Preview: Brighton vs Chelsea | Premier League
Frank Lampard's Chelsea begin the 2020/2021 Premier League campaign with a trip to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton on Monday evening, with the Blues looking to start the season with a victory, in addition to several new summer signings looking to stamp their place in West London.
Chelsea finished in fourth place in last season's Premier League campaign, but with many reinforcements recruited in the summer including club-record signing Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, will be hoping to go one step further and show a resolve to defensive problems that led to a total of 54 goals being conceded.
The Seagulls avoided relegation last campaign and finished 15th in a season very much considered a transition under Graham Potter, and will be looking to spring a shock at the start of the campaign to gather momentum in a battle against the drop once again.
Recent Form [All Competitions/Friendlies]:
Graham Potter's Seagulls are unbeaten in their last five and recorded a superb win over Burnley last campaign, but have lacked goals and have scored just once in pre-season in a 1-1 draw with the Blues two weeks ago, in addition to a 0-0 draw with Premier League newcomers West Brom.
Chelsea - DLLWL
Lampard's side have not been in the most inspiring recent form, losing the FA Cup Final to Arsenal and a comprehensive loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but with vital players back fit and new additions Kai Havertz and Timo Werner pushing for a starting berth, the Blues will be keen to reverse their most recent slumps.
Defensive issues surrounded last season's performances particularly from set-pieces and Chelsea will hope that new Brazilian signing Thiago Silva will be fit enough to feature on the south coast to add leadership and defensive solidarity to the vulnerable back line from last season, and kick on starting positively.
The hosts have no new injuries scares ahead of the start of the campaign, but Jose Izquierdo and Christian Walton will miss the clash due to their continued recovery from long-term injuries.
Thiago Silva will miss the trip to the Amex Stadium, as the Brazilian has just arrived in London and will begin training at the weekend, while Fikayo Tomori will be in contention for the match despite rumours of a loan move to Everton.
Other new additions Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell will miss the clash against Brighton due to injury, but Christian Pulisic could feature after returning to training this week.
Mateo Kovacic will also miss the trip to the south coast serving a suspension from dismissal in the FA Cup Final, while Billy Gilmour remains a long-term absentee after surgery on a knee injury.
Head to Head
Last Five - Brighton vs Chelsea
16th December 2018 - Brighton 1-2 Chelsea
3rd April 2019 - Chelsea 3-0 Brighton
28th September 2019 - Chelsea 2-0 Brighton
1st January 2020 - Brighton 1-1 Chelsea
29th August 2020 - Brighton 1-1 Chelsea
Chelsea will be extremely keen to begin the season in a positive manner under Lampard, and will be looking to resolve defensive problems that hindered last season and keep a clean sheet at the Amex Stadium.
The Blues are also bolstering an impressive new forward line with Kai Havertz and Timo Werner expected to make their full debuts, so will have a range of firepower and attacking threat available for the upcoming campaign.
Brighton struggled in the latter stages of last season, and have lacked goals in recent times but will want to spring an early shock against Lampard's men so will be highly motivated on their own turf, but may come up short against the star quality of the west London side.
Prediction: Brighton 0-2 Chelsea