Chelsea vs Bournemouth 1-0: Carabao Cup quarter-final Match Report and Player Rating article: 19th December.

Goals; Chelsea- Hazard (84’)

           Bournemouth- none

A late Eden Hazard goal was enough for a laboured Chelsea side to overcome a resolute Bournemouth side, as the Blues progress to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.

Maurizio Sarri’s side now face Tottenham Hotspur over 2 legs in the Carabao Cup semi-finals. The first game will be played at Tottenham’s home ground for the tie, and the second leg will be played at Stamford Bridge.

The early signs for Bournemouth in this quarter final were worrying after a dominant start from the Londoners in the early parts of the first half. The Blues nearly took the lead in the seventh minute when Barkley’s curling effort from outside the box was tipped over the bar by Boruc.

However, after the first ten minutes of the first half, Bournemouth grew into the game and created a chance in the fifteenth minute from a counter attack, which led to Mousset feeding through Wilson, and the English strikers effort arrowed wide of Kepa’s far post from inside the Chelsea box.

Both teams had big chances before half-time to take the lead. Firstly, for Chelsea, Willian was played through on goal after a lovely through ball by Loftus Cheek, and his effort was saved by Boruc, and his follow up effort was flashed across the goal, but there were no Chelsea players to tap in to give the Blues a valuable lead at half-time.

Minutes later, down the other end- Mousset’s curling shot from the outside of the box was heading into the far corner, but Kepa saved brilliantly to prevent Bournemouth from taking a shock 0-1 lead going into the half time interval.

The second half started the same way as the first half did, with Chelsea being in total control, however they didn’t create many chances in the early parts of the second half. Loftus-Cheeks shot from outside the box grazed the outside of Boruc’s post.

The game then really went into standstill, with Chelsea playing at a relaxed pace, whereas Bournemouth looked very dangerous on the counter attack, but always lacked the final ball to cause Chelsea problems.

The game changed when Hazard came on, and in the 84th minute, Hazard’s deflected shot from a Pedro flick nestled in the back of the Bournemouth net past a helpless Boruc to give Chelsea the lead in the quarter final.

Bournemouth had a few half-chances to level the game at 1-1. Steve Cook had an attempt from a cleared long throw which was easily held by Kepa.  And in the dying moments of the game, The Cherries, with keeper Boruc joining the attack, had a chance from a free-kick in the 94th minute but shots from Ryan Fraser and Wilson were blocked.

Chelsea also had multiple chances the extend the lead to 2-0 before the game ended, however Giroud and Emerson failed to convert their chances. Those missed chances didn’t matter though as the 1-0 scoreline was enough to send Sarri’s Blues into the Carabao Cup semi-final.

This result means that Bournemouth have still failed to reach the semi-finals of a major cup competition, as they have now fallen to Chelsea two times at the quarter-final stage; Today and last season in the Carabao Cup. Whereas Maurizio Sarri remains on track for a cup final in his first season in English Football.

Talking points from the game

  • Hazard proves to be the difference again for the Blues, showing how vital he is to Sarri’s team.
  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek was Chelsea’s best player before Hazard came on.
  • Most of Chelsea’s fringe players fail to impress again.
  • Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth were very resolute in defence but didn’t offer enough in attack to fully threaten and expose Chelsea’s defensive frailties.
  • Chelsea play with too much of a relaxed tempo. They need to play with higher intensity in future games to kill games off earlier.
  • Christensen suffered a hamstring injury late on in the game and had to be replaced by David Luiz.
  • Brooks looked like suffering a minor injury in the second half, and that led to him getting withdrawn in the second half.
  • Kepa completed 30 passes in this game and had a 100% pass accuracy. He also made three saves in this game

 

Match Statistics (Source- BBC Sport)

                                  Chelsea                         Bournemouth

Possession (%)        73                                         27

Shots                             25                                         11

Shots on Target           12                                           3

Corners                          6                                             2

Fouls                               6                                              8

 

Player Ratings

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Kepa- 7 (Made a world class save from Mousset in the first half to prevent Chelsea conceding a goal)

Azpilicueta- 7 (Made a vital block near the end of the game)

Rüdiger- 6 (Wasn’t tested enough by the Bournemouth attack)

Christensen- 7 (His best performance of the season so far. Looked much more confident. However, he wasn’t tested enough by Bournemouth’s attack)

