Brighton & Hove Albion’s maiden entry into the Premier League saw them performing beyond expectations when they moved into the Top half of the EPL table during November. But coach Chris Hughton’s Seagulls have slipped since then, their Saturday’s defeat to bottom-scrapers West Brom away at the Hawthorns stadium pushing them down further to the 15th spot, not far from relegation territory.Brighton were high on possession but failed to convert them into goals despite 13 attempts in the West Brom clash. The Seagulls were also vulnerable to set-pieces and have conceded most of their goals from such situations in recent games. Chris Hughton’s men have been terrible in away games, losing in as many as 8 of their 12 fixtures on the road so far. Brighton’s forthcoming match against Chelsea on the 20th, home at the Amex stadium will give them a little hope in setting things right. Their performances at home is in stark contrast to those on the road, having lost just 2 of their 11 games there. Most of it have been a profusion of drawn matches (six in all) and against the visiting Blues they would hope to achieve a similar result, which is the best they can expect.
Chelsea have themselves come out of an embarassing home match where they were held to a goalless draw by a 10-man Leicester City side. In fact, Antonio Conte’s men should consider themselves lucky to have have come out unscathed from the match, with the Foxes missing a couple of easy chances to move ahead of their hosts. Strikers Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard showed very little imagination inside the rival box and many of the Chelsea midfielders and forwards kept losing possesion of the ball very often in the Leicester match. This could be a problem against a Brighton side that’s not bad at counter-attacking and getting goals as they showed earlier in the season in emphatic home and away wins of 3-1 and 0-3 over West Bromwich and West Ham United respectively.
For the Blues,defensive mid-fielder, Tiemoue Bakayoko’s been a problem even though coach Conte has started with the 23-year old Ex-Monaco player in 17 of the 23 games Chelsea have played in the 2017-18 season. Leicester import Danny Drinkwater could be seen as a probable and fitting replacement to the faltering midfielder.
Conte will probably stick to the strong mid-field approach of 3-5-1-1 with Hazard and Morata playing upfront in the role of 2 strikers. As for the defense, he may have very little to complain, his side having maintained five clean-sheets from their six previous Premier league outings. What he will need now is goals at the Amex stadium this weekend. Irrespective of the outcome of Saturday’s Brighton match, the Blues will maintain their position in the Top four, being 3 points ahead of 4th placed Liverpool’s 44.
Chelsea are outright favorites to beat Brighton on January 20 as the odds below suggest.
Chelsea to Win, Best Odds 1.5 @ Coral
Chelsea/Chelsea – Halftime/Fulltime, Best Odds 2.35 @ Coral
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