Its matchday 3 in the Premier League and Chelsea will host newly promoted Luton Town at home this weekend. The Blues have had a turbulent start to their season having failed to win any of their two opening fixtures. A disappointing 3-1 defeat to West Ham at the weekend despite a dominating performance with a lion’s share of possession would have definitely disappointed Pochettino and Co. The game against the new boys in town Luton would be yet another opportunity for the Blues to open their account in the Premier League and secure their first victory in front of their home supporters.
Luton have played just one match so far in the league after their home game last weekend was postponed due to the ongoing concerns with their stadium failing to meet the Premier League’s standards. They were defeated 4-1 on the opening day by De Zerbi’s high flying Seagulls which would be a result Rob Edwards and Co. would want to forget and start afresh against Chelsea at the weekend with a 2 week break between their last competitive game giving more time for the Hatters to work on the training ground.
When and Where?
Date: 25th August, 2023
Time: 7:00 PM GMT
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: Robert Jones
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Wade Smith
Fourth Offical: Peter Bankes
VAR: Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR: Gary Beswick
The hosts have a huge injury headache to deal with as Pochettino will be without 8 first team players for this one. Christopher Nkunku, Trevoh Chalobah, Benoit Badiashile, Wesley Fofana, Armando Broja, Mykhailo Mudryk, Carney Chukwuemeka and Reece James will all miss the game due to injuries which is quite concerning as the season just started 2 weeks ago. Moises Caicedo made his debut against West Ham at the weekend and is in contention to start against Luton too. Romeo Lavia looks unlikely to be involved against the Hatters as the Belgian is still getting used to life at the West London club.
Luton have no new fresh injury concerns and will be without Reece Burke, Gabriel Osho, Jordan Clark and Dan Potts who were unavailable against Brighton too. New signing Ross Barkley could be in contention start against his former employers and make his debut for the new club.
Chelsea again lined-up in a 3-4-3 system against West Ham similar to how they lined up against Liverpool in their opening fixture. The Blues haven’t looked comfortable playing with a 3 at the back after playing a 4-2-3-1 formation their entire pre-season tour. Pochettino will have to revert back to his usual formation which allows the Blues to play an extra forward instead of a defender. Luton Town will be a similar affair like West Ham as the Hatters will sit deep in a low block and play on the counter attack.
The Blues will require all the creativity of their attacking players to try and break the Luton defence down and create spaces to exploit. Raheem Sterling has been able to do this in the last 2 games but to no avail as the end product is still lacking. Ian Maatsen could get his first start at the weekend operating in the no.10 role behind Jackson like he did during the pre-season tour. The Englishman’s intelligent positioning and pressing will help the Blues press efficiently and apply pressure on the leaky Luton defence.
Rob Edwards played a 3-5-2 formation against Brighton and is expected to do the same against the Blues too. The Hatters can take inspiration from the West Ham gameplan which left Chelsea with heads in their hands at full time as the Hammers were ruthless on the counter attack and absorbed pressure defending in a low block.
The Englishman has been the standout performer so far for the Blues and has looked like his old self under Poch. After a disappointing first season at the club, Sterling looks like he has found his mojo back and was brilliant at the weekend against West Ham with his ability to carry the ball into the box and use his pace to outrun his marker. A similar performance will be needed by him against Luton too to help his side create chances and score.
Chelsea predicted lineup: Sanchez, Gusto, Colwill, Silva, Chilwell, Enzo, Caicedo, Sterling, Maatsen, Madueke, Jackson.
Luton predicted lineup: Kaminski, Bell, Lockyer, Andersen, Kabore, Barkley, Nakamba, Chong, Giles, Morris, Adebayo.