Emerson- 6 (Good in the attacking sense when Hazard came on)

Kovacic- 5 (Doesn’t shoot enough when he gets into good positions)

Fàbregas- 4 (Too casual in his approach. Kept giving the ball away and was the weakest link in that midfield)

Barkley- 5 (Started the game well, but faded out of the game quickly and was rightly substituted early on in the second half)

Willian- 7 (Should have scored when he was put through one on one. But he was one of Chelsea’s best attackers in the first half)

Giroud- 6 (Didn’t impact the game enough in the first half but played better when Hazard came on. Should have scored 2 goals)

Ruben Loftus-Cheek- 8 (Chelsea’s best player for most of the game. Nearly had an assist in the first half after playing through Willian. Also hit the outside of the post in the second half)

Subs;

Pedro- 7 (Got the assist for Hazard’s goal)

Hazard- 8 (Made the difference again for Chelsea by scoring the goal that takes them through to the semi-finals)

David Luiz- 5 (Wasn’t on long enough to impact the game)

Manager Rating: Maurizio Sarri- 8- picked his strongest teams and made subs early when he saw that it wasn’t really working out for his side. However, he completely left Ampadu out of the squad which was a bizarre decision.

 

Bournemouth (3-5-2)

Boruc- 9 (Made some excellent saves from Willian, Giroud and Emerson. Bournemouth’s man of the match)

Daniels- 7 (Solid in the back 3)

Simpson- 8 (Excellent performance from a youngster in the back 3)

Steve Cook- 7 (Solid in the back 3)

Ibe- 4 (Didn’t really do much during the game)

Stanislas- 5 (Average performance)

Brooks- 6 (very dangerous for Bournemouth on the counter-attack)

Aké- 6 (Solid in the makeshift midfield position)

Rico- 5 (Aimless crossing)

Mousset- 7 (Good link-up play with Wilson. Had a brilliant chance which was well saved by Kepa)

Wilson- 6 (Caused a few problems for the Chelsea defence, but didn’t have the great game that was expected of him)

Subs;

Fraser- 6 (Had a few chances when he came on)

King- 5 (Didn’t really impact the game when he came on. Aimless pass out wide led to a counter attack headed by Pedro)

Defoe- 5 (Didn’t have enough time to impact the game. Was Brought on too late by Howe)

Manager Rating: Eddie Howe- 7- Set up his team to frustrate Chelsea which they did. However, he will be disappointed that Bournemouth didn’t create enough in the attacking phase of the game for the Cherries.

What’s next for both teams

Both teams are back in action on Saturday. Chelsea face Leicester at Stamford Bridge, and Bournemouth face Brighton at the Vitality Stadium. Both games will be played at 3pm (UK time) on Saturday 22nd December. These next League games for both teams on Saturday will be their last before Christmas day.

By Danyal Khan

Chelsea vs Bournemouth: Carabao Cup Quarter Finals – Match Preview

Chelsea take on Bournemouth at home on Wednesday evening looking to progress to the Semi-Finals of the Carabao Cup, and edge closer to winning the first trophy of Maurizio Sarri’s reign as Chelsea manager.

Winning the Carabao Cup would give Maurizio Sarri his first trophy in his whole career. And would answer his critics who thought that he was the wrong appointment for Chelsea due to him not winning any silverware.

So this game will be taken seriously by the Chelsea boss, as he would want to silence his critics in his first year.

Whereas for Bournemouth, they come into this quarter-final tie as massive underdogs like they did last year when they faced Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.

Eddie Howe’s side will be looking to cause a massive upset and reach the semi-final, which would be a huge boost for the South Coast side, as they would be 2 games away from reaching Wembley.

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Recent form for both teams in all competitions 

Chelsea- W/L/W/L/W

Bournemouth- L/L/W/L/L

Chelsea head into Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final tie with Bournemouth on the back of a hard-fought win over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League at the weekend.

However, Bournemouth have lost six of their last seven fixtures and manager Eddie Howe will be keen to end that run ahead of a tough run of fixtures during the Christmas period.

Team News

Chelsea

Alvaro Morata is out for this game with a knee injury sustained in Chelsea’s match with MOL Vidi in the Europa League last week.

