I looked as though it was going to be another poor result for the Blues on boxing day when a Reece James own goal gave Aston Villa the lead, though Romelu Lukaku’s introduction at half time turned the game on it’s head, and Chelsea ultimately ran out 3-1 winners with the Belgian forward picking up man of the match.
Brighton followed that game on boxing day when hosting Brentford, and ran out two goal winners themselves. It was the first time since October that Graham Potter’s side managed to net twice in a single match, and fans will be hoping they can push on now having picked up their first victory in the league since mid September.
Only Wolves (1.5) have seen fewer goals per game than Brighton (1.94) this year, with all seven of the Seagulls’ league games since the beginning of October seeing under 2.5 goals land.
Chelsea have regularly seen low scoring games under Tuchel, though that’s somewhat gone by-the-by in recent weeks. Indeed, seven of Chelsea’s last 10 in the League and Champions League where they don’t field weakened sides have seen over 2.5 goals land, with five of those seeing four or more goals.
Chelsea -1 Handicap
We wouldn’t expect this to emulate those high scorers though, with Brighton one of the toughest sides to beat in the league. Only City, Liverpool and Chelsea have lost fewer games than Brighton this year, while away from home the Seagulls have only lost at Villa Park this year.
It’s unclear as to how strong either sides’ lineups will be with the increasing rate of covid cases in the UK. The London side saw the return of Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi on Boxing Day, and there’s a chance that both Kai Havertz and Timo Werner return to the squad here too.
Yves Bissouma will return from suspension for this game, though defensively the visitors have some issues with Shane Duffy, Joel Veltman and Lewis Dunk all potentially missing, and we’d be surprised if they kept Lukaku and co. out for 90 minutes here.
The South Coast side have never scored at Stamford Bridge in their history, with their 0-0 result last year the only point they’ve picked up from a possible 21.
Each of the other three meetings since Brighton joined the top-flight in 2017 have seen the Blues win by at least two clear goals, and with Brighton’s defensive absentees, we’re happy to back that outcome again.
CHELSEA -1 HANDICAP