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Chelsea vs Brighton: Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson reveals Stamford Bridge prediction

25 December, 2017, 18:55 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Chelsea close on United after Brighton win

Alvaro Morata returns after serving his one-game ban, while David Luiz (knee) and Charly Musonda (groin) are still absent from the squad. They are now placed third on the table, with 39 points to their name, 3 points behind second placed Manchester United.

Tiemoue Bakayoko has been showing some superb form in recent games but Conte may want to give the Frenchman a breather so Cesc Fabregas could come in alongside N'Golo Kante - although Danny Drinkwater is another option for the Italian coach.

Shane Duffy is available again after returning from suspension.

Switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation got Brighton their first victory last week, since their narrow 0-1 victory against Swansea back in November.

Matthew Ryan is expected to retain his place in goal, with Markus Suttner, Lewis Dunk and Bruno are expected to hold onto their places in the starting XI.

The festive period has been a fairly good one for Chelsea so far as they look to keep pace with Manchester United in second-place.

Chelsea have won 8 if their last 11 Premier League matches.

Brighton have only scored once in the last six meetings.

Brighton have failed to win a match on Boxing day in their last 8 attempts. Chelsea dominated the match, keeping more than 60 percent of the ball and firing eight shots on target while holding Everton to none. Morata was taking a rest after a suspension that saw him end up missing Chelsea's clash with Everton at Goodison Park which saw the premier champions end up with a barren drawn. Needless to say, the reigning champions clearly missed their top scorer last week.

"There aren't too many who will expect that but that's the challenge, and for this club and these players these are the challenges we have been looking forward to the most". Huddersfield are the only other newly promoted side that are above Brighton, with last season's play-off winners a point above, while Newcastle have been struggling and it took a huge win in their last game to get them out of the relegation zone. It could be a tricky game but Everton should have been a good warmup.

For the visitors, Pascal Gross stands out as the key man if they are to pull off a Stamford Bridge upset.

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