Thursday, May 23, 2024

Brighton 1-2 Chelsea: What Were The Main Talking Points As The Blues Take A Giant Leap Towards A Top-Six Finish?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 15 May 2024

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Taking a giant leap towards securing a top-six return, Chelsea claimed a 2-1 victory away at Brighton on Wednesday night.

Now on the cusp of booking a Europa League ticket, Mauricio Pochettino’s men opened the scoring just after the half hour mark as the record-breaking Cole Palmer notched a 22nd Premier League strike of the season.

Watching French international Christopher Nkunku come off the bench and calmly finish Male Gusto’s cutback 14 minutes after the restart, the Blues have now won all of their previous four appearances on the bounce.

Welcoming Bournemouth to west London for their final showdown of the season on Sunday afternoon, a single point will be enough to officially clinch their top-six spot.

Although Chelsea might have extended on their Premier League romp here, there was a sour note late on.

England international Reece James – who was playing just his second match of 2024 – was shown a straight red card after kicking out at Joao Pedro.

While ex-Manchester United Danny Welbeck might have bagged a late consolation strike for Brighton deep in stoppage time, the Seagulls are limping their way over the finishing line.

Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat means that Brighton have now registered just a single victory from any of their previous nine Premier League appearances.

On a night when Chelsea took a giant leap towards booking a Europa League spot, we have taken a look at the main talking points from the Amex.

Chelsea storming their way to a European return

While Pochettino might have failed to confirm if he would still be in the Stamford Bridge dugout next season, Chelsea are enjoying what has been a remarkable end to the 2023/24 campaign.

Although Wednesday’s guests might have opened the New Year seeking a minor miracle in their bid to book a crucial European return, the former Tottenham boss now finds the mood in his camp at a red-hot high.

Opening May with a rampant 6-0 victory against London rivals West Ham, the Blues have now won all of their previous four Premier League appearances by an aggregate score of 12-3.

Despite suffering FA Cup heartbreak at the hands of Manchester City last month, Chelsea have suffered just a single defeat from any of their last 16 consecutive top-flight matchups – a purple patch that stems all the way back to February 4th.

Now needing just a point on Sunday afternoon when they welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge, Pochettino’s side are sat firmly in the driving seat to claim a Europa League ticket.

Palmer is the Signing of the Season

While many of Chelsea’s big-money arrivals might have struggled to find any kind of stability since arriving in west London, Palmer has certainly underlined his status as the Signing of the Season.

Making a late summer move away from Manchester City last summer after publicly stating that he wants regular first-team action, the England international has enjoyed a remarkable rise to superstardom.

With many tipping Chelsea’s new talisman as a leading contender to be crowned PFA Player of the Year, Palmer has continued to break a string of records since arriving at Stamford Bridge.

Almost single-handedly dragging Chelsea to a lucrative European return, Palmer has recorded 22 Premier League goals so far this season and is only sat behind former City teammate Erling Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot.

Only joining Chelsea last summer for a fee of £40million, the 22-year-old is one of European football’s hottest stars and is expected to play a leading role when the Three Lions arrive in Germany for the European Championships.

De Zerbi facing criticism

While De Zerbi might have received plenty of plaudits since replacing Graham Potter at the Amex in September 2022, Brighton have drastically struggled to find any kind of consistency this season.

Despite opening May with a 1-0 victory against newly-appointed Champions League outfit Aston Villa, that is the only win that the Seagulls have collected from any of their previous nine Premier League appearances.

Crashing out of their maiden Europa League adventure back in March as they slumped to a routine 4-1 aggregate defeat at the hands of Italian giants Roma, Wednesday’s hosts have the feel of a squad limping their way over the finishing line.

Although there might have been plenty of speculation over the past few months that De Zerbi is attracting plenty of heavyweight European interest, the ex-Sassuolo boss is receiving some deserved criticism.

While Brighton might have been dealing with an injury crisis behind the scenes at the Amex, they have failed to secure consecutive Premier League wins since the end of September.

Match Report

Brighton: Verbruggen, Lamptey, Webster, Dunk, Igor, Gross, Gilmour, Buonanotte, Enciso, Adinera, Pedro

Subs: Barco, Welbeck, Baleba, Fati, Offiah

Chelsea: Petrovic, Gusto, Chalobah, Badiashile, Cucurella, Gallagher, Caicedo, Madueke, Palmer, Mudryk, Jackson

Subs: Sterling, Nkunku, James, Silva, Casadei, Ugochukwu

Goals: Brighton: Welbeck (90+7’) – Chelsea: Palmer (34’), Nkunku (64’)

Yellow Cards: Brighton: Dunk, Verbruggen – Chelsea: Sterling, Caicedo

Red Cards: James

Referee: Michael Salisbury


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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