Date: Sunday 3rd December 2023
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
We might be in the month of Christmas but I’m not wrapping this up in tinsel – we were bloody awful last weekend.
If the games against Sp*rs and City before the international break were Dr Jekyll, then it’s fair to say Mr Hyde showed his face at St James Park. Not since 1989 have we conceded four or more goals in back-to-back top-flight games. Pretty ironic really, since a 1980’s Chelsea would have been preferable to watch than last week’s shower.
Today’s game, which they have the good sense not to bother televising, sees us back at Stamford Bridge to take on Brighton. Which is terrific, because they beat us home and away last season, and we have just one win from 14 at home.
Like Newcastle, they’ll face us with a much written about injury-hit side (because everyone appears to have forgotten we’ve had about 10 players out consistently all season). Still, at least if Danny Welbeck genuinely is unavailable, we might be spared the embarrassment of him scoring his fourth against us at Stamford Bridge!
Going into today’s game, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino, says “I think it was a tough week for everyone. I am very happy because I think they react very well. Even after you watch the game, I think it was worse, my feelings after the game. I was tough with them inside and outside. But it’s to blame ourselves also because I think maybe our approach was wrong and that is to take the responsibility, too. I think it was a good week to realise things we need to improve. We need to be more consistent, more mature. There are things we cannot afford in this process. Yes, I am very, very happy so far. Even though it was really, really tough in training and in meetings. But sometimes this type of situation helps a lot to improve.
The most important thing now is not to see the end of the season, but to see the process and to improve every day. That is the most difficult thing always in this type of process; to be focused on today and not on tomorrow. That is the aspect we are working on this week, to try and improve ourselves and what the team needs. That is the process. We cannot think at the end of the season because then we will start to stop what is going to bring us there. We will focus on the present and how we are going to be better every day.
We are our own worst enemies and we need to be focused on us. If we are in a good place, then for sure we will compete in a good way. We are going to pay attention [to Brighton], but at the moment in this process, I think we need to pay more attention to ourselves rather than the opponent.”
Brighton manager, Roberto De Zerbi, meanwhile, says “I’m really proud of the players we have in the squad. We want to keep improving. The credit goes to the club. Bigger clubs can buy our players but they can’t buy our soul or spirit. We don’t have enough (players) yet, we need to complete the squad. I want players who want to come here. We are Brighton, we achieved a big target last year – the same as Liverpool, better than Chelsea. I would like players who are proud to play in Brighton.”
For Chelsea, Wesley Fofana (knee), Romeo Lavia (ankle), Ben Chilwell (Hamstring), Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring), and Carney Chukwuemeka (knee) all remain unavailable. Levi Colwill (shoulder) and Malo Gusto (knee) remain out, whilst Cucurella and Reece James are suspended. Christopher Nkunku (knee) will be assessed, although obviously wouldn’t get more than a few minutes after a lengthy spell out.
For Brighton, they must be into Austrian slap dancing, because Tariq Lamptey, Ansu Fati, and Pervis Estupinan are all out with thigh issues, whilst Solly March (knee), Adam Webster, Danny Wellbeck and Julio Enciso are also absentees. Mahmoud Dahoud and Lewis Dunk are suspended.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Sanchez; Colwill, Badiashile, Silva, Disasi, Fernandez, Caicedo, Gallagher; Palmer, Jackson, Sterling
BRIGHTON (Possible line-up): Verbruggen; Veltman, Hinshelwood, Igor, Milner; Gilmour, Gross; Adingra, Pedro, Mitoma; Ferguson
Chelsea 1-2 Brighton (15 April 2023)
CURRENT FORM (PL)
- Brighton did the double over Chelsea last season.
- Brighton have failed to score in eight of their 10 away games against Chelsea.
- Chelsea have won only one of their past 14 Premier League home games.
- Brighton’s win at Nottingham Forest ended a six-game Premier League winless run.
- Brighton have scored and conceded in 17 consecutive league games.
- Brighton are one of only four sides yet to keep a Premier League clean sheet this season.
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-1 Brighton