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PMB: Chelsea v Brighton - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...


• At this stage of the season the team with the most energy and determination often prevails. Maurizio Sarri rested several regular starters at the weekend and revealed Callum Hudson-Odoi will start either tonight or on Monday against West Ham, while the heavy club/country workload of N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard means they may not be ready yet to play a full match.


• The Belgian, who helped chang the game coming off the bench at Cardiff, has also enjoyed himself against Brighton. The reverse fixture ended in a 2-1 win for the Londoners thanks to him and Pedro. Seagulls manager Chris Hughton hailed Hazard’s display last season as ‘probably one of the best single performances we've seen at the Amex’.

• Chelsea have kept six clean sheets in the past nine top-flight matches at the Bridge. Only Liverpool and Arsenal have managed a higher total than Chelsea’s 15, and both have played more times on their own soil.


THREE IN ONE QUIZ


• Brighton suffered a psychological blow in the battle for survival on Saturday, losing 1-0 at home to fellow strugglers Southampton. Hughton has demanded ‘a reaction’ this evening against the Europa League quarter-finalists, and may set his side up defensively. He would surely have preferred the luxury of resting players ahead of their FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City.

• Albion pose a big threat at corners, the source of nine of their 32 league goals, the biggest proportion in the top flight, and they boast the highest percentage of crosses which find their man. However they do not make many openings, and only Cardiff have managed a lower percentage of shots on target (39.4 per cent) this season than this evening’s visitors (40 per cent).

• Key man Anthony Knockaert has played a part in three of their past five league goals (one goal scored, two assists). His side have found the net in their past five Premier League matches on the road, but have conceded in every away game since October. Hughton has confirmed that central midfielder Pascal Gross remains sidelined.


Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes


N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard rested in the last match, N'Golo for all the match, Eden for 55 mins, but we need to consider N’Golo in this season has played 50 matches, and Hazard 48. In the last two weeks they played two matches for their national teams, so sometimes they need to rest, but now they are okay.

'Eden usually plays every match. He knows very well sometimes he needs to rest. It’s not a problem for Eden.'

Brighton boss Chris Hughton's pre-match quotes

‘Most importantly, we want a response from our players. If you can get a performance at one of the big clubs away from home, it gives you a chance, it keeps you in the game.

‘We know that we are reliant on playing well and the opposition playing poorly - anything different to that then the top-six teams are generally always going to win.’


Squad news

Chelsea
Injury
Marcos Alonso

Suspended
None


Brighton
Injured
Pascal Gross
Beram Hayal
Jason Steele

Doubt
Florin Andone

Suspended
None
 

Matchday weather outlook

Chilly but with a spot of sun as evening approaches in west London today.


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