Welcome to our live coverage of Tuesday evening’s match between Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge.
It’s a game that should have been billed as one side’s push for Champions League qualification against another hoping to secure their Premier League status.
However, developments over the past few days dictate that the proposed Super League is at the forefront of all conversations, and here we have one of England’s six greedy clubs pitted against one of the 86 that they are so willing to leave behind in the professional pyramid.
This is, of course, no fault of the Chelsea players or management, and it’s likely that we will see some form of protest this evening from the club’s supporters.
Instead, this is a move made by the money men, and one that will ensure that the richest get richer with no concern for the rest.
It’s apt that Albion are Chelsea’s first opponents after the announcement given their ascent to the Premier League from the basement division over the past 20 years.
This is a club that were on the verge of extinction and then non-league in 1997 until a Robbie Reinelt goal 28 minutes from the end of the season changed the course of history.
Since then, mobilisation, investment and endeavour have helped the once-homeless club to a state-of-the-art stadium and the top-flight. It’s the perfect example of what sporting merit can achieve.
Now, their opponents today – a club that could only muster 7,128 for a home game with Southampton in 1992 – wish to make such success unachievable and the highest echelon of the game unreachable and uncompetitive.
On the pitch, Thomas Tuchel has centre-back Andreas Christensen available again, and the Dane may feature if the German coach opts to freshen up his backline after Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final success.
The Seagulls also have defenders back after injury in Adam Webster and Dan Burn while forwards Adam Connolly and Percy Tau are in contention for a place in Graham Potter’s starting line-up.
We’ll soon bring you confirmation of tonight’s teams as well as further reaction to the proposed Super League in our build-up ahead of kick-off at 8pm.