Brighton v Chelsea Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
December 13, 2018
Amex Stadium - Premier League
Brighton look to bounce back from their first defeat in four games as they host an inconsistent Chelsea side at the Amex on Sunday. The Blues responded to defeat to Wolves by inflicting Manchester City's first loss of the season, and fans may wonder which iteration of the team will show up this weekend.
Chelsea hammered Brighton 4-0 when the sides met almost a year ago in January. Eden Hazard bagged a brace on the day, with Willian and Victor Moses also on the score-sheet and the Seagulls will be keen to avoid a repeat performance.
Chris Hughton has a number of injury concerns going into the game, with José Izquierdo and Alireza Jahanbakhsh both likely to miss out and Shane Duffy suspended. The manager should however be able to slot Glenn Murray back into the line-up as Brighton's leading goal-scorer featured off the bench against Burnley.
Mateo Kovacic was forced off injured against Manchester City will the extent of his injury although Ross Barkley has timed his return perfectly to step back into central-midfield. Given Chelsea's mid-week commitment, Maurizio Sarri is likely to field his strongest side on Sunday.
Brighton v Chelsea Preview and Predictions
Brighton's defeat to Burnley at the week may have come as a disappointment to fans, but was far from unexpected. The Clarets may be in poor form but remain a hard team to beat at home, and, with Murray absent, the Seagulls lack a cutting edge.
The talismanic striker should return this weekend, with Hughton undoubtedly glad to have him back, against a Chelsea side that Murray scored against back in 2015. However, the Blues offer a widely different prospect to the likes of Huddersfield and Crystal Palace, who Brighton beat recently, and are 7/15 to win.
Sarri's first choice XI appear to have acclimatised well to their new managers philosophy, and will likely keep the home side pushed back throughout the game. Placing an emphasis on possession and short passes, the Italian has instilled a style of football that greatly contrasts to his predecessor and has allowed his side to unlock teams that frustrated the Blues last season. With that in mind, the draw is 18/5.
One issue that Sarri has failed to resolve is the London club's struggles in front of goal. Despite both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud improving their form slightly from last season, neither has emerged as a prolific goal-scorer, and it is telling that Hazard was deployed as a centre-forward against Manchester City. Whether or not this was a contingency measure, or a plan for the future could well become more clear in Sunday's fixture.
Brighton will recognise that Cheslea's new style comes with defensive frailties, with David Luiz and Marcos Alonso both prone to the occasional mistake. Glenn Murray will have felt frustrated watching the majority of his team's recent loss from the sidelines and will undoubtedly be pestering the away side's centre-backs throughout the game.
If the home side can start their game fast, and not allow Jorginho time on the ball, they may manage to prevent the Blues from playing their natural game, and, as Wolves did two weeks ago, snatch a win, available at 77/10.
Eden Hazard to score anytime at 23/20
Chelsea's star player hasn’t scored since October but put in a professional performance against City and is due a goal.
Over 2.5 goals scored at 4/5
Hughton will encourage his side to put pressure on the away goal, although this could see them opened up themselves.