All attentions are focused on a suddenly very busy January transfer window, but we do have a bit of football to take care of briefly.
Chelsea look for a first regulation win in six tries in Saturday’s early kick-off as we head down to Brighton to take on the Seagulls for the second time this season. Less than a month ago, on Boxing Day, goals from Álvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso stakes Chelsea to a 2-0 win, but Chelsea have won just one game since.
On the other hand, Chelsea have kept plenty of clean sheets in the meantime, and the last loss came way back at the start of December. The mood isn’t the greatest after so many draws, especially as Chelsea have fallen back down to fourth place in the league, but it could be far worse.
Onwards and upwards!
Date / Time: Saturday, January 20, 2018, 12:30 GMT; 7:30am EST; 6pm IST
Venue: Falmer Stadium (i.e. the Amex)
Referee: Jonathan Moss — back for the fourth time already this season, though we’ve won all three of his previous games (2-0 v. Everton, 4-2 v. Watford, 4-0 at West Brom)
Forecast: Rain, possibly even sleet.
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, NBC Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra; Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India)
Brighton team news: Chris Hughton’s men have the division’s second lowest goalscoring output, but they are also one of the league’s best defenses and have lost just one in their last nine (9!) home games in all competitions, which is remarkable streak for a team on the verge of relegation.
Former Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell is their only injury of note, though Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown was recalled recently after his season was ended by a knee injury.
Chelsea team news: Pedro and Alvaro Morata managed to get themselves suspended for this one, so it will be mighty interesting to see how Conte lines up, especially in attack. New signing Ross Barkley should finally be available though he may not start after taking part for 70 minutes in a closed-doors friendly on Thursday (and scoring two goals, according to reports).
Chelsea will also be without Gary Cahill and Cesc Fàbregas, both of whom are nursing hamstring injuries and have been confirmed out by Conte in his press conference. The boss also hinted at a couple other situations that he has to check ahead of tomorrow’s game, but he declined to name specific names.
UPDATE: Those names have been revealed to be Thibaut Courtois, who’s expected to miss out with an ankle injury, and Danny Drinkwater, whose ailment is unspecified but still concerning. This leaves Chelsea well short-handed, with six seniors players unavailable.
The Blues are unbeaten in 11 straight and have lost just once in 19. Doesn’t quite feel as dominant thanks to the recent draws, but that is still pretty decent form. Now if we could only find some goals...
Previously: Last time against the Seagulls...