Chelsea travel south to the Amex Stadium on Sunday following their midweek draw with Vidi in the Europa League.
Maurizio Sarri’s side have rediscovered their confidence recently following a small blip, but the huge victory over Manchester City, and being unbeaten in the Europa League shows that the Blues are back in business.
Brighton always seem to perform well against the big teams and will be a stern test for Chelsea. Chris Hughton will be looking for a response following his side’s 1-0 defeat away to Burnley in their previous fixture.
The Seagulls are in 13th place in the league, seven points clear of Cardiff in 14th, but a win could see Brighton rise to 8th realistically.
Previous meetings between the sides make good reading for Chelsea fans; the Blues having won the last six meetings and only ever lost once to the Seasiders, in 1933.
Last season Chelsea recorded 2-0 and 4-0 victories in this fixture and the odds are stacked very heavily in their favour at 4/9 with Sky Bet.
Brighton to win is 13/2 and a draw is priced at 10/3.
Brighton have three players potentially ruled out for Sunday’s early kick off. Shane Duffy is suspended following his straight red card against Crystal Palace.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jose Izquierdo are slight doubts, expected to return at the weekend but have been suffering from a knee and a thigh injury respectively.
For the away team, Victor Moses has been ruled out with a lower back injury, and Gary Cahill has also picked up a knock.
Mateo Kovacic is currently being assessed following a thigh injury and it is unclear if he will play.
In the Croat’s absence, Rueben Loftus-Cheek may be given another start, but it could also be Ross Barkley or Cesc Fabregas.
CHELSEA PREDICTED LINE-UP 4-3-3
Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Marcos Alonso
Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek
Pedro, Hazard, Willian.
Following the victory over Man City, I think Sarri may look to play without a natural striker again, and have the options from the bench.
However, Olivier Giroud proved himself with a man of the match performance from the bench in midweek, and Willian was the only player to keep his place from the side that ended Manchester City’s unbeaten record, and the Brazilian may need a rest.
It may be a good time to rotate some players, with the festive fixtures renowned for being relentless, and a mid-week match to boot.
Some of the more fringe players could get starts, the likes of Christensen, Emerson and Hudson Odoi may look to feature.
BRIGHTON PREDICTED LINE-UP 4-3-2-1
Bruno, Dunk, Balogan, Bernardo
Stephens, Gross, Propper
Brighton may look to change at right back, to maybe play Montoya to cope better with the pace of Chelsea’s wingers, however Bruno has plenty of experience.
The midfield is hard to predict, with a few options to choose from. Chris Hughton could also pick Beram Kayal, Yves Bissouma, or Solly March.
There is also a difficult selection to make up front, as both Florian Andone and Glenn Murray have been amongst the goals of late, and there is only one striker position in Brighton’s go to formation.
There is plenty to worry about from a Chelsea perspective, but I believe they will just about get over the line with a 2-1 victory over Brighton.