Chelsea will be desperate to return to winning ways when they take on Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.
The games continue to come thick and fast in the Premier League, with the elongated Gameweek 22 continuing with a few rescheduled matches. Chelsea will be in action on Tuesday night when they lock horns with Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.
Brighton & Hove Albion are enjoying a memorable 2021/22 campaign, having lost just four of their 20 games thus far – only the top three teams have lost fewer times. The Seagulls have not been beaten in their last four top-flight games and are outside contenders to clinch a European berth at the end of the season.
On the other hand, Chelsea’s momentum in the first few months of the season has dissipated away entirely. The Blues have dropped points in eight of their last 12 Premier League fixtures, with the run of inconsistent results taking them from the summit of the division to the third spot, 13 points behind leaders Manchester City.
The reverse fixture, played at Stamford Bridge last month, ended in a 1-1 draw, with Romelu Lukaku handing Chelsea the lead before a late Danny Welbeck goal earned Brighton a point. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
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Brighton & Hove Albion
"Dunky's made good progress but tomorrow will be too soon. Shane looks like he will miss the game too with his ankle.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) January 17, 2022
Graham Potter does not have any fresh injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Chelsea. On Tuesday night, the Brighton & Hove Albion manager will be bereft of the services of seven first-team players.
The major absentees for Brighton are Adam Lallana (hamstring) and captain Lewis Dunk (knee), with the likes of Jason Steele (back), Shane Duffy (ankle), Jeremy Sarmiento (thigh) and Enock Mwepu (hamstring) also sidelined. In addition, Yves Bissouma is at the Africa Cup of Nations, representing Mali.
In Lallana’s absence, Joel Veltman could be deployed in midfield, with the Dutchman lining up alongside Jakub Moder in the middle of the park. Veltman’s place in defence should be bestowed to Tariq Lamptey, with the former Chelsea defender one of the two marauding full-backs for Brighton.
On the opposite flank, there is no looking past Marc Cucurella, who will hope to express himself better this time around. Dan Burn and Adam Webster pick themselves at the heart of the Brighton defence, while Robert Sanchez is a certainty in the Seagulls’ goal.
Pascal Gross and Alexis Mac Allister will likely be the two creative midfielders for Brighton, with the duo looking to hit Chelsea on the counter when the opportunities present themselves. Finally, Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay should form the strike partnership, with the two comprising a fluid pairing in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Sanchez; Lamptey, Webster, Burn, Cucurella; Gross, Veltman, Moder, Mac Allister; Trossard, Maupay
Like his counterpart in the Brighton & Hove Albion dugout, Thomas Tuchel has many pressing roster issues to contend with ahead of the trip to the Amex Stadium. On Tuesday, the Chelsea boss will have to make do without five first-team players.
Edouard Mendy remains at the Africa Cup of Nations due to his participation with Senegal. In addition, defenders Andreas Christensen (COVID-19), Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring), Ben Chilwell (knee) and Reece James (hamstring) remain on the sidelines.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2022
Kepa Arrizabalaga will continue to deputise for Mendy in goal for Chelsea, who will line up in their usual 3-4-2-1 formation against Brighton. Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr will again combine in the central defensive unit, especially with Sarr producing two solid displays last week.
Sarr’s presence at the back means Cesar Azpilicueta will retain his spot as the right wing-back, with Marcos Alonso a certainty on the left flank. The two wing-backs will flank Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in the second line of the press, with Mateo Kovacic an option off the bench.
Mason Mount was a surprise omission from Tuchel’s side against Manchester City, but the English international should be reinstated in the starting lineup versus Brighton. The Chelsea playmaker will look to pull the strings high up the pitch, setting up the chances for the two strikers, Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Kepa; Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Sarr; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Lukaku
- Brighton are without a win in 16 attempts against Chelsea since beating them in the FA Cup in their first meeting in January 1933. Chelsea’s 13-match unbeaten league run in this fixture is their longest against a particular opponent without ever losing.
- Brighton are unbeaten in four Premier League matches, earning eight points – as many as they managed in their previous 11 fixtures.
- Chelsea have dropped points in eight of their last 12 Premier League games, keeping just two clean sheets. The Blues are without a win in three top-flight matches for the first time under Thomas Tuchel.
- Brighton’s tally of 28 points from 20 games is their highest at this stage of a top-flight campaign since 1981/82.
- Brighton have scored seven league goals after the 80th minute this season. It has been their only goal of the game on every occasion.
Player to Watch
Thomas Tuchel made questionable decisions when he named his side against Manchester City. And the omission of Mason Mount was one of them.
Once seen as an untouchable, indispensable quantity in the Chelsea side, Mount’s fortunes have dwindled somewhat in recent weeks. But no other Chelsea player can carve out the openings in the final third quite like how he does, meaning Tuchel needs to keep faith in him.
Mount now has the chance to prove his worth to Tuchel against a Brighton & Hove Albion side that does not give an inch more often than not. An important game beckons for Mount and Chelsea on Tuesday night.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Chelsea
Brighton & Hove Albion have been one of the most solid teams in the Premier League this season, and Chelsea found that out the hard way in the reverse fixture. The Blues will be in for another tough match-up on Tuesday, with the game likely to be played in a setting wherein chance creation will come at a premium.
The absence of Adam Lallana and Yves Bissouma could prove to be telling for Brighton, with Mason Mount likely to come through as the minutes wear on in the game. As full-time draws close, Romelu Lukaku will break the deadlock, while Kepa Arrizabalaga will make a few important saves to preserve his clean sheet. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-0 win for Chelsea.