Chelsea go into the 2020/21 season with extremely high expectations after a summer spending spree that saw Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, and Thiago Silva all join, although Silva joined for free. However, they will begin the new season with three of those five unavailable.
Manager Frank Lampard said Thursday in his first prematch presser conference that only the two Germans will be fit for Monday's opener against Brighton.
"Hakim Ziyech took an injury to his knee against Brighton in the friendly game. So he won't be fit for Brighton. We're working on him. We hope it's a matter of weeks" the gaffer said to open the presser.
"Ben Chilwell as well is working towards fitness. He won't be fit for Brighton" Lampard added. "Thiago Silva is now in London, but not training with us until the weekend. So, I doubt very much he'll be in contention for the Brighton game" he explained.
Unfortunately, Chelsea will have to open the season with several key players sidelined. However, Lampard didn't only have bad news to report.
"[Cesar Azpilicueta and Christian Pulisic] both trained since [Wednesday]...So they're in contention for Monday" Lampard said. Those two names, in particular, should lead to a collective exhale for Chelsea fans.
Pulisic was simply unplayable during the restart and rose to the first name on the team sheet. The Spaniard, despite losing a step thanks to father time, provides a veteran presence sorely needed in that shaky backline.
Bright Start At Brighton
Chelsea finished last season in fourth place and there's not much room for improvement other than a trophy and/or a title run. With this many injuries to key players and ones that could last for several weeks or more, Chelsea are in danger of getting off on the wrong foot.
Thankfully, the Blues travel to a team that figures to be in a relegation fight for most of the year.
Moreover, despite the injuries, Chelsea still have loads of talent and firepower in Werner, Havertz, Tammy Abraham, and others. The Blues should walk out of the Amex with all three points kickstarting a brilliant season.