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OPPOSITION IN FOCUS: CHELSEA

6 June 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Albion in action against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last season.

Our rundown of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Premier League opposition for the 2018/19 campaign continues with Chelsea. 

Chelsea

League Position 2017/18: 5th 

Top league goalscorer: Eden Hazard (12) 

How did they do last season? 

Chelsea ended the defence of their Premier League title in fifth position, whilst winning the Emirates FA Cup and ending their Champions League return by reaching the Round of 16 stage.

The side responded to an opening day loss at home to Burnley by going their next five matches unbeaten. Defeats to Crystal Palace and Manchester City followed before just one loss in their next 15 matches, which cemented third position in the table as the campaign entered 2018

However, five defeats in their next seven matches dropped Antonio Conte’s men down into fifth, and it was a position they would occupy until the season’s end.

Eden Hazard’s goal was the difference between the Blues and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at Wembley Stadium at the end of May, with the season ending in silverware as they lifted the aforementioned Emirates FA Cup. 

Who’s in charge?

Antonio Conte took over at Stamford Bridge in April 2016 and led the side to the Premier League title in his first campaign during the 2016/17 season.

Having won three consecutive Serie A titles during his time as manager of Juventus at his previous post, he would then move to become the manager of the Italian national side – overseeing their Euro 2016 campaign with an agreement to join Chelsea after the competition already in place.

Conte’s team lost a penalty shootout to Germany in the quarter-finals of the competition and it was a result that signaled Conte’s return to club management and a move to west London – which has seen him seal back-to-back seasons of silverware with Chelsea.

Who should I keep an eye out for?

 

Eden Hazard remains a key and influential performer in the Chelsea side – and that fact was reinforced by his performances last season.

The Belgian finished as the side’s top league goalscorer with 12 strikes, and he notched 17 times in all competitions to top the charts across the board. 

Hazard joined from French side Lille in 2012 having spent over eight years with the side, he has since gone on to win two Premier League titles and numerous awards for his performances for Chelsea - the two goals he scored at the Amex Stadium in January moved him onto 100 league career goals and he looks sure to be a key performer for the team once again during the 2018/19 season. 

How did we fare against them last season?

Chelsea completed a league double over Albion during the 2017/18 campaign.

The first meeting between the two sides came on Boxing Day at Stamford Bridge, and goals from Álvaro Morata and Marcus Alonso gave the home side a 2-0 victory. 

The reverse fixture at the end of January at the Amex Stadium ended in a 4-0 win for Conte’s men, with a brace from Hazard and further goals from Willian and Victor Moses giving the west London side all three points.


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