Chelsea news as the Blues travel to Stamford Bridge to play Brighton with a point to prove.
Chelsea’s 4-1 loss to Newcastle suggests that they have a better chance of defeating Brighton on Sunday. As the league season approaches its 13th game, Mauricio Pochettino’s team