Chelsea will be hoping to pick up another away win as they head to Brighton on New Year’s Day. The Blues have been struggling with their recent home form, however their latest away victories against Spurs and Arsenal suggest they are performing better on the road.
Brighton, meanwhile, picked up a convincing 2-0 win against Bournemouth at the weekend and will be heading into the home fixture in high spirits. Despite currently sitting 14th in the table, they have conjured up some promising results in recent weeks, including a 2-1 away win at the Emirates.
Can Brighton cause an early upset to Chelsea’s new year or will Frank Lampard be able to pick up a further three points away from home? Here’s 90min’s preview of the upcoming fixture.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Wednesday 1 January|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||12:30 (GMT)|
|Where Is It Played?||Amex Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Spot 1 & BT Sport Ultimate|
The Seagulls are still without Solly March, following an ongoing groin problem that he picked up during Brighton’s match against Leicester City in late November. The 25-year-old underwent surgery the following month and was unable to perform during the festive period with the Englishman unlikely to return in the upcoming fixture.
José Izquierdo also remains on the sidelines and is expected to be out until February with a knee injury.
Graham Potter is likely to opt for a similar lineup which saw Brighton pick up three points against Bournemouth on Saturday. Alireza Jahanbakhsh will also be hopeful of a start, after ending his goal drought against the Cherries.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have been suffering with their own injury concerns with Christian Pulisic, Reece James and Marcos Alonso all in doubt for the next game. Pulisic has been overcoming a hamstring issue while James has been suffering with an ankle injury. Alonso has recently picked up a muscle injury, meaning Lampard could be forced to put Emerson at left-back, despite the 25-year-old’s shocking performances in recent weeks.
After the young coach’s bold decision to change tactics in the early stages of the Arsenal game, Lampard is likely to start with the 4-3-3 formation against Brighton, eliminating the 3-4-3 he started with at the Emirates.
|Brighton:||Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Propper, Bissouma; Jahanbakhsh, Mooy, Trossard; Maupay|
|Chelsea:||Kepa; Azpilicueta, Tomori, Rudiger, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Mount; Abraham.|
Historically, Chelsea comfortably hold the upper hand when it comes to the head-to-head record – winning an impressive 11 games out of 13. Brighton have only managed one win against the Blues, back in 1933 when the two sides met during the FA Cup.
More recently, Chelsea’s latest victory against the Seagulls was a 2-0 win for the Blues. Back in September, both Willian and Jorginho were on the scoresheet as Lampard secured his first league win at Stamford Bridge.
That being said, Chelsea have since found themselves in a rocky patch. The Blues have only won three of their last eight league games with disappointing results coming against Southampton, Bournemouth and Everton.
However, their most recent victory was a dramatic 2-1 comeback against the Gunners – and they were also victorious against rivals Tottenham in the week before Christmas. In recent times, Lampard and his side have become unpredictable, to say the least.
Brighton haven’t been in the greatest of form either, with the team picking up just two league wins in their previous nine.
Here’s how the two teams have performed in their last five games.
|Brighton 2-0 Bournemouth (28/12)||Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (29/12)|
|Tottenham 2-1 Brighton (26/12)||Chelsea 0-2 Southampton (26/12)|
|Brighton 0-1 Sheffield United (21/12)||Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea (22/12)|
|Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton (16/12)||Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth (14/12)|
|Brighton 2-2 Wolves (08/12)||Chelsea 2-1 Lille (10/12)|
With both teams in pretty inconsistent form, this game could go either way. However, looking at Chelsea’s previous record against Brighton as well as their tendency to show up in away games, they might just be able to come out victorious.
But don’t expect a convincing win from the Blues with their problems in defence likely to prevent their chances of securing a clean sheet.
Prediction: Brighton 1-2 Chelsea