Chelsea have been the story of the summer as they have been the biggest spenders of the transfer window. They will travel to Brighton to face Graham Potter’s side. It won’t be an easy opening weekend fixture, but they will be expected to pick up the three points. Supporters may not expect a title challenge, but they will expect Frank Lampard to get a lot closer to Liverpool and Manchester City.
Potter had an encouraging first season in charge of Brighton, as they continue to establish themselves as a Premier League side. The big focus last year was to change the style of the team and they were pleasing to watch. However, there was an inconsistency in results and improvement will be expected over the next 12 months. The return of Ben White should help them continue this transition.
It will be fascinating to watch Chelsea over the opening weeks of the season, as Lampard tries to find his best eleven. Many expect him to bring Timo Werner and Kai Havertz straight into the team. It has been considered a coup that the Blues managed to get both German internationals to the club. In addition to the Bundesliga arrivals, Lampard has Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham at his disposal. It will be difficult to keep all happy.
Brighton managed to secure safety, but they only scored seven times after lockdown. Only two teams scored fewer during this period.
Following the restart, Chelsea conceded 15 times, which ranked them in the bottom six defences. That needs to improve if they are to close the gap on Liverpool.
During the summer, Lewis Dunk was linked with a move to Monday night’s opposition. However, he has stayed at Brighton and committed to a new contract. Although they haven’t spent big money, they have managed to secure the long term futures of Dunk and Ben White. These two could develop an excellent and exciting centre back partnership. The latter will benefit from playing alongside the club captain. It will be a difficult night for the Brighton defence on Monday, as they will be coming up against Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Dunk will believe that he has the experience to do well up against the highly rated German pair. He will need to perform well if Brighton are to get anything from the game.
This could turn out to be the signing of the summer. Although Havertz came for a larger fee, Werner could be the one that takes the Premier League by storm. Closer watchers of the Bundesliga believe that Werner will continue his extraordinary goal scoring record in England. Last season, he contributed 28 goals and eight assists in the league. He averaged a goal every 100.3 minutes. If he maintains that record for Chelsea, he could be a contender for the golden boot. Considering the players he will be feeding off, there is a great chance that he can continue to score at that rate. During the international break, he scored for Germany. He will be the danger man on Monday night. Brighton are already aware of him after he netted during a pre season friendly against them. There is every chance he could repeat the feat in this match.
Davy Propper is facing a late fitness test ahead of Monday night. Adam Lallana is in line to make his debut, while Ben White could come straight into the defence following his successful loan spell at Leeds.
Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell won’t be fit to make their debuts. They are a couple of weeks away. Thiago Silva, Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta are all doubts. Matteo Kovacic is expected to miss out.
This should be a great match to watch on Monday. Brighton have shown that they aren’t frightened of the big teams since Graham Potter took over. They won’t back off and sit deep against Chelsea, which should lead to an open game. That said, it is difficult for them to come out on top, as there is still a gap in quality. I would expect that to show on Monday night and the Blues to start their campaign with a win.