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FIVE THINGS: CHELSEA

27 December 2017

Paul Hazlewood
Albion's players get prepared for another Chelsea set-piece.

Brighton & Hove Albion were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their first-ever Boxing Day fixture in the Premier League, and here are five things we learned from the game.

FORMATION ROTATION

Albion manager Chris Hughton introduced Beram Kayal to the starting line-up for Tuesday’s trip to Stamford Bridge, as the midfielder joined Dale Stephens and Davy Propper in central midfield. Hughton deployed the same formation when the Seagulls played Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium earlier this month, with both games finishing 2-0 to the hosts. It may only be a strategy used for games against the top six - and Hughton may revert back to 4-4-1-1 for Saturday's game against Newcastle United.


PROUD MOMENT

With Bruno taking a place on Albion’s bench, Lewis Dunk wore the captain’s armband and led his team-mates out against the club he grew up supporting as a child. The defender, who admitted his family dog is named ‘Didier’, played his part in holding the Blues to a goalless scoreline at half-time, but second-half goals from Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso ensured Dunk’s memorable game would end in defeat at Stamford Bridge.


STEADY TABLE

Despite losing 2-0 in the capital, Albion’s position in the Premier League table remained the same after Saturday’s fixtures concluded. Stoke City and Southampton both drew to move one point closer to the Seagulls, and the gap to the bottom three was only reduced by one point, as Bournemouth also collected a point in their battle against relegation.


OVER THE BRIDGE

Albion returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1988. It was the first meeting between the teams in England’s top flight, with their previous eight meetings coming in the old Division Two and the FA Cup. The last game at the Bridge also ended in a 2-0 victory for the Blues, but if Hughton’s men secure their place in the Premier League for next season, they’ll get a fifth chance to score Albion’s first-ever goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.


BOXING DAY CLEARANCE

Albion had a busy day inside their own penalty area at Stamford Bridge, making 32 clearances compared to the 13 that Antonio Conte’s team needed to make. Chelsea’s wide men delivered numerous balls into the 18-yard box, looking for lone striker Alvaro Morata, but Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy were on hand to make a number of headed clearances, with the hosts having 13 corners to Albion’s one throughout the match.


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