The Community Shield loss to Manchester City showed every weakness in Chelsea’s squad, and there were many of them. When the season started, expectations were low. However, confidence rose after an opening day victory in Huddersfield and Sarri’s team have not looked back ever since.
Chelsea – Cardiff Preview
Chelsea will try to make it five out of five to kick off the new campaign against newly-promoted Cardiff City. The Bluebirds are winless after four rounds and just scored their first two goals of the campaign in a 3-2 home loss to Arsenal. Neil Warnock won’t be able to count on Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who is facing a prolonged spell on the sidelines and may not return before Christmas. However, he should have Aron Gunnarsson and Josh Murphy back on the field.
Cardiff’s manager has a cohesive defensive unit but one which might struggle against Eden Hazard and Co., much like it did against Arsenal’s talented forwards. Pedro leads the team with four goals. He came off the bench versus Bournemouth after starting the first three encounters and made his presence felt immediately, breaking the deadlock in the 72nd minute. He should be back in the starting lineup alongside Morata and Hazard, making Willian the odd man out.
Cesc Fabregas is still recovering from an injury he picked up during the pre-season friendly penalty shootout against Manchester City. This was Maurizio Sarri’s assessment of the injury a month ago.
“I’m not sure. It’s nothing serious, but he has a very unusual injury”
“He has a pain, not in the knee… near the knee. But not in the knee.”
His status is unknown at this point, but he did upload a video on Instagram doing drills on the practice field, so a return in the near future seems inevitable.
Chelsea – Cardiff H2H
In 2010, Chelsea and Cardiff met for the first time in 49 years. Chelsea won that FA Cup meeting and won both subsequent Premier League clashes during the 2013/14 season.
Chelsea – Cardiff Bet365 Odds
Chelsea has scored in every game since pre-season (other than the Community Shield), so you can bank on them to score at least once against a weaker opponent.