Chelsea will look to bounce back from a damaging defeat to Manchester City last time out when they play Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Chelsea were beaten at the Etihad by league leaders Manchester City thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s lone strike – a result which effectively dumps them out of the top flight title race, ahead of their fixture against Brighton.
Although a top 4 spot is still well within reach for Chelsea, any dreams of Premier League glory this season were somewhat quashed with defeat in Manchester.
The distance between the London club and top spot is now 13 points, a surely unbridgeable gap in the context of this season.
For Brighton, they remain in the division’s top half, a somewhat unexpected berth for the South Coast club who have so far enjoyed an above-average campaign.
Yet another last-gasp goal secured them a point in their last outing, which came at home against rivals Crystal Palace.
The Seagulls’ rise under coach Graham Potter has led to the Englishman attracting plenty of plaudits – and interest – from elsewhere.
The latest club to be linked with a swoop for Potter is Everton, who are on the hunt for a new boss after sacking Rafa Benitez at the weekend.
However, there is no indication that Potter is intending to swap the South Coast for Merseyside any time soon and will no doubt be fully focused on Tuesday’s test with Chelsea.
The mindset of the visitors could play a significant factor in the result at the Amex – there are uncertainties over whether Chelsea will come out firing after that wounding loss at the hands of Man City or whether they are vulnerable enough for Brighton to forge a result.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel was recognised at the 2021 FIFA awards recently as the best men’s coach of the last 12 months, with midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho securing a place in the 2021 team of the year and Edouard Mendy scooping the best goalkeeper gong.
But despite those prizes, Chelsea will be keen to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, all be it in the absence of the aforementioned Mendy who is away with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Reece James and Ben Chilwell remain longer-term absentees with injury, whilst Trevoh Chalobah and Andreas Christensen continue to sit out with coronavirus.
Brighton also have missing players due to Afcon, with key midfielder Yves Bissouma representing Mali at the tournament in Cameroon. Enock Mwepu and Jeremy Sarmiento are both out with thigh trouble.
Defenders Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy will both miss the game with Chelsea as confirmed by boss Graham Potter, but the pair may be back in action within a fortnight.
Chelsea had a positive start to the week off the field having won several prizes in the 2021 FIFA awards, but no doubt Thomas Tuchel will swap them all for 3 points on Tuesday night.
Brighton meanwhile will see this as a chance to inflict further injury upon Chelsea, but if they do, the fervour around the abilities of manager Graham Potter will only continue to grow.
Brighton v Chelsea is an 8pm kick off on Tuesday 18th January.