Chelsea sweep Brighton aside with minimal effort


Chelsea 3 : 0 Brighton

On a cold night in West London, Chelsea comfortably beat Brighton 3-0 with goals from Olivier Giroud, Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Chelsea move above Manchester United into fifth but Spurs’ win at their new home, keeps the North Londoners ahead, with Arsenal splitting them.

The Seagulls had just 31% possession and two shots, with just one corner, to three, 17 and seven for the home side.

Chelsea’s second and especially their third goal were of sublime quality but much of the rest of the game could be better described as subpar. Callum Hudson-Odoi was handed his first ever EPL start on the right wing and looked plausible at moments. It was his cross that provided Giroud with the first goal just before half time.

If anything Ruben Loftus-Cheek had the better outing and his goal, the third was the peach of the night.

Albion’s relegation fears are not over but Cardiff losing tonight kept the gap between them and the drop zone at five points. Besides, their next gaze is north when they pop up the Metropolitan Line to Wembley for the small matter of an FA Cup semi final. On this form. they won’t trouble Manchester City on Saturday.

After the interval, Chelsea exposed both Brighton’s lack of ambition and lack of quality with a preponderance of possession and two quality goals within minutes. Hazrad fooled Dunk and curled in Chelsea’s second from the edge if the penalty box before Loftus-Cheek scored an improved and classier version from further out.

Thereafter, substitutions came rapidly while Brighton fans sang of Wembley. Neither side will dwell on this match for too much longer. Brighton have their big day in North West London on Saturday while Chelsea ‘welcome’ their much disliked neighbours from East London, West Ham on Monday.

Both may face tougher tests than tonight.

Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Emerson, Jorginho, Kante, Loftus-Cheerk Girou, Hudson-Odoi, Christensen, Hazard

Brighton: Ryan, Bruno, Bong, Duffy, Dunk, Stephens, Bissouma, Andone, Jahanbakhsh, March, Propper

Referee Graham Scott


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