, and the Frenchman is expected to start alongside Jorginho in a two-man midfield pivot.
Chelsea have signed the attacking players, but Kante’s role cannot be emphasised enough, If he stays fit and performs to his best, the Chelsea backline will have a lot more protection than last season.
Mason Mount has a good first full season last time, and he is expected to feature in the number 10 role in the Chelsea lineup.
New summer signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are expected to make the debut for the club. The German duo were exhilarating in the Bundesliga last season, and if they can get accustomed to the league quickly, Chelsea will be a hard team to stop.
With Pulisic unlikely to be risked, Callum Hudson-Odoi is expected to start on the left flank. The 19-year old had high expectations placed on his young shoulders, but he failed to deliver last season. Still a teenager, he will need to step up this season if he wants to make the Chelsea lineup on a regular basis as Lampard will have several attackers to choose from when everyone is fit.