Premier League 2018-19: Recapping Chelsea's 2-1 win over Brighton
Brighton hosted Chelsea at the Amex Stadium on Saturday with the visitors high on confidence after their previous league victory over defending champions Manchester City.
Brighton on their part were in a comfortable position, sitting at 13th ahead of the game with 11 points separating them from the relegation zone. Their home form is one of the key reason behind this with Tottenham Hotspurs the only visiting team to register a win there.
Credit must go to Brighton for turning Amex Stadium into a fortress, but the Blues made sure they didn't succumb to the pressure and kept their title hopes alive.
First 10 min: Chelsea started the game on a high note with a long ball from deep. They were dominant in the early exchanges, with nine players playing in the opposition half and only Luiz and Rudiger sitting deep.
Eden Hazard won the first foul with Luiz taking a low dipping free kick directly into the hands of Mathew Ryan. Chelsea had a lion's share of the possession thanks to their impressive pressing.
11-20 min: A beautiful long ball from deep helped open up the Chelsea half, but Glenn Murray failed to collect the ball. Marcos Alonso seemed a bit sloppy, giving away the ball twice.
Willian then won a free kick from a promising position outside the box but could only hit the wall. Chelsea kept playing right outside the box when suddenly Hazard turned up a gear and blasted past the defenders. He ultimately just had play a simple pass into the box, which was easily converted by Pedro, putting the visitors 1-0 ahead.
21-30 min: Brighton won the ball a few times but failed to keep possession thanks to their sloppy passing under pressure. A few promising chances went in vain.
31-45 min: Mateo Kovacic conceded the ball to Solly March right outside the box, who powered it past the defenders, but it was comfortably collected by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
At the 33rd-minute mark, Leon Balogun mistakenly passed the ball to Willian, who then created a beautiful through ball for Hazard, enabling him to sweetly pass the ball into the net for Chelsea's second goal.
A Rudiger-powered header which failed to hit the target was the last chance in the first half for visitors.
The first half finished with Chelsea leading 2-0.
45-55 min: Cesar Azpilicueta's low pass into the box was mistimed by Hazard who failed to convert it. Martin Montoya denied Willian a potential tap in and then neither Pedro nor Kante failed to convert the target. The chance for a potential 3-0 lead was frittered away by Chelsea.
56-70 min: Florin Adone came in for Murray as the hosts looked for a change. There was then some risky play by Anthony Knockaert inside his own box, who was later pulled down by Alonso.
A few minutes later saw a wonderful strike by Alonso, who drifted past the defender only to hit the post from outside the box.
Brighton looked lively with a promising move throwing seven players inside the opposition half. A cross to the back post saw Bernado turn it inside the area. The ball then bounced back into the middle and March was there to slot it into the net.
71-90 min: Ruben Loftus-Cheek dribbled into the box, but Lewis Dunk stretched and made a crucial challenge. There was then another change for both Chelsea and Brighton as Kovacic was replaced by Ross Barkley and Yves Bissouma replaced Pascal Gross.
Bissouma gave a through pass for March, who was tugged back by Alonso. Luckily for Alonso, he got away with just a yellow. Kepa was also booked for time wasting as the hosts kept pilling their men forward, but ultimately Chelsea managed to hold on to their 2-1 lead.
Final result: Brighton 1-2 ChelseaPublished 17 Dec 2018, 03:50 IST