A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s home match against Brighton.
A run of 4 consecutive home matches finishes this Saturday as Chelsea host Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League. After being undone by the quality of Valencia and Liverpool, The Blues ran riot over the minnows of Grimsby Town.
And now Frank Lampard’s team have another opportunity to register their first home league victory of the season.
Both teams came through their League Cup ties on Wednesday evening, where both managers had changed their full starting XIs from last weekend’s league matches.
After being given the chance to rest midweek, N’Golo Kante, Tammy Abraham, Willian, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Cesar Azpilicueta, Fikayo Tomori and Kepa Arrizabalaga are all likely to return to the side.
Emerson Palmieri is unavailable for over a month and so Marcos Alonso is likely to start, while Andreas Christensen could well return in defence.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger are still rebuilding their match fitness and will return to the squad over the next week or 2. Assuming no new injuries are suffered in the meantime, that will finally offer the manager the closest to a full squad to choose from since being appointed.
Brighton also have a number of injury issues. Shane Duffy, Bernardo, Solly March and Leandro Trossard are all absent for their trip to Stamford Bridge. However, both Glenn Murray and Alireza Jahanbakhsh could return following their injuries.
And their League Cup match on Wednesday only highlighted even further the lack of depth to their squad. Manager Graham Potter gave debuts to his entire starting XI that night.
But despite whatever player shortcomings he may have to endure, he is a manager who always asks his team to play.
The Seagulls have a dismal record away at “the top 6”, with 12 defeats in 13 visits, but they won’t be “parking the bus” against The Blues.
The main media keep focusing on the lack of a home league win nor a clean sheet for Frank’s Chelsea, but they are not an issue for most of the supporters.
After the second half display against the European champions last Sunday and the thrill of scoring 7 goals on Wednesday should combine to on Saturday to give The Blues a home victory over Brighton.
Whether they also gain their first clean sheet of the season or not is also an issue that the manager isn’t overly concerned about. Rightfully he is more focused on gaining victories during this transition period within Chelsea’s history under the ownership of Roman Abramovich.
With all this in mind, there is more to this match than may first appear. Any result other than a win will increase the questions and pressure coming from the media. Chelsea’s next home league match isn’t until the visit of Newcastle United on 19 October.
A Chelsea win and they will travel to northern France riding high with belief for the process.
And surely with more competition for places in the team and the youngsters getting more settled within the squad, this is a time when Chelsea will start a run of good results and make some progress back up the table.
Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue