We did really well against Chelsea last season, having got a draw at Stamford bridge and beating them at home, so I don’t know why but I really don’t expect us to get anything from this one.
I think it stems from how we’ve played our three games up to now, where we haven’t looked very convincing really.
We face a bit of a dainting run for the next few weeks and I hope I’m wrong, but I do worry somewhat that if we’re not careful, we risk becoming stuck at the bottom end of the table.
Still, things are looking up for us and we have a few players returning to fitness.
Martinez and Buendia are both out following their shennanigans in Brazil, but while they’ll be big misses, I’m inclined to think that there are a lot less worse games that they could miss, namely ones we’d normally expect to have a good chance of winning.
John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey have undergone their isolation periods and are ready to go.
Traore is training, but the really good news is that Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey are both fully fit and available.
There’s a bit of bad news, where Carnie Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace came back from the U-20 and U-21 internationals, but that’s countered just a little bit by the News that Sanson is now also available.
Will we get to see him today? Well, we certainly know we need a bit extra in the middle and Smith is supposedly quite excited by the Frenchman.
The news about Ollie raises a good point actually. In the presser yesterday, Dean Smith was asked if Watkins and Danny Ings would play together in a two or if one of them would be pushed out wide. What I think is good news is that the manager went out of his way to say that Watkins would be wasted out wide after all the goals he’s scored and that Ings was brought in because he specifically felt they would compliment each other.
With Bailey and even El Ghazi as the attacking four, that’s a serious threat and one we’ve all been itching to see.
Chelsea’s squad then it’s a bit academic really isn’t it? They could have a full side injured and still put out an excellent one. Whatever, they’re in a pretty good state with very few problems.
Reece James is out after receiving a straight red against Liverpool and will probably be replaced by Trevoh Chalobah.
In midfield, N’Golo Kante is missing through injury meaning Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic should start. Saul Niguez could make his debut from the bench.
And that’s it.
Last season showed we can get results against Chelsea, but I’m not at all confident. We haven’t got into our stride yet and this isn’t really a good game to try and gather some momentum. Chelsea, on the other hand are going quite well and are expected by many to be challenging come the end of the season.
It was pointed out to Dean Smith that we don’t have a problem getting goals away from home, but we don’t get many points. What then is the answer? he was asked.
I thought it was a pretty stupid question really and the answer is obvious. Concede less, in other words.
Will we have enough about us to stop Chelsea scoring? Well, they had a load of chances against us at Villa park last season and I don’t see that changing today.
I’ll go for a 3-1 loss and I think I’ll just be looking for a decent performance. You never know though.