PMB: Brighton v Chelsea - talking points

It’s a lunchtime kick-off this weekend, and a rapid return fixture against the side we defeated on Boxing Day. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton set their sights on Sussex by the sea…


It is a little early in the year for buckets and spades (especially as the Georgian resort’s beach is all pebbles), but Chelsea have the chance to kick off the weekend action at Brighton with a turn of the tide after five straight draws.

This is the champions’ fifth 12.30 start this season, the third on the road, and the 207th stadium visited in competitive first-team action since 1905. The pace of matches does not relent. Still fighting on four fronts, the Blues now face four games over 12 days up to the end of the month.

A much-changed team eventually saw off Norwich’s FA Cup challenge in midweek, to make it 11 games unbeaten in all competitions. But extra-time, penalties and red cards meant some first teamers were unable to have as much time off as intended.

‘I hope we don’t pay,’ Antonio Conte said afterwards, ‘because my decision was clear, to go to the next round tonight and rest the other players.’ The head coach will have to factor out Pedro and Alvaro Morata, who are both suspended following second yellows in Wednesday’s win.