Sunday, October 21, 2018

Prediction: Brighton vs Chelsea

Verdict: Under 2.5 Goals

Best Odds: 13/20

Bookmakers: William Hill

Struggling Brighton host out of form Chelsea in a Premier League clash between two sides that have had difficulty finding the back of the net in recent games. The Seagulls have been slowly slipping down the table, and need a positive result in order to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. The Blues meanwhile will be without two of their starting attackers due to suspension, but they too need a result from this clash or risk losing out on a top four spot.

Brighton

The newly promoted Seagulls have had a tricky first half of the season, and it has been marred by an inability to grind out narrow wins in tight games. With five wins and eight draws after 23 games, Brighton are looking increasingly likely to become relegation candidates.

They currently sit just three points above the drop zone, and have scored just 17 times all season. That is perhaps the statistic that is most damning of the club’s season, and explains their tendency to draw games or lose narrowly.

Until they can find their feet in front of goal it could be a struggle for Chris Hughton to keep his side up. Striker Glenn Murray has bagged six goals in this campaign, but at 34-years of age he isn’t quite up to the standard of the Premier League.

There are positives however, most notably the fact that the Seagulls have the best defensive record outside of the top seven. With a solid back line, the addition of a proven goal scorer in this January transfer window could really turn Brighton’s season around.

Team News

The Seagulls don’t have too many injuries to contend with, and only Isaiah Brown and Steve Sidwell will be side-lined with knee and back issues respectively.

Chelsea

The Blues have been wildly inconsistent this season, capable of losing to West Ham or Crystal Palace one week, while dismantling Stoke 5-0 the next. That sort of erratic unpredictability has prevented Antonio Conte’s men from mounting any sort of title defence, and they now look in danger of missing out on the top four.

Chelsea’s recent form has been poor, and their displays in front of goal have been even worse. Three consecutive 0-0 draws in all competitions preceded their penalty shootout win over Norwich in midweek, which will also leave a number of their key players suspended or fatigued.

Both Alvaro Morata and Pedro picked up red cards in that clash, meaning that they will miss this game against Brighton. Not that they will be hugely missed as Morata has just one goal in his last six league appearances, while Pedro only has four all season.

The Blues boast the joint best defence in the league, but, until they can get back to scoring goals and winning games consistently, it is hard to trust them to win even the most favourable of matchups.

Team News

The Blues’ penalty shootout victory over Norwich in midweek has wreaked havoc on Antonio Conte’s selection possibilities, with both Pedro and Alvaro Morata picking up red cards, meaning they are suspended for this game.

Elsewhere both Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas should recover from hamstring issues in time for this clash, but Ross Barkley likely won’t be fit enough to start.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Brighton have scored just 17 times in 23 league games this season.
  • The Seagulls have also failed to score in eight of their last 11 league matches.
  • Chelsea have scored just once in their last four games in all competitions.
  • The Blues played a full 120-minute game against Norwich on Wednesday night, meaning that fatigue could be a factor.
  • Both Alvaro Morata and Pedro are suspended for this clash.

Conclusion

Brighton can’t seem to find the back of the net for love nor money this season, and look to be in real danger of getting dragged into a relegation fight. Chelsea meanwhile have been wildly inconsistent, but their struggles going forward have been all to frequent. Without Morata and Pedro, and with some of their key players having played 120 minutes against Norwich in midweek, it is difficult to see this being a high-scoring affair.

Verdict: Under 2.5 Goals

Best Odds: 13/20

Bookmakers: William Hill

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Steeden


Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.

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