Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chelsea

Graham Potter will return to his old club when Chelsea travel to face Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex in the Premier League this Saturday.

Roberto De Zerbi is still looking for his first win as Brighton boss since replacing Potter in the role last month.

Match preview

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter during Champions League fixture at AC Milan on October 11, 2022.

It would be harsh to hold De Zerbi culpable for the fact that Brighton have not won any of the five games he has taken charge in so far.

Travelling to Anfield and the Etihad usually yields no points for most sides in the country, but Brighton were able to come away from the tie with Liverpool with a point, and they restricted Manchester City to very few chances last weekend.

However, at home they have struggled more, especially when it comes to finding the net.

The Seagulls dominated for large periods here against Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest but were unable to find the net against either side, taking just one point from the two games, despite racking up 33 shots on goal.

Brighton have underperformed their xG by over two goals so far this season, only one of two sides to have done so, along with West Ham United.

The style of play is representative of how De Zerbi played when in charge of Sassuolo, but in Italy he had an abundance of players capable of finding the net with regularity, such as Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo.

De Zerbi’s Sassuolo notched 186 league goals in just three seasons, but Brighton have just four in five games so far, and it is solely down to a lack of clinical edge in their attacking play.

Leandro Trossard celebrates scoring for Brighton & Hove Albion on August 21, 2022

All four of those goals have been scored by Leandro Trossard, who has been simply sensational, especially away to Liverpool, when he became just the third player in Premier League history to score a hat trick at Anfield.

Brighton may be fearful of the visit of Chelsea though, as they are still yet to beat them in the Premier League in 10 previous attempts.

Potter’s excellent start with Brighton means the Seagulls are still just about in the top half, but he is now in the opposition dugout, as Chelsea look to wrestle back fourth place from Newcastle United.

Potter remains unbeaten after nine games as Chelsea boss in all competitions, with a win on Tuesday at Red Bull Salzburg seeing them through as group winners in their UEFA Champions League section.

However, late drama last week against Manchester United saw them throw away two points right at the death and eventually led to a surrendering of fourth spot the following day, albeit still with a game in hand.

Chelsea’s lingering problem of not having a regular goalscorer is hurting their fight to get in amongst Arsenal and Man City at the top.

They drew a blank at Brentford, needed a penalty to breach the Man United backline, and it was two wonder goals from Mateo Kovacic and Kai Havertz which earned them a 2-1 win in Austria during the week.

Raheem Sterling remains their top scorer in the league with just three goals, and his last goal came while Thomas Tuchel was still at the helm.

Team News

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi pictured on October 8, 2022

Both Adam Lallana and Joel Veltman went off with minor injuries for Brighton at the Etihad last weekend, and while neither have been ruled out, they remain doubtful.

Kaoru Mitoma is back in full training with the side after missing the last two games, but this game could come too soon for the Japanese wide man.

Kalidou Koulibaly’s fitness will be assessed before the trip to the coast for Chelsea, as the defender missed the midweek Champions League encounter.

Koulibaly returned to training the day after the Salzburg game, but it is touch and go whether he will be fit enough here.

Mateo Kovacic was taken off as a precaution in midweek, feeling some discomfort in his calf, but he should be okay to be a part of the setup this weekend.

Kepa Arrizabalaga continues to keep Edouard Mendy out of the side in goal, having not put a foot wrong since he was drafted in following an injury to the Senegalese keeper early in the season.

Serious injuries to N’Golo Kante, Reece James and Wesley Fofana mean that the trio will not play again until after the World Cup at the very least.

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Webster; March, Caicedo, Mac Allister, Estupinan; Gross, Trossard, Welbeck

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Thiago Silva; Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Sterling, Aubameyang

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