A View on Chelsea’s First Ever Premier League Game at Brighton

It might not be the most important date on most Chelsea fans’ calendars, but the trip to Brighton for the Premier League game on Saturday 2...

It might not be the most important date on most Chelsea fans’ calendars, but the trip to Brighton for the Premier League game on Saturday 20th January (12:30 Kick-off) should be a memorable one. This will be the first time that Chelsea have faced Brighton away in a league game since 1988/89, when Kerry Dixon was firing us to the Division 2 title.

Make no mistake, even though Brighton have not beaten Chelsea since 1933, it promises to be a tough fixture. Brighton have defied most people’s expectations by generally staying clear of the relegation zone all season. They have a shrew manager in Chris Hughton. He has set up a side whose whole offers more than the sum of their parts and are generally tough to breakdown. To put it into perspective, they have conceded fewer goals than Arsenal this season. Like us, they have lost two games at home this season. Six of their home matches have been drawn however.

What Happened in the Reverse Fixture:

Of course, Chelsea met Brighton just a few weeks ago on Boxing Day. Cesc Fabregas was the star of the show in a comfortable 2-0 victory. Goals game from Morata and Marcus Alonso. The 2-0 scoreline did not really give an impression of Chelsea’s dominance though, with the Blues registering 25 shots – close to double their average inthe Premier League.

What the Bookmakers are Saying About the Upcoming Match:

As you might expect, Chelsea are odds-on favourites to take three points. They are priced 2/5 with Paddy Power in that market, with Brighton available at 17/2. The draw, which Hughton would surely be happy with, is priced in at 7/2. Any Chelsea fans betting on the match should be made aware that they can claim a PaddyPower free bet to bet on Chelsea in their next game. A win then is clearly on the cards for Chelsea, but a cricket score seems highly unlikely.

If you fancy a repeat of the 2-0 Boxing Day scoreline, the current odds offered are 9/2. A more ambitious bet, and one that would also be a repeat of Boxing Day, would be the 13/1 for the score to be 0-0 at half-time and 2-0 to Chelsea at full-time. If you want to go against the consensus of a run of the mill Chelsea victory however, big odds of 175/1 are offered for a 3-3 draw.

However, the bet which could be the most ‘solid’ is the 8/5 odds offered for Chelsea to score the first goal after 29 minutes. In their last ten games (this is being written before Brighton v Palace on 8th Jan) Brighton have only conceded once in the first half hour of a match. That early goal came against Huddersfield, but in the 10-game period Brighton have kept out Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea early on in the match.

A look at Brighton’s Danger Men:

Glen Murray is Brighton’s top scorer with six goals, but it is Pascal Gross and José Izquierdo who are the most likely to cause upset to Chelsea’s defence. Gross, especially, has proved to be something of a revelation, scoring or assisting in over half of the Seagulls’ goals this season. Still, the problems for Chelsea may come down the other end of the pitch when trying to break down that dogged Brighton defence. Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy have made a strong partnership and centre back.

Anything Else to Add?

By the time the game comes around, both clubs could, and should, have new strikers on their books. Brighton, despite Murray’s best efforts, have been lacking a quality frontman all season. Hughton may make a splash in the transfer market before January is over. While Chelsea’s need for a striker is not as pressing, they really could do with a backup to Alvaro Morata – especially if Michy Batshuayi leaves in the transfer window

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