Brighton look to pull clear of danger and derail Sarri’s top four hopes


Maurizio Sarri has endured a tough season in charge of Chelsea, one that has seen his job under severe pressure since the turn of the year.

Chelsea fans are divided when it comes to the Italian. Despite limited resources compared to their direct rivals, the West London club are still challenging in the Europa League and for a place in next seasons Champions League. However the style of football and some dire results have tested the patience of many who have seen so much success in the past 15 years.

Chris Hughton and his Brighton & Hove Albion team travel to Stamford Bridge hoping to pull themselves clear of danger at the foot of the table, even if it results in the sacking of Sarri himself. The Seagulls lost 1-0 at home to relegation rivals Southampton at the weekend, offering very little in terms of attacking intent until the final 15 minutes. But a win against Chelsea would put them eight points clear of Cardiff in 18th and all but guaranteed of Premier League football next season.

The omens are with Chelsea though, who hold a perfect league record against Brighton, with seven wins out of seven against the south coast side, which is the second longest winning streak in England behind Wimbledon’s eight wins over Bournemouth.

Chelsea have very few injuries that will concern Sarri. Ethan Ampadu is out with a back injury alongside Marko Van Ginkel whose ACL injury will stop the Dutchman take to the field this season. Davide Zappacosta is ready for a return to action after a spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

Hughton will also be pleased at his injury table, with both Florin Andone and Pascal Gross set for an imminent return to action. He had hoped Gross would be available for the key fixture against Southampton but the German was unable to recover in time to be risked with a tough run of fixtures coming up for the Seagulls.

Brighton forward Glenn Murray needs just one more league goal to equal his best ever Premier League tally. The 35 year old currently sits on 11 goals, one less than the 12 he managed last time out.

Eden Hazard leads the way in terms of Premier League assists, also with 11. The Belgian forward is keen to push his side into the top four and to Champions League football before his future comes under immense scrutiny in the summer.


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