Big spenders Chelsea kick off their Premier League campaign with a trip to the Amex to face Brighton and Hove Albion, with both sides hoping for a strong start to the season.
Here is all you need to know about Monday night’s clash:
Expectations for the season and team news
Now entering their fourth successive season in the top flight, the Seagulls will be looking to build upon a relatively promising 2019/20 campaign in which they finished a respectable 15th – seven points clear of relegation.
With manager Graham Potter’s attractive brand of football now having had a full year to develop, the upcoming season could be a very exciting one at the Amex – if they can find some goals that is.
The club have already made some astute signings, bringing in former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana on a free transfer, as well as Ajax defender Joel Veltman to bolster their already healthy defensive ranks – the highly-rated Ben White returning from Leeds United after a season-long loan deal.
One area in which Potter’s side continue to look thin on the ground is in attack, with forwards Neal Maupay and Aaron Connolly yet to prove their consistency at the highest level, while veteran poacher Glenn Murray has departed the club to join relegated Watford on loan. There is still time remaining for the club to recruit a new addition in attack, although Monday’s fixture will be all about holding off the Blues mouthwatering forward line.
With the club forced to forego new additions last summer, manager Frank Lampard has certainly made up for lost time this time around, bringing in six major summer signings thus far in what has been a Football Manager-esque spending spree.
With such recruitment comes the inevitable heightened expectations, with Chelsea now expected to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City in what could be the most intriguing title race in recent memory. That expectation will no doubt be in stark contrast to last season, where the enforced transfer ban and bedding in of young talent saw the Blues essentially written off as top four hopefuls.
In fairness to Lampard, they achieved a respectable fourth place finish as well as reaching the FA Cup final – although after such extensive recruitment, anything other than silverware would represent a failure this time around.
As for Monday night’s fixture itself, the Blues will have to make do without the injured duo of Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech, yet fellow summer signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are in line to make their competitive debuts – with Christian Pulisic also set to feature after recovering from injury.
Brighton 1-1 Chelsea, 1st January 2020
While Chelsea are everybody’s favourites for the win, the hosts will no doubt be buoyed by the two sides last competitive meeting, which saw Brighton snatch a late equaliser.
The New Years Day fixture saw the Blues take an early lead through captain Cesar Azpilicueta before Alireza Jahanbaksh produced one of the moments of the season to earn his side a point.
With the home side trailing, the Iranian international conjured up a spectacular overhead kick following a Brighton corner, the Seagulls going on to hold out and deny Lampard’s men the three points.
Predicted Line ups
Brighton: Ryan; Lamptey, White, Dunk, Burn; Stephens, Bissouma, Propper; Lallana, Connolly, Maupay.
Chelsea: Kepa: Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Alonso; Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount; Pulisic, Havertz, Werner.
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK and Irish readers can watch the game on Sky Sports.
What time is kick off?