Can Chelsea get back on track when they travel to Brighton for the GW24 opener?
Chelsea may have progressed to the next round of the FA Cup but their victory over Norwich City in Wednesday’s 3rd round replay came at a price. Álvaro Morata and Pedro were both dismissed in the 2nd period of Extra Time, ruling them out of the Saturday lunch time kick-off against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex.
Both players were penalised for ‘diving’ offences and referee Graham Scott’s refusal to make full use of the VAR technology at his disposal clearly angered Antonio Conte. While we have previously discussed the implications VAR could have on fantasy football contests if it is introduced next season, Conte will be hoping that Wednesday’s events don’t derail the Blues’ campaign too much.
Chelsea drew a blank and were very much second best in last weekend’s Premier League stalemate with Leicester City, their 3rd successive 0-0 draw. This perceived lack of firepower is clearly a worry for anyone connected with the club and goes someway to explaining why they have been strongly linked with a shock move for West Ham’s Andy Carroll.
Saturday’s opponents Brighton currently sit 3 points above the relegation zone, having performed quite well at home, losing just the 2 games while restricting the opposition to an average of 1.27 goals per game.
The bookies have reacted to Chelsea’s double suspension and this is reflected in our GW24 Premier League goal projections that see the Blues’ expected figure dropping from 1.82 to 1.67.
On a personal level, Álvaro Morata might actually benefit by being taken out of the firing line. The Spanish international has never really been involved in the nitty griity of a full domestic season due to the amount of playing time he was afforded at previous clubs’ Real Madrid and Juventus, so getting a breather now might freshen him up a bit ahead of the run-in.
Chelsea’s clash with the Seagulls is one of 8 games taking place on Saturday, while the Saints entertain Spurs on Sunday and Swansea City host Liverpool in the Monday Night Football to cap-off the GW24 action.