As if we needed another check of our realities, next up is yet another strange litmus test of sorts against Brighton & Hove Albion, who have become our big daddies in more ways than one over the past 12-14 months. In fact, we’ve failed to beat them for five games on the bounce, stretching back three years, even as we have kept siphoning off their players for untold millions, only to see them reload with new talent while their old talent shrivel up and wilt away in a Blue shirt.
Would love to see that trend change, but first, we’re going to have to fix a few small details. How about a goal? We could start there.
Date / Time: Wednesday, September 27, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Tom Brammall (on pitch); no VAR because League Cup
Forecast: Breezy but mild
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); none (India); SuperSport Variety 2 (NGA) — elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); ESPN+ (USA); FanCode App (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Noni Madueke should be fit again and could be joined by the likes of Ben Chilwell, Cole Palmer, Marc Cucurella, and Djordje Petrović in the starting lineup as Mauricio Pochettino’s expected to rotate his squad. He will be also hoping for an early goal from his charges, lest the mood turn sour at the Bridge once again. Young striker Deivid Washington could be set of his club debut as well.
Malo Gusto will be suspended for this one following his red card over the weekend. Unlike reds however, yellow card accumulation does not carry over from competition to competition, so Nicolas Jackson will be available — and then suspended for the coming weekend.
With just two wins from his seven games in charge in all competitions, not to mention a far less entertaining style of football on display than in preseason, pressure’s starting to mount on Mauricio Pochettino to start delivering some results, too. Poch may be urging patience and long-term thinking, but he knows that on some level, football will always remain a results-oriented business.
“We always knew that a new or different project is always difficult. This period in the last weeks is maybe a worse scenario than we anticipated. It looks like all is against us because when you see the performance of the team, I think they deserve more points to reflect in the team.
“All teams go through different periods, maybe for us happens early, for sure we are so strong and I think we have the capacity to turn this in a positive way.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Evening Standard
Brighton & Hove Albion: It seems like every move Brighton make turns out better for them than anyone else, and that’s especially true in case of their Chelsea dealings. They’ve gotten better at every step along the way, with Potter-replacement head coach, Roberto De Zerbi the current darling of tactical analytics. De Zerbi guided Brighton to a club record sixth-place finish last season, as well as a spot in Europe for the first time ever. They currently sit third in the league, behind only Manchester City and Liverpool.
Notable summer arrivals include goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, veteran midfielders Madmoud Dahoud and James Milner, and strikers João Pedro and Ansu Fati (the latter only on loan rom Barcelona). Ex-Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour has really started to come into his own, with five starts in seven appearances to his name this season already, while fellow former Blue, Tariq Lamptey provided two assists on his first start of the year the other day against Manchester United.
The Seagulls are young, hungry, and peckish and will be looking to advance beyond the team whose number they seem to have on lock!
“[Chelsea] deserve more points on the table [We] have big respect for Pochettino, of Chelsea, they have a great squad. I don’t know the problem, for us it will be a tough game.”
-Roberto De Zerbi; souce: Goal
Previously: We did beat Brighton in a friendly this summer, and that was fairly good fun.