After a relatively-successful first season in charge of Chelsea, Frank Lampard now has the task of turning his side into Premier League challengers as they kick-off this season’s campaign away to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Although Chelsea missed the chance to win the FA Cup last month, there were positives to take from reaching the final and claiming a Champions League spot through their Premier League form.
However, having been provided with the funds to sign several world-class players, Lampard is aware that the stakes are far greater than they were during a season without being able to add to his squad.
Chelsea have brought in Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz this summer as they bid to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City.
While Lampard is still attempting to sign a new goalkeeper and defensive-minded player who can play in defence and midfield, he will feel that his squad have the firepower to outscore any opponents in the division.
Speaking on what lies ahead for his team ahead of the new season, Lampard said:“It is the start of the road potentially for us.
“You look back at some of the squads here, there were very experienced and high-level squads.
“This is a pretty fresh squad with the players we have brought in and the youth that remains from last year. It is an exciting thing for this squad to now make their own mark.
“We start afresh pretty much this year. That is how it feels for us. We want to be challenging and we want to be moving in an upwards direction, like I keep saying, to close the gap on the top two teams that are above us.”
Like his Chelsea counterpart, Graham Potter will feel under pressure to build on guiding Brighton to their second Premier League survival in succession.
Despite 15th spot being acceptable for his first year at the Amex Stadium, there is optimism that Brighton can challenge for a position in the top half of the table.
As well as pulling off coups in signing Joel Veltman and Adam Lallana, tying Lewis Dunk and Ben White to long-term contracts feels just as important in the grand scheme of things
Facing Chelsea in their opening fixture is a tough start for Brighton, but the two teams did play out a competitive 1-1 draw in a pre-season friendly at the end of last month.
On the injury front, despite making good progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury, Christian Pulisic is likely to be restricted to a place on the substitutes’ bench.
With Mateo Kovacic serving a suspension, Jorginho is expected to partner N’Golo Kante in central midfield, with Mason Mount getting the nod over Ruben Loftus-Cheek further forward.
Thiago Silva will be given time to settle into life at Chelsea, potentially resulting in Antonio Rudiger lining up alongside Kurt Zouma in the centre of defence.
Given the defensive options at his disposal, Brighton manager must choose whether to use a 4-2-3-1 formation or line up with a back three.
Preference may be given to a back four, leading to former Chelsea youngster Tariq Lamptey having to make do with a spot among the replacements.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.