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Match Previews


26 December 2017

Brighton & Hove Albion make their first trip to Stamford Bridge since 1988 this afternoon, as they take on Chelsea in their first Boxing Day fixture in the Premier League, kick-off 3pm.

Chris Hughton’s team head into the game on the back of their first league victory in eight games, after Pascal Gross scored the winning goal in a 1-0 win for the Seagulls over Watford at the Amex.

This afternoon’s opponents won the Premier League last season, but the Blues have been unable to reach the same heights in the league table this season, with Manchester City storming ahead.

Antonio Conte’s team occupy third position in the Premier League ahead of today’s game, and shared the spoils in a goalless draw against Everton at Goodison Park last time out.

Albion moved up to 12th in the league standings after their win over the Hornets, and Hughton’s men will be looking to move even further from the drop zone with points at the Bridge today.


After completing a one-game suspension, Albion defender Shane Duffy is available for selection again, but Izzy Brown is ineligible to play against his parent club.

Steve Sidwell is the only other player unavailable to play, as the midfielder continues to recover from back surgery.

For Chelsea, top scorer Alvaro Morata returns after a one-match ban - David Luiz remains out with a knee injury, while midfielder Charly Musonda is absent because of a groin problem.


ALBION: The Seagulls ended their seven-game winless run in the Premier League with all three points against Watford on Saturday, and they are now unbeaten in two, with a 0-0 draw against Burnley coming beforehand.

December opened with three consecutive defeats to Liverpool, Huddersfield Town and Tottenham Hotspur, but Hughton’s side took five points from 12 games in November, beating Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium to start things off.

CHELSEA: Before Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Everton, Chelsea had won back-to-back league fixtures against Huddersfield and Southampton, with a 2-1 Carabao Cup win included in-between.

Their last defeat came against West Ham United at the London Stadium, but Conte’s team had previously been unbeaten in seven matches, while also qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.


Gross 64


Albion line-up: Ryan (GK); Bruno, Goldson, Dunk, Suttner; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March (Izquierdo 90); Gross (Kayal 82); Hemed (Murray 86).

Subs not used: Krul (GK), Huenemeier, Schelotto, Baldock.




Chelsea line-up: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses (Zappacosta 80), Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian (Batshuayi 70), Hazard, Pedro (Fabregas 63).

Subs not used: Caballero (GK), Cahill, Drinkwater, Hudson-Odoi.


After signing for Chelsea in 2012 from Lille, the winger has taken English football by storm, helping the London club to two Premier League titles, playing 30-plus games in each of his seasons at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgian recorded his best league goal tally for the club during the 2016/17 season just gone, scoring 16 goals in 36 appearances - and the 26-year-old already has five league goals to his name this season.

Hazard has impressed with his creative flair from wide areas, and is often the man Chelsea look to when in need of inspiration, with the Belgium international providing seven assists to go with his eight goals in all competitions this campaign.

With his explosive speed, excellent passing ability and keen eye for goal, the Chelsea man is regarded as one of the best players in the world - therefore Albion’s defence are likely to have their hands full this afternoon.

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