Brighton & Hove Albion begin their 2020-21 Premier League season with a home clash against Chelsea at the Amex Stadium in Monday Night Football.
Having finished seven points clear of relegation last season, Brighton will be hoping to continue their forward progress as they come up against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, who are looking to push forward and mount a title challenge after a shaky campaign last season, which saw them clinch Champions League qualification on the final day back in July.
Davvy Propper is a major doubt for Brighton with an Achilles injury which kept him sidelined throughout pre-season, although the Dutch international will be handed a late fitness test.
Christian Walton (ankle), Florian Andone and Jose Izquierdo (both knee) are all ruled out.
Chelsea’s summer signings, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech are absent with respective heel and knee injuries, whilst Thiago Silva misses out due a lack of match fitness although Germany’s Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are available for selection.
Marco van Ginkel and Billy Gilmour (both knee) plus Mateo Kovacic (suspension) are also sidelined but Cesar Azpilicueta and Christian Pulisic are in contention after recovering from hamstring injuries.
- Brighton have taken one point out of a possible 18 points across six previous Premier League meetings against Chelsea (D1, L5).
- Chelsea have kept just three clean sheets in eight trips to Brighton across all competitions (W5, D2, L1).
- There is yet to be a red card in six previous Premier League clashes between Brighton and Chelsea.
- Brighton are unbeaten in three of their last five opening weekend games in a new season (W2, D1, L2).
- Chelsea are unbeaten in three of their last five opening weekend matches in a new campaign (W2, D1, L2).
Having recently played each other in pre-season albeit with fans as part of pilot sporting crowd tests, this is going to be an interesting clash this time round with no fans present to boost the atmosphere.
Chelsea however have spent big in the transfer market on signings like Havertz and Werner who certainly will be keen to impress on competitive debut, although I am expecting a tough task against a Brighton team who suffered just one home loss against all London teams last season.
Add in the fact that these teams played out a 1-1 draw when they met a few weeks ago in pre-season then I do expect a tough game but if Chelsea have learned how to tactically outplay Brighton, particularly through the Seagulls’ defence then I can see the Blues snatching victory.
Prediction: Brighton 1-3 Chelsea
Result: Brighton 1-3 Chelsea