Chelsea need a win to keep pace with the EPL’s fellow title challengers. A victory for Brighton would move them up towards the European places. What will happen when the two clubs lock horns in London?
Chelsea will be seeking to keep the pressure on English Premier League (EPL) title rivals, Liverpool and Manchester City, when they host Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The Blues strolled to a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Boxing Day, while Graham Potter’s side eased to a 2-0 home win against Brentford.
Thomas Tuchel’s home outfit currently occupy 3rd position in the EPL table on 41 points and six behind leaders, Manchester City. The Seagulls, meanwhile, are 9th, with 23 points.
Chelsea pair Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kanté are sure to miss out on Wednesday after their Boxing Day injuries, with the duo joining long-term absentee, Ben Chilwell, in the treatment room.
There is cautious optimism that Ruben Loftus-Cheek may make a timely return to the squad, but COVID-affected pair, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, both remain unlikely to feature.
In better news, Mateo Kovačić came through another outing as a substitute without issue at the weekend, and the Croatian midfielder could now be considered ready to take the field from the first whistle.
Meanwhile, for Brighton, Leandro Trossard was taken off at halftime in the Brentford win, after opening the scoring in style, with Potter suggesting that the Belgian had experienced hamstring discomfort.
The visitors are already without Jeremy Sarmiento, Lewis Dunk and Steven Alzate for the Chelsea contest, while Joël Veltman is also a doubt. However, midfielder Yves Bissouma returns from a ban.
The Mali international will hope to come straight back into the centre of the park this week, so Jakub Moder could step aside, as it would be harsh to see Zambian midfielder, Enock Mwepu dropped.
Brighton have been difficult to beat on their travels this season, but we still expect a Chelsea victory. Our prediction is 2-0 to the Blues, with the net found in both halves.
Chelsea possible starting XI:
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger; James, Jorginho, Mateo Kovačić, Alonso; Ziyech, Mount; Lukaku
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting XI:
Sánchez; Lamptey, Webster, Burn, Cucurella; Bissouma, Lallana, Mwepu; Mac Allister; Welbeck, Maupay