- Albion are beaten 3-0 by Chelsea
- Olivier Giroud, Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek score for the hosts
- Solly March goes off injured in the first half
- Albion are next in action against Manchester City in an Emirates FA Cup semi-final on Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion succumbed to back-to-back Premier League defeats after a 3-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Despite being defensively resolute for large periods of the game, two superb second-half strikes from Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek alongside Olivier Giroud's opener gave the hosts all three points.
Chris Hughton made four changes to the side that lost 1-0 at home to Southampton, with Bruno, Gaetan Bong, Solly March and Florin Andone all coming into the side.
Chelsea created the first chance of the game when Callum Hudson-Odoi worked his way into a shooting position inside the box, but his shot took a nick off Shane Duffy before going behind.
The hosts had a penalty shout turned down when Gaetan Bong tussled with N’Golo Kante inside the box, but referee Graham Scott dismissed any appeals for a spot-kick.
The first real chance for the Seagulls came when Alireza Jahanbakhsh strode forward down the right flank and picked out Solly March deep inside the box, but the latter’s strike hit the side-netting.
Chelsea began to find their stride as the half wore on and some free-flowing link-up play involving Hazard and Hudson-Odoi set up a chance for Giroud, whose close-range strike was blocked by Duffy.
Albion were dealt a blow on the half-hour mark, after March came off following a collision with Cesar Azpilicueta and was replaced by Anthony Knockaert.
Azpilicueta had Chelsea’s next chance after meeting Hudson-Odoi’s in-swinging cross from the right, but the Spaniard couldn’t direct his header on target.
Opportunities were limited for Albion in the first half hour, but Yves Bissouma showed some brilliant persistence to beat two players down the right, although his cut-back across the box failed to find an Albion player.
But the deadlock was broken with 38 minutes on the clock courtesy of Giroud, who deftly finished past Maty Ryan at the near post from Hudson-Odoi’s low-driven cross.
The livewire winger almost turned from provider to goalscorer ten minutes into the second half after rising highest to meet Jorginho’s cross, but the winger couldn’t direct his downward header on target.
Chelsea did score a second on the hour mark through Hazard, who evaded Lewis Dunk’s sliding challenge and placed a fine right-footed shot beyond Ryan into the top right-hand corner.
The hosts effectively ended the game as a contest four minutes later through Loftus-Cheek, as he latched onto Hazard’s pass and sent another clinical strike past Ryan into the top corner.
Chelsea were well in control at this point, as the ever-threatening Hazard picked out Kante in the area, but the Frenchman fired over from close range.
Bernardo replaced Jahanbakhsh with 15 minutes remaining and almost made an immediate impact after being teed up by Davy Propper on the edge of the area, but Kepa comfortably kept out the Brazilian’s effort.
Knockaert had a chance to score a stoppage-time consolation for Albion after latching onto Dunk's long-range pass, but he fired wide with only Kepa left to beat.
The game finished 3-0, and Hughton’s men will now turn their attention to Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, as roughly 35,000 Albion supporters head to Wembley Stadium.
ALBION: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Stephens, Propper, Bissouma; Jahanbakhsh (Bernardo 75), Andone (Murray 70), March (Knockaert 31).
SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Burn, Kayal, Izquierdo.