Victor Moses is also likely to miss out as he has returned from his respective injury, but he is very low on fitness, so I doubt that Sarri would use him in a quarter-final.

It was admitted in Zola’s press conference today that Hazard will be assessed today after he picked up a knock in Chelsea’s 1-2 win against Brighton at the weekend. So it is uncertain to whether Hazard will have any involvement in tomorrow’s quarter-final.

Gary Cahill could return after a recent injury to take his place in a much-changed back four, while Cesc Fabregas could feature in the centre of a midfield three which also includes Loftus-Cheek and Barkley.

Giroud should lead the line, but Sarri must decide whether to hand another start to Hudson-Odoi over either Willian or Pedro.

Ampadu may also start in this game, however, it is likely that Cahill and Christensen will be the 2 centre-backs that Sarri picks for this quarter-final.

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Bournemouth 

Callum Wilson is unlikely to start in this game after only returning from injury in their defeat to Wolves at the weekend. And Howe admitted his worries about the fear of unnecessarily rushing Wilson back today in his press conference;  “Callum Wilson had a hamstring problem and we rushed him back to be fit for Wolves, we still have to be careful with him to make sure he can perform over the coming games.”

Tyrone Mings and Simon Francis are out of this game with injuries. However Simon Francis is close to returning, but this game is too soon for him.

Adam Smith, Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling will all be missing for Bournemouth due to knee injuries

Predicted X11’s

Chelsea predicted 11- Caballero, Emerson, Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Willian, Giroud, Pedro.

Bournemouth predicted 11- Boruc, Simpson, S.Cook Ake, Rico, Brooks, Surman, Lerma, Pugh, King, Mousset.

Manager Comments

Chelsea- Assistant Manager: Gianfranco Zola (Credit for the quotes- Chelsea official twitter page)

Zola says it is never pleasant to see a coach losing his job, following the departure of Jose Mourinho from Man United, especially someone who won so much at Chelsea. Zola wishes him well.

Zola says racism does not belong in football but he adds that he knows the Chelsea fans well and thinks they will react in a positive way.

Zola notes that tomorrow’s opponents Bournemouth are a good side who keep improving and who have a good coach. But Chelsea are approaching the game with a lot of confidence he says.

Zola says this is a new group at Chelsea who want to do well for the club, and the Carabao Cup is a chance for that.

Zola admits that sometimes the team plays in the Sarri style and sometimes not so close, but that this is part of the normal learning process. He adds that Sarri is very serious about his work.

On Chelsea’s interest in Bournemouth Striker Callum Wilson, Zola says that he is a great player, and he reckons that he is of interest to not only Chelsea but too many other teams.- Fuelling the rumours that Chelsea will try to buy Callum Wilson in the January Transfer Window.

Bournemouth Manager: Eddie Howe (Credit for the quotes- Bournemouth’s official twitter page)

EH on Bournemouth’s poor recent form: “I think naturally when you don’t get the results you want, there’s a determination to put it right. It’s important that we stay very focused.”

EH: “Tomorrow is a great game for us. We’re very excited to be in the competition and we want to get to the semi-final.”

“We’ve never been in the semi-final of a major cup competition, so we’re desperate to try and get there.”

EH: “Stamford Bridge is a place we really enjoy playing at. Even this season, it was a tight game and we had some good chances.”

EH: “I think a lot of teams have struggled to get results against the big teams, but that’s not to say that it’s impossible.”

EH: “Last year, we got back in the game against Chelsea with a really good goal. But, we learned a lot of lessons, as we always do against these teams.”

EH: “We have to be very focused and disciplined in all aspects of the game. We all have to do our jobs and, if we do, I back our quality.”

Head to Head

These two teams have met  12 times in all competitions, with Chelsea winning 9 games, and Bournemouth winning 3 games with no draws between these two sides.

In terms of League Cup/Carabao Cup head to head record, these sides have met 3 times, with Chelsea winning all 3 encounters with the Cherries in the League Cup, including a 2-1 victory at this stage last season – Dan Gosling had equalised in the 90th minute for the Cherries but Alvaro Morata scored Chelsea’s winner just 75 seconds later, to send Chelsea through to last seasons Carabao Cup Semi-Final where they lost to Arsenal.

