Brighton & Hove Albion will look to continue their positive form on home soil when Chelsea visit the Amex Stadium on Sunday afternoon, kick-off 1.30pm, with the Seagulls playing the first of their four Premier League matches inside two weeks.
The Seagulls boast the seventh best home record in the top flight, with 14 points from their opening seven matches on the south coast, but the Blues were one of only four teams to win at the Amex last season.
Chris Hughton’s team made a fine start to December with victories over Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace, but a narrow 1-0 defeat to Burnley followed last weekend at Turf Moor.
Chelsea produced a fine display at Stamford Bridge to inflict a first league defeat of the season on reigning champions Manchester City, before drawing 2-2 against Vidi in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Hughton confirmed that Alireza Jahanbakhsh is available for the visit of the Blues after recovering from injury, and a late decision will be made on the fitness of Jose Izquierdo.
Shane Duffy will serve the second match of his three-game suspension, following the red card he received in Albion's 3-1 win against Crystal Palace.
Both Alvaro Morata and Mateo Kovacic are doubts for the Blues after picking up injuries against Vidi and Manchester City respectively, while Victor Moses remains a long-term absentee for the Londoners.
The Seagulls were unable to secure a third Premier League victory in a row when they travelled to Turf Moor last weekend, with James Tarkowski’s first-half goal sealing the points for the Clarets.
But Hughton’s side put six points on the board beforehand, following their second away victory of the season, which came at the John Smith’s Stadium, before a breathtaking 3-1 win against Crystal Palace.
Florin Andone got his name on the scoresheet in both victories, but Shane Duffy’s red card against the Eagles meant the defender would be suspended for Albion’s following three matches.
The Blues opened December with a comfortable 2-0 victory over west London neighbours Fulham, but a shock 2-1 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers followed after Ruben Loftus-Cheek had opened the scoring.
Maurizio Sarri’s team bounced back in superb fashion with a 2-0 win against Manchester City, before making numerous changes for their 2-2 draw against Vidi in Europe, having already qualified as group winners.
LAST TIME WE MET:
The Seagulls were made to pay for a slow start when the sides met at the Amex in January, with Eden Hazard and Willian finding the back of the net inside six minutes to give the Blues a 2-0 lead.
Albion came back into the game and created numerous chances to halve the deficit, including Davy Propper’s header that crashed against the woodwork after the break.
But further strikes from Hazard and Moses extended Chelsea’s lead and rounded off a frustrating afternoon for Hughton’s men on the south coast.
LAST TIME OUT: ALBION
Albion line-up: Ryan; Bruno, Dunk, Balogun, Bong; Knockaert (Locadia 63), Propper, Bissouma, March; Gross (Stephens 79); Andone (Murray 63).
Subs not used: Steele (GK), White, Bong, Kayal.
LAST TIME OUT: CHELSEA
MANCHESTER CITY 0
Chelsea line-up: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (Barkley 65); Pedro, Hazard (Giroud 90), Willian (Loftus-Cheek 75).
Subs not used: Caballero (GK), Christensen, Palmieri, Fabregas.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Eden Hazard
After finding the back of the net seven times in his opening eight Premier League matches of the season, Hazard has turned provider for the Blues in recent weeks, most recently assisting both goals in the 2-0 victory over Manchester City.
It took the Belgian’s assist tally to eight for the campaign, which is already double what he managed during the 2017/18 season and six short of his record total from the 2012/13 season.
The 27-year-old bagged a brace at the Amex last season in Chelsea’s 4-0 victory, and will be looking to pose further threat to Albion’s defence when the team’s meet on Sunday afternoon.