Thomas Tuchel spoke of Chelsea starting the season anew this weekend, with the squad now settled and all the drama and distractions of the past three months — from the ownership transition to an historic transfer window — fully in the rearview.
However we want to frame it, Chelsea do need a reset of sorts, a refocusing of intentions, approaches, attitudes. This season promises to be more challenging than ever, and just because we spent a lot and have said the right things, we won’t be winning too many games if we keep putting in soft, half-hearted shifts.
Chelsea have given up more goals than all but three other teams, and have scored fewer than half the league. That’s not a recipe for success, let alone sustainable success.
Date / Time: Saturday, September 3, 2022, 15.00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Andy Madley (on pitch); Jarred Gillett (VAR)
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Neither of our Deadline Day signings will be available, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang recovering from a fractured jaw and Denis Zakaria still dealing with administrative things, but Wesley Fofana should be ready to make his debut. Conor Gallagher’s back from his suspension. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Trevoh Chalobah, and Reece James should be fit once again as well, though N’Golo Kante remains out.
But Chelsea’s issues are less to do with personnel and more to do with application of effort and execution of ideas, and it’s those hard(er) to quantify aspect where we have to improve the most. The schedule will not be getting any easier anytime soon, it’s up to us to rise to the challenge and live up to expectations.
West Ham United team news: It was a relatively quiet Deadline Day in East London, but that was largely because they got their business done in decent time, signing Gianluca Scamacca, Maxwel Cornet, and Thilo Kehrer relatively early and adding Emerson and Lucas Paqueta in the last week of the window. Mark Noble retired and Andriy Yarmolenko went off to the UAE for a payday, but otherwise, on paper, the squad has gotten markedly stronger after last year’s 7th place finish.
Of course, that doesn’t automatically translate to points, and West Ham started the season with back-to-back-to-back defeats before dispatching struggling Aston Villa, 1-0 last weekend. A midweek 1-1 draw against Spurs could mean that the Hammers have turned the corner and are ready to make things painful for us this weekend at the Bridge.
Previously: 14 of the last 16 games between these two teams was decided by a goal (or less), and that was the case in both meeting last year, a 1-0 win here for us and a 3-2 win for West Ham across town. Christian Pulisic scored the 90th-minute winner in late April; may he get a chance to repeat that trick?