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Match Previews

PREVIEW: ALBION V CHELSEA

18 January 2018

Kieran Cleeves
Albion welcome Chelsea to the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Brighton & Hove Albion come up against reigning Premier League champions Chelsea at the Amex on Saturday afternoon, kick-off 12.30pm.

The Seagulls head into the match unbeaten in four games at the Amex, but were beaten 2-0 against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns last time out.

Chelsea drew 0-0 against Leicester City at Stamford Bridge last weekend, but Antonio Conte’s men are undefeated in four successive away trips in league and cup competitions.

TEAM NEWS:

Chris Hughton has no fresh injury concerns heading into Saturday's game, with Steve Sidwell (back and ankle) the only long-term absentee.

Alvaro Morata and Pedro will both miss Saturday's game through suspension, after the pair picked up red cards in the club's penalty-shootout victory over Norwich City.

Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas are both doubts for the match after missing Wednesday's Emirates FA Cup third round replay at Stamford Bridge.




REVERSE FIXTURE:

The Seagulls made their first Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge and the game was goalless at the break, after Hughton’s team frustrated their opponents and defended in numbers.

But a Morata header soon after the re-start broke the deadlock for the hosts, before Marcos Alonso added a second to secure all three points for the Blues on Boxing Day.


FORM:

ALBION: The Seagulls claimed a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the Emirates FA Cup at the Amex before last weekend’s disappointing defeat to the Baggies.

Dale Stephens and Glenn Murray found the back of the net against the Eagles, but headers from Jonny Evans and Craig Dawson made the difference in a 2-0 win for the West Midlanders in the Premier League.

A 2-2 draw against AFC Bournemouth came beforehand at the Amex, as Hughton’s team were denied all three points after Callum Wilson’s late strike.

Albion recovered from their 2-0 defeat to Chelsea on Boxing Day with a hard-fought goalless draw against Newcastle United at St James’ Park before the New Year.

CHELSEA:

The Blues secured their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup, thanks to a penalty-shootout victory against Norwich, after the teams couldn't be separated after 210 minutes of play.

Beforehand, Chelsea drew three consecutive games 0-0 in both league and cup competitions, including a goalless draw with Leicester City in the Premier League.

Conte’s men were unable to break the deadlock in cup games against the Canaries and Arsenal, and were denied all three points late on when they met the Gunners in the league.

The west London side added to their Boxing Day victory over the Seagulls with another five goals, as they tore apart Stoke City and recorded an impressive 5-0 win at Stamford Bridge.


LAST TIME OUT: ALBION

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2
Evans 4
Dawson 55

ALBION 0

Albion line-up: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong;  Knockaert, Stephens, Propper (Kayal 76), Izquierdo (March 45), Gross (Baldock 65), Murray.

Subs not used: Krul (GK), Goldson, Schelotto, Hemed.


LAST TIME OUT: CHELSEA



CHELSEA 0

LEICESTER CITY 0

Chelsea line-up: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill (Christensen 33), Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas (Willian 58), Bakayoko, Alonso; Hazard (Pedro 58), Morata.

Subs not used: Caballero (GK), Luiz, Zappacosta, Batshuayi.



PLAYER TO WATCH: Marcos Alonso

The Spaniard joined the Blues from Fiorentina in August 2016 for an estimated £24 million - and the 27-year-old played an integral part in the club's recapture of the Premier League trophy.

The attacking full-back scored six goals in 31 appearances for Chelsea last season, as the London club introduced a new formation that saw them convert to a three-at-the-back and two forward-thinking wing-backs.

Alonso has continued his impressive form this season, already matching the six goals he notched last campaign - including Chelsea's second goal in the 2-0 Boxing Day victory over Albion.


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