After Sunday’s most fortunate three points, Chelsea remain well within striking distance of the top four. With Tottenham sinking fast (winless in their last five, including four losses) and Manchester United losing last night to Wolves, Chelsea are just one point out of fourth and should be up to at least fifth by the end of today.
To do that however, the Blues will have to play significantly better than against Cardiff. We can’t always count on a terrible call from the linesman, or Willian’s hair for that matter, to save us. Regardless of who starts, who doesn’t, what formation we do or do not play, the effort and the endeavor’s going to have to be a lot better.
Date / Time: Wednesday, April 3, 2019, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Graham Scott — still one of the newer and lesser known faces in the Select Group of referees, this will Scott’s second Premier League match for Chelsea. The first was our 2-1 win at Craven Cottage this time last month.
Forecast: Cool and rainy
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: NBC Sports Gold (USA); Hotstar (India); Chelsea TV (int’l — audio commentary only)
Chelsea team news: Marcos Alonso has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, and is expected to miss at least a week. Fellow fullback Davide Zappacosta and youngster Ethan Ampadu are also said to be dealing with various minor or non-minor injuries, but information is even more limited on them than is usual.
The big question of course is whether Maurizio Sarri will finally give Callum Hudson-Odoi his first ever and Ruben Loftus-Cheek his second of the season Premier League start. His insistence on fitness-based rotation over the weekend would suggest that to be the case, but it’s tough to trust his hints after the past nine months.
Chelsea don’t play again until Monday, getting a couple extra days of rest after this one before resuming the Europa League campaign and facing the scary prospect of an Anfield visit in the meantime as well (and this time without chest-thumping Mourinho).
Brighton & Hove Albion team news: Brighton could welcome back Florin Andone but remain without Pascal Groß and have just three wins since Christmas, which means that they’re still seven points away from the 40-point standard that usually guarantees Premier League survival. The weekend’s home loss to Southampton, now behind them just on goal difference certainly did not help.
As bad as their results have been in the league, Brighton are still alive in the FA Cup and will be playing in the semifinals against Manchester City on Saturday. Their focus may already be on the weekend despite manager Chris Hughton’s best efforts.
Brighton are one of the lowest scoring teams in the division, but veteran wonder Glenn Murray has reached double-figures in goals for the second straight Premier League season (he has 11, 13 in all competitions) and Brighton have only lost once all season when he’s scored.
Previously: First-half goals from Pedro and Hazard (at center forward) got Chelsea all three points in the first meeting this season.