EPL WEEK 24! Brighton & Hove Albion VS Chelsea - SATURDAY (20/01/2018)

at 08:39 PM, 19/01/2018 (9 months ago)
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Brighton & Hove Albion VS Chelsea
Saturday (20/01/2018)
13:30 (WAT)

Brighton have certainly demonstrated that they can operate at this level of football, but the Seagulls are currently looking over their shoulders in the Premier League after dropping towards the bottom three in recent weeks.

Indeed, a total of 23 points from 23 matches has left Chris Hughton's side in 16th position in the table – just three points clear of 18th-placed Stoke City. They will enter this weekend's match off the back of a four-game winless run in the Premier League, which will be a concern at this stage of the season.

Since beating Watford on December 23, Brighton have lost to Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion, in addition to drawing with Newcastle United and Bournemouth. Chelsea at home is a tough task, but Brighton's next four are against Southampton, West Ham United, Stoke and Swansea City.

It will be their results against the teams around them that determines whether Brighton can avoid dropping straight back into the Championship. The Seagulls have actually only lost twice on home soil this season, but just three wins has made it difficult to move up the Premier League table.

When considering that they have drawn eight of their 23 matches, Brighton are not too far away when it comes to the teams in the bottom half of the table. There are realistically 10 teams that could drop out of the division this season, and it promises to be a fascinating battle towards the bottom of the division.

Recent form: DWLDDL
Recent form (all competitions): WLDDWL

ChelseaEden Hazard in action during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Leicester City on January 13, 2018

It is not exactly breaking news that all is not well at Chelsea, with question marks surrounding the future of head coach Antonio Conte. It would not be a surprise if the Italian left Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, but there is still plenty for the Blues to play for in the final months of the 2017-18 campaign.

The capital club edged past Norwich City on penalties in the FA Cup on Wednesday night to book their spot in round four, and will also travel to Arsenal next week for the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final, which is currently locked at 0-0.

The Champions League also returns next month, and the Blues have the small matter of a clash with La Liga leaders Barcelona. Conte has a number of irons in the fire, but the Italian will be desperate to return to winning ways in the Premier League following a run of just two victories in their last five matches.

Chelsea have actually slipped to fourth spot in the table, but they are only three points off second-placed Manchester United. That said, Tottenham Hotspur are just three points off the top four in fifth position, and it is going to be very interesting to see which teams miss out come the end of the season.

Chelsea have been strong on their travels this season – collecting 21 points from their 11 Premier League fixtures on the road. That said, they have only been victorious in one of their last five away top-flight matches, and the goals have dried up in recent weeks due to the struggles of Alvaro Morata.

Conte's side, however, will be confident of winning their next four Premier League games against Brighton, Bournemouth, Watford and West Bromwich Albion ahead of a trip to United at the end of next month.

Recent form: WDWWDD
Recent form (all competitions): WDDDDW

Team News
Alvaro Morata complains during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Manchester United on November 5, 2017

Steve Sidwell remains on the sidelines for Brighton, but head coach Hughton has no fresh injury concerns entering the clash with the champions.

Tomer Hemed is pushing for a spot in the XI, although Glenn Murray is expected to lead the Brighton line once again with support from Pascal Gross.

As for Chelsea, Morata and Pedro will both be absent after picking up red cards during extra-time against Norwich on Wednesday night.

The absence of Morata could see Eden Hazard switch to centre-forward, with Willian coming into an attacking position.

Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas are doubts after missing out in the FA Cup, while January signing Ross Barkley is still unavailable as the Englishman recovers from a hamstring problem.

Brighton possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, Izquierdo; Gross; Murray

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian; Hazard


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