Chelsea host Brighton at Stamford Bridge in the English Premier League on Sunday. The Blues sit 10th in the league, some six points behind the Seagulls. The visitors are five league clashes without defeat against Chelsea with two wins and three draws. De Zerbi’s team has seven matches without losing in all competitions.
The Blues are slowly improving but poor results have been interspersed with good performances. Prior to the defeat last weekend, it was one loss in eight matches in all competitions. Successive away league wins saw a 2-0 win at Fulham and a 4-1 victory at Burnley. A 2-0 lead at home to Arsenal was surrendered in a 2-2 draw by full-time.
After a 2-0 home loss to Brentford, Chelsea bounced back to beat Blackburn 2-0 at home and then won 4-1 at nine-man Tottenham Hotspur. A 4-4 home thriller against Man City followed as the Blues came from behind on three occasions. Last Saturday, they equalised at Newcastle, but they self-destructed after halftime to lose 4-1.
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea are without many injured players including Ben Chilwell, Carney Chukwuemeka, Trevoh Chalobah, and Wesley Fofana. Reece James and Marc Cucurella are suspended, and Malo Gusto is doubtful. Axel Disasi may deputise at right back.
Moises Caicedo is set to return to the starting XI. Romeo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku are close to a return from injury, but this match may come too soon.
The hosts need to get back to winning ways after just one win in 14 at home in the league. Motivation will be high against Brighton after the recent rivalry between these sides.
Chelsea will set up relatively conservatively and won’t be overly concerned if the visitors dominate possession.
The Seagulls have put a major drop in form behind them. From late September to late October, they had a run of four losses in seven matches with 17 goals leaked. To be fair, they played Chelsea, Aston Villa (losing 6-1 away), Liverpool and Man City during that streak.
Brighton are currently seven matches without defeat with four wins and three draws. After successive 1-1 league draws, they went to Amsterdam and beat Ajax 2-0. A third straight 1-1 stalemate in the league followed at home to Sheffield United. Their two matches since the FIFA break have been wins, 3-2 at Nottingham Forest and 1-0 away at AEK Athens.
Brighton Team News
Roberto De Zerbi has a depleted squad due to injuries and suspensions. Captain Lewis Dunk is absent at the back and Mahmoud Dahoud is banned in midfield. Julio Enciso and Solly March are out due to long-term injuries.
At the back, Dunk’s absence is made worse but both Pervis Estupinan and Tariq Lamptey are ruled out. Igor may be partnered by Jan Paul van Hecke. Pascal Gross or James Milner will need to deputise at fullback. Danny Welbeck and Ansu Fati are also ruled out of this match and Adam Webster is doubtful.
Regardless of the injuries, De Zerbi’s side won’t change style or approach. They dominated at Stamford Bridge a year ago and will play on the front foot.
A draw wouldn’t be a bad result at all, but Brighton will play to win this match. Fatigue could be a factor after a trip to Greece on Thursday.
Chelsea have won 1 of their last 14 home EPL matches
CFC have failed to score in 3 of their last 5 matches at home in the league
Chelsea have won just 1 of their 7 EPL games at Stamford Bridge this season (D3, L3)
Brighton are unbeaten in 7 matches (WDDWDWW)
Brighton have conceded 18 goals in their last 11 matches
Brighton are unbeaten in 5 league matches vs Chelsea
This should be a highly entertaining match. Brighton’s match on Thursday and some key injuries could hand the Blues a slight advantage. Both teams should be on target in this one.
Best Bet: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 goals at 1.86
Alternative Bet: Chelsea win at 1.74