Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2019
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Let’s face it, for the majority of the game against Cardiff on Sunday, we were as poor as we’ve been in a long time.
We got lucky, but Sarri got luckier. Quite why he felt the need to rest our two best players at this stage of a Premier League season when we’re chasing the pack for top four and faced a side fighting relegation, is anyone’s guess, but it was misjudged and but for a dodgy decision or two, and the bench coming to the rescue, we’d have missed out on that Warnock meltdown.
Tonight, it’s back home to host Brighton, and after benching Callum Hudson-Odoi at the weekend (despite his start for England) and subjecting him to a warm-up for no apparent reason, Sarri is rumoured to be prepared to start him tonight. After the weekend’s shambles though, he’ll have to do a bit more than that to appease his critics.
Brighton won’t be coming just to make up the numbers because they need to secure enough points to put themselves safe and will want to go into Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with confidence, so Sarri needs to get his act together for this one – or face the wrath of Stamford Bridge.
Going into tonight’s game, Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri says “We need to improve. We need to play better. We want to try to change their (supporters) opinion. I think that they have to help the players during the match. After, they can say anything but during I hope they can help my players. I think we are a group and at the moment I think we are a good group so I think that it’s not helpful for my players. For me it isn’t a problem, I am 60 so I can understand but when I was 25 it was probably different.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton meanwhile, says “We are a team in our development that are still going to have tough games every week – we are not going to be in a position where we can regards ourselves as comfortable, and we haven’t been. We know that we are reliant on playing well and the opposition playing poorly – anything different to that then the top six teams are generally always going to win.”
For Chelsea, Marcos Alonso (hamstring) is a doubt although Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante should be back in the starting line-up. Rumour has it, Callum Hudson-Odoi might not be made to warm-up unnecessarily tonight and could actually get a first Premier League start but I won’t hold my breath.
For Brighton, Pascal Gross (hamstring) remains out but Florin And one (thigh) is available again after three games out through injury.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Hudson-Odoi, Higuain, Hazard
BRIGHTON (Possible line-up): Ryan; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo; Propper, Stephens, Bissouma; Knockaert, Murray, March
Chelsea 2-0 Brighton (26th December 2017)
CURRENT FORM (PL)
- Chelsea have won all seven previous league meetings by an aggregate score of 14-2.
- Brighton have lost their four away trips to Chelsea in league and cup, failing to score each time.
- Brighton’s only victory in 11 matches against Chelsea came at home in the FA Cup third round in 1933.
- Chelsea have lost just one home league game this campaign (W9, D5), and kept six clean sheets in their last nine matches at Stamford Bridge.
- Brighton are looking to win successive away league fixtures for the first time since November 2017.
- Brighton have lost all nine of their Premier League away matches against the established top six, scoring just twice.
- Brighton have conceded at least once in each of their last 10 away league fixtures.
- Brighton have claimed 11 away points this term; only the current bottom three have accrued fewer.
BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-0 Brighton
Sky Sports: Chelsea 2-0 Brighton
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-0 Brighton