Match Facts (Credit- BBC Sport)

Chelsea

  • Chelsea are looking to reach the League Cup semi-finals in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007-08.
  • Chelsea have won seven of their last eight home League Cup games (drew one), since a 2-0 defeat versus Swansea in the 2012-13 semi-final.
  • Chelsea have benefited from two own goals in the League Cup this season, more than any other side and accounting for 40% of their total goals scored (two of five).

Bournemouth

  • Bournemouth are looking to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time in their history.
  • Bournemouth have won two of their last five League Cup games against top-flight opponents (lost three), as many as they had in their previous 22 in the competition (won two, drew five, lost 15).
  • Junior Stanislas has scored in his last two League Cup games for Bournemouth.

Betting Odds/My Prediction

Bet 365 have made Chelsea favourites for this quarter-final tie, with a Chelsea win being priced at 3/10. A draw after 90 minutes between these two sides is being priced at 5/1. A surprise Bournemouth win is being priced 10/1.

My Prediction for this game is a 3-2 high-scoring win to Chelsea. I just have a feeling that it will be a very open game for both teams, who will both be looking to play attacking football and be on the front foot from minute one to minute ninety.

So I expect an entertaining cup tie on Wednesday evening. Will Chelsea repeat last year’s result against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup?

Or will Bournemouth upset Chelsea in the Carabao Cup at the second time of asking?

We will find out tomorrow…

By Danyal Khan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brighton vs Chelsea 1-2 Match Report and Player Ratings

Goals: BHA- March (66′)

             CHE- Pedro (17′), Hazard (32′)

Two goals in the first half from Pedro and Hazard were just enough, as Chelsea saw off a late Brighton resurgence to pick up 3 vital points on the South Coast in the Premier League, as they beat Brighton 2-1 at the Amex Stadium.

Surprisingly, the game started at a good tempo, with Brighton being the first team to threaten Chelsea’s defence in the 13th minute when Solly March had his effort inside the Chelsea box blocked.

However as the first half progressed, Chelsea took control of the game and grabbed the first goal of the game in the 17th minute, when Hazard’s shot was blocked from outside the box. The ball then came back to Hazard who dribbled past a couple of defenders and passed the ball across the box for Pedro to tap in for his 6th goal in the Premier League this season. Hazard has added to his assist tally with Chelsea’s first goal.  He now at this point had 8 assists so far for Chelsea this season.

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Although replays did show that Alonso was offside in the build-up to the first goal, even though he wasn’t directly involved. So the Blues were perhaps fortunate to be 1-0 up in this game.

Chelsea were nearly the makers of their own downfall in the 29th minute when Kovacic gave the ball away in his own half under no pressure to March, who took on a shot from long range, and his attempt was well held by Kepa. However, on another day, that could have been 1-1!

But Brighton were the makers of their own doing for Chelsea’s second goal, when Balogun loosely gave the ball away to Willian, who slotted through Hazard 1 on 1, who calmly finished past Matt Ryan to grab his 8th goal of the Premier League season, and ended his 2 month drought without any goals for Chelsea after his brilliant start this season for Maurizio Sarri’s side.

So at halftime, Chelsea looked fairly comfortable. The question was, could they add to their lead in the second half, or would Brighton find the belief like Wolves did, and overturn a deficit at halftime against Maurizio Sarri’s side? If Brighton were to get back in this game, it looked like they would have to expose Alonso in the second half, as he looked the weakest link in the Chelsea defence in the first half.

The Second half started the way the first half ended, with Chelsea in control. And they should have gone 0-3 up in the early stages of the second half, as Azpilicueta delivered a lovely ball across the box and it just evaded Hazard and landed to Willian at the far post who teed up Pedro who’s effort was fired over the bar from close range.

They had another chance to kill the game off fully in the 63rd minute when Alonso’s long-range shot smashed the post. So unlucky, but were Chelsea going to rue these chances?

Well Brighton grew into the second half at the midpoint, and from a corner in the 65th minute, had a chance to pull one back, when Balogun peeled off his man from a corner at the back post and headed back across the box, however, no one was there to apply a finishing touch as Chelsea scrambled it clear. That was definitely a warning sign there for Chelsea that this game wasn’t over yet.

Brighton pulled one back in the 66th minute when Bernardo’s header at the far post was hooked in well past Kepa to get Brighton right back into the game at 1-2. That was Brighton’s first ever goal against Chelsea in the Premier League!

In the midst of that goal, Sarri wanted to bring on Ruben Loftus-Cheek, however, the fourth official pointed out a problem with his socks and therefore delayed the substitution to Maurizio Sarri’s frustration.

There was a moment of controversy in the 87th minute when Bissouma slipped in March who looked to be in on goal, however, Alonso pulled down March and only received a yellow card. To the letter of the law, that should have been a red card and Alonso was fortunate to stay on there!

Brighton’s last chance of the game came in the 92nd minute when Dunk headed wide to Chelsea’s relief as they collected 3 vital points on the South Coast.

So Sarri would have been impressed with Chelsea’s first-half performance and their start to the second half, however, they dropped off as the second half went on. For Brighton and Chris Hughton, they only came alive midway through the second half- so it was a little bit too late for Brighton, in the end, to gain a point, as they left their resurgence too late.

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Match Statistics (Credit- BBC Sport)

                                    Brighton                           Chelsea

Possession (%)          42                                      58

Shots                               6                                         10

Shots on Target          2                                          3

Corners                         4                                          1

Fouls                              14                                         6

 

Manager and Player Comments (Brighton and Chelsea official Twitter accounts)

Brighton Manager: Christ Hughton

On his team’s overall performance;

“We have to take the positives from how we finished the game. We were up against a very good side — whether it was at home or away, they’ve spent big money and brought in exceptional players.

“They’re a team that will be pushing at the top end of the division, so we have to understand that and respect that.

“But I thought we were in the game for large periods, and that’s what you want. I can’t fault the effort our players put in, particularly in the second half.

“We said ‘if you can get that first goal back, anything can happen’. If one of those scrambles in the last few minutes goes in, then it’s a different outcome.”

On Chelsea’s Performance;

“We were up against a very talented team that had two chances in the first half and scored two goals. It showed how clinical they can be.

“We started the game well, but you can’t give them the leg up of going behind, because they’ll capitalise on that.

“You’re then looking for a response and I think we gave that in the second half. We’ve left today disappointed with the result, but overall we’re not disappointed with the performance.”

On the Alonso yellow card situation;

“Having seen it again, I think some referees would have given it, but I can see the doubt in it.

“But there’s no doubt that Alonso should have been on a yellow card anyway. He pulled back Anthony Knockaert, which is always a yellow card.

“With that being a yellow card, the second incident should have been a sending off. Those are my thoughts at the moment.”

Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri says we could have won better as we played very well for 60 minutes but conceded when we were in full control. Therefore we had to face long balls into the box in the last five minutes.

Sarri reports Eden Hazard is okay. He has a knock but it is not a big problem and will need just one or two days of rest

Sarri says he tried to make the substitution bringing on Loftus-Cheek two minutes before it happened. In that time we conceded the goal which disappoints him.

Chelsea Player: Eden Hazard

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard on whether it was important to score his first goal for the club in nine games: “No. I like to score, but it’s not important for me. The most important thing is to win games. I just enjoy my football and that’s why I’’m on the pitch.”

On Brighton pulling a goal back: “We knew before the game that we need to score the third goal. When it’s 3-0 it’s harder for teams to get back. But we didn’t and conceded – you feel the pressure. But we managed the game well.”

On keeping pace with the leaders: “We want to be top of the league at the end of the season. We know Man City and Liverpool are good teams – we don’t want the gap to be big.”

On the responsibility of leading the line: “I always play with the same ability and quality. As a winger and striker, I just try to enjoy my football.”

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Player and Manager Ratings

Brighton (4-3-3)

Ryan- 6 (Didn’t have to make too many saves. Had to pick the ball out of the back of his net twice)

Montoya- 6 (Good in the attacking sense, delivering dangerous ball’s into the Chelsea box, but was suspect defensively)

Balogun- 4 (Poor on the whole. Gave away the ball for Chelsea’s second goal)

Dunk- 5 (Solid for most parts. Nearly equalised in the last minute)

Bernardo- 7 (Same as Montoya, however, the only difference was that he got the assist fro Brighton’s goal)

Groß- 6 (Didn’t make a huge impact on the game)

Stephens- 6 (Took out Hazard on multiple occasions)

Pröpper- 6 (Solid on the whole)

Knockaert- 5 (Didn’t really make a huge impact on the game, and therefore was subbed off for Locadia)

March- 8 (Got the goal to get Brighton back into the game. Also had a chance in the first half which Kepa saved well)

Murray- 4 (Starved of service for the whole game)

Subs;

Andone- 7 (Made a good impact to the game and caused the Chelsea defenders a few problems before the end of the game)

Bissouma- 6 (Made a few good passes when he came on)

Locadia- 5 (Didn’t have a lot of chances to impact the game)

Manager Ratings; Chris Hughton- 6- The only mistake he made for this game was not starting Andone, as he caused more problems to Chelsea’s defence in a shorter time period than what Murray did.

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Kepa- 6 (Good save in the first half from March, however, could have done better for March’s goal in the second half)

Alonso- 5 (Hit the post, but was so suspect defensively in the whole match. Should have been sent off at the end as well)

Rüdiger- 6 (Solid for most of the game. Looked a little shaky at the end of the match when Brighton pushed for the equaliser)

Luiz- 6 (Same as Rüdiger)

Azpilicueta- 7 (Much better than Alonso in the defensive phase)

Jorginho- 5 (Didn’t really do a lot today)

Kanté- 7 (Looked very positive in the attacking phase today and also put in a good shift defensively)

Kovacic- 4 (Poorest out of the midfield 3. Nearly cost Chelsea in the first half after giving the ball away sloppily, leading to March having a chance)

Pedro- 8 (Excellent link-up play with Hazard and Willian especially in the first half. Good goal)

Willian- 7 (Played alright, but didn’t impact the game as much as Pedro and Hazard did)

Hazard- 9 (Excellent in the first half with grabbing 1 goal and 1 assist. However he was hacked out of the game in the second half)

Subs;

Loftus-Cheek- 7 (Very positive when he came on. Driving forward and causing problems to the Brighton defence)

Barkley-5 (Not too good when he came on)

Giroud- 5 (Had more defending to do when he came on compared to attacking)

Manager Ratings; Maurizio Sarri-8- Set up his team well continuing with the false 9 which worked. Only criticism is that he should have brought Giroud on a little earlier.

Position in the Premier League table

Chelsea remain in 4th place with 37 points, and they were helped when Southampton shocked Arsenal 3-2 in the other 1:30pm match.  This means that Chelsea are now 3 points in front of 5th placed Arsenal who have 34 points. Chelsea are also only 2 points off 3rd placed Spurs as they scraped a late 1-0 victory over Burnley yesterday. For Brighton, they drop 2 places to 13th place with 21 points.

Next games for both teams

Chelsea are next in Carabao Cup action midweek when they face Bournemouth in the quarterfinals of the League Cup at Stamford Bridge at 7:45pm (UK time). Both teams are next in Premier League action next weekend, with Brighton facing an out of form Bournemouth away from home at the Vitality Stadium, next Saturday at 3:00pm (UK time). Chelsea also play next Saturday at 3:00pm (UK time) at home to Claude Puel’s Leicester City.

Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s Post Match analysis podcast for this match on Sportstalkline.com later this week

Also, Check out the ABDH Football podcast on Monday as myself and Hannah will be reviewing all the action from this weekend’s Premier League games as we get closer to Christmas!

By Danyal Khan

 

 

Brighton vs Chelsea Match Preview; 16th December

Chelsea travel to the South Coast side on a high after their impressive 2-0 win over Manchester City last weekend.

The Blues will be looking to build some momentum by beating the Seagulls to keep their place solidified in the top 4. They know that if they slip up against the Seagulls on the weekend, then their top 4 place could be at risk, with Arsenal in 5th on the same points as the Blues.

On the other hand for the Seagulls, they come into this game on the back of a tight but disappointing 1-0 loss away to Burnley.

The South Coast side will be looking for a positive result this weekend to get back on the right track.

Prior to the Burnley game, Brighton were on a run of being 2 unbeaten after back to back wins against Huddersfield away, and Crystal Palace at home.

Recent form for both teams

Brighton- L/D/W/W/L

Chelsea-  D/L/W/L/W

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Manager Comments

Brighton Manager: Chris Hughton (Source- Brighton’s Official Twitter)

“Chelsea were very good at the Amex last year – whichever way they do play they have real quality and their last league win shows that. “They also have a lot of flexibility in their attacking areas.”

“We know we’ll have to defend very well – but we have to be in the game ourselves too.”

“I thought Leon [Balogun] did very well last weekend against two very physical strikers. “You have to be part of a good defensive unit as well as standing up to the challenge individually on Sunday.”

“Our level of performance at the moment is good – I thought we were unfortunate not to get anything from last weekend. “That’s important because we have some tough matches coming up – you have to be in those games.”

“We know we have to start well on Sunday. “Chelsea reminded us of the levels of this league last season.”

“Glenn [Murray] is fine now and has made a full recovery from his shoulder knock.”

“It’s good to have David Button back too ahead of next month. “We knew his injury would only be a short period of time. We have good level of competition in the goalkeeping department now.”

“Our under-23 group have been outstanding. “That’s credit to our recruitment team here – it’s the strongest team we’ve ever had at that level. “Then you need someone to oversee that and bring them on – Simon Rusk has been excellent and instrumental.”

Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri didn’t conduct a pre-match press conference due to Europa League commitments.

Team News

Brighton

Hughton confirmed that Alireza Jahanbakhsh is available for the visit of the Blues after recovering from injury, and a late decision will be made on the fitness of Jose Izquierdo.

Shane Duffy will serve the second match of his three-game suspension, following the red card he received in Albion’s 3-1 win against Crystal Palace.

Chelsea

Both Alvaro Morata and Mateo Kovacic are doubts for the Blues after picking up injuries against Vidi and Manchester City respectively, while Victor Moses remains a long-term absentee for the Londoners.

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Head to Head record

Brighton and Chelsea have met 10 times in all competitions over the years, with Chelsea having the much better head to head record compared to the Seagulls. The Londoners have won 8 times in all competitions. There has only been 1 draw between these two sides over the Years. And the Seagulls have only beaten the Blues 1 time.

Can the Seagulls add to that 1 win against the Blues on the weekend? We will find out…

The last meeting between these two sides came last season in January with Chelsea thrashing Brighton 4-0 away at the Amex Stadium. The Blues also won the reverse fixture 2-0 at Stamford Bridge last season.

Head to Head Match facts (Credit- BBC Sport)

  • Chelsea have won all six of their league games against Brighton by an aggregate score of 12-1.
  • Brighton are looking for their first victory over Chelsea in any competition since 1933, when they won 2-1 in the FA Cup third round.
  • The Seagulls have lost the last eight meetings, conceding 18 goals and scoring just once.

Match Facts (Credit- BBC Sport)

Brighton and Hove Albion

  • Brighton have lost just one of their last 10 Premier League home games (W5, D4), and failed to score in only one of the last 14.
  • However, four of their five home defeats in the division have come against last season’s top six.
  • Brighton manager Chris Hughton is winless in his last eight meetings with Chelsea.
  • Glenn Murray’s goals have been worth nine points this season, a joint league-high with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Everton’s Richarlison.
  • Brighton’s only shot on target last weekend against Burnley came in the 93rd minute.
  • Thirteen of Brighton’s 19 league goals have come via a set-piece.

Chelsea

  • Chelsea have lost their last two Premier League away games, having sustained just one defeat in the previous nine (W7, D1).
  • They began the season with five straight league victories but have only won five of the last 11, drawing four and losing two.
  • The Blues have used just 20 players in the Premier League in 2018-19 – only Wolves, with 18, have selected fewer.
  • Eden Hazard has made a league-high eight assists, double the tally he managed in 34 appearances last season.
  • The Belgian could assist Premier League goals in four consecutive games for the first time.
  • Kepa Arrizabalaga has not kept consecutive league clean sheets since August 2017 for Athletic Club in La Liga.
  • However, Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in all five Premier League matches this season following a Europa League fixture.
Bet 365 have made Chelsea favourites for this encounter on Sunday, with a Chelsea win being priced at 1/2. A draw between these two sides is being priced at 7/2. And a Surprise Brighton win is being priced at 13/2.
My Prediction for this game is a very tight 1-2 win to Chelsea. I think Brighton will be very hard for the Blues to break down, but eventually, I think that the quality will show through. I am backing Hazard and Willian to score the goals for Chelsea on the weekend. And obviously, Glenn Murray will score the Brighton goal like he always does!
By Danyal Khan