Chelsea’s most horrendous six months of football began on an otherwise lovely Saturday against Brighton at the end of October. Graham Potter went into that game unbeaten (!) as Chelsea boss, with six wins and three draws in his first nine games.
And then, we got smacked around to the tune of 4-1, and never recovered. The wheels suddenly came off, all at once. We’ve won just six games since, in 24 (twenty. four.) tries in all competitions. It’s five without a win currently, with three defeats, and four straight games without a goal.
Could the reverse fixture against Brighton snap us out of this malaise? Football loves a pattern. Design loves a mirror. Desperation is a stinky cologne. Lampard’s looking for a few good men.
Date / Time: Saturday, 15.00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Robert Jones (on pitch); Chris Kavanagh (VAR)
Forecast: Light rain
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Kalidou Koulibaly picked up a hamstring strain in the Madrid game and will be out for “weeks”. If that stretches too long, we might have even seen the last of him for this season. Everyone else other than Armando Broja should be available, with Lampard already hinting at significant rotation from midweek (and ahead of the second leg against Real on Tuesday).
Chelsea have practically nothing tangible left to fight for in the league with eight games still to go: we are 12 points clear of relegation and 13 points behind fifth-place Tottenham. Even finishing in the top half of the table seems like a tall order — we haven’t finished in the bottom half since 1996, when we had a six-season run of being either 11th or 14th. And then we signed Ruud Gullit and the rest, as they say, is history of the we ain’t got none kind.
Brighton team news: Roberto De Zerbi has taken Potter’s team to new heights, literally, with Brighton on course to better their 9th-place finish last season, which was their previous record highest finish in the top flight. They are the fourth highest scoring team in the league, and that’s without having a true recognized top scorer among their number: Solly March, Kaoru Mitoma, Pascal Gross, and Alexis Mac Allister have exactly two-thirds of their goals, with an almost even distribution of 7, 7, 6, and 8 each, respectively. Teenage striker Evan Ferguson has chipped in with 4 goals as well, all coming in the last couple months.
Brighton do have a few ongoing injury issues, with Adam Lallana, Tariq Lamptey, Jeremy Sarmiento, and Jakub Moder still out. Chelsea loanee Levi Colwill is ineligible as per Premier League rules.
They have lost just two (2!) games in 2023, across 16 games in all competitions, and have reached the semifinals of the FA Cup, putting them one win away (against Manchester United) from their second ever FA Cup final.
Previously: New Brighton were humbled by Old Brighton, 4-1 at the Amex in late October. That was our first ever defeat against the Seagulls in league play. This fixture last season ended in a 1-1 draw, with Ziyech scoring.