Chelsea will be desperate to return to winning ways when they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Gameweek 14 of the 2023/24 Premier League season will end on Sunday, with half of the games coming on the day. The action will kick off with four simultaneous matches, one of those featuring Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge in an afternoon fixture.

Chelsea would have hoped to kick-start a memorable run of results after the results ahead of the international break. The Blues had beaten Tottenham Hotspur while holding Manchester City to a creditable 4-4 draw. But Mauricio Pochettino’s men fell to a 4-1 defeat at the end of a disastrous performance last weekend.

On the other hand, Brighton & Hove Albion ended their six-game winless run in the Premier League last week. But they had to work hard for three points, coming from behind to clinch a narrow 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest. Roberto De Zerbi’s charges then followed that up with a 1-0 win over AEK Athens to leave their Europa League knockout-stage qualification in their own hands.

The corresponding fixture last season saw Brighton & Hove Albion coming from a goal down to beat Chelsea 2-1. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics


Chelsea have failed with an improved offer to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton & Hove Albion in the ongoing summer transfer window.
Mauricio Pochettino has a plethora of issues on the team news front. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Mauricio Pochettino has greeted a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, the Chelsea manager will be bereft of the services of at least seven first-team players.

The bad news is Reece James is unavailable after seeing red last week against Newcastle United. The Chelsea captain will serve a one-match suspension this weekend. Marc Cucurella is also on the sidelines after receiving his fifth booking of the season thus far, meaning he will also return to contention next weekend.

Meanwhile, Wesley Fofana (knee), Ben Chilwell (hamstring), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), and Carney Chukwuemeka (knee) remain unavailable. In addition, Malo Gusto will likely miss the game after picking up a knock this week.

But there is some good news, as Romeo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku are in contention to make it to the matchday squad after stepping up their rehabilitation programs. The game has come too soon for the duo to feature in the starting eleven. But they might be on the bench on Sunday.

Robert Sanchez will take his spot between the sticks, with Chelsea lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him. With James, Gusto, and Cucurella unavailable, the defensive quartet of Axel Disasi, Thiago Silva, Benoit Badiashile, and Levi Colwill picks itself.

As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past Conor Gallagher, Moises Caicedo, and Enzo Fernandez. Gallagher will often drift forward to reprise the no. 10 role, with the other two being primarily defensive-minded. Finally, Nicolas Jackson will spearhead the Chelsea attack against Brighton, with Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling supporting him in the attack.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Badiashile, Colwill; Gallagher, Caicedo, Fernandez; Palmer, Jackson, Sterling

Brighton & Hove Albion

Like his counterpart in the Chelsea dugout, the in-demand Roberto De Zerbi has a new roster issue hampering his preparations ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge. The Brighton & Hove Albion manager will be without nine first-team players on Sunday.

Lewis Dunk is the latest absentee, with the Brighton captain serving a suspension on Sunday after seeing red against Nottingham Forest last weekend. Meanwhile, Ansu Fati is out for several weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury.

The duo has joined Pervis Estupinan (thigh), Tariq Lamptey (hamstring), Adam Webster (knock), Mahmoud Dahoud (suspension), Solomon March (knee), Julio Enciso (knee), and Danny Welbeck (muscle injury) on the sidelines.

Bart Verbruggen will take his spot between the sticks, with Brighton lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him. Meanwhile, with Dunk and Webster unavailable, Jan-Paul van Hecke and Igor will pair up in a second-string central defensive pairing.

Joel Veltman and James Milner will complete the backline, with De Zerbi down to his bare bones in the defensive unit. As for the midfield department, Billy Gilmour and Pascal Gross are automatic picks. The duo will hold the fort in the middle of the park, with Gross being Brighton’s creative supremo.

Simon Adingra has been one of the positives for Brighton this season, and he will take up the right-wing berth. The youngster should join Kaoru Mitoma, Joao Pedro, and Evan Ferguson in the final third, with the quartet looking to run riot at Stamford Bridge.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Verbruggen; Veltman, van Hecke, Igor, Milner; Gilmour, Gross; Adingra, Pedro, Mitoma; Ferguson

Key Stats

  • Brighton & Hove Albion’s Premier League double over Chelsea last season ended a 14-game winless run in this fixture. The Seagulls’ 2-1 Premier League triumph last season is their only victory in the most recent ten away meetings with the West London club in all competitions.
  • Chelsea have lost five of their opening 13 Premier League games for only the second time in 28 seasons. They had lost seven at this stage in 2015/16. Meanwhile, the Blues have let in 20 goals at this stage of a Premier League campaign for just a second time after conceding 23 in 2015/16.
  • Brighton & Hove Albion’s 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest last time out ended a six-game Premier League winless run, their worst spell under Roberto De Zerbi. The Seagulls have scored and conceded in 17 consecutive league matches, a Premier League record and the highest in the top flight for 63 years (Manchester United also did it in 17 games between 1959 and 1960).
  • Chelsea have won only one of their last 14 Premier League home fixtures, beating Luton Town 3-0 in August.
  • Mauricio Pochettino lost just one of his seven matches as a manager against Brighton in all competitions (W5 D1), a 3-0 Premier League defeat for Spurs at the Amex Stadium in October 2019.

Player to Watch

Raheem Sterling

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea’s inconsistencies are not ending despite a few promising signs at different stages of the 2023/24 season thus far. Goalscoring remains the biggest issue for the West London club, even though Mauricio Pochettino’s system is leading to better chance-creation. So the Blues need their most experienced attacker to raise his hand and take responsibility.

Raheem Sterling has been arguably the best player for Chelsea this season. But he has not found his peak goalscoring levels thus far at the club, although, to his credit, he scored the only goal in Chelsea’s defeat to Newcastle United last weekend.

While Christopher Nkunku’s impending return will serve as a boost, Sterling can be the game-changer for Chelsea if he performs at his best. The hosts will be in good stead against Brighton & Hove Albion if Sterling rises to the occasion.


Chelsea 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

Both teams are in the doldrums on the personnel front, with issues on the field piling on the misery. That said, Brighton & Hove Albion are better placed to consistently find the back of the net, leaving Chelsea in a spot of bother.

However, Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer should ease the pressure on Mauricio Pochettino, finding the back of the net on Sunday. But that will not be enough to secure all three points, with the hosts’ frailties at the back being their undoing again. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Brighton this weekend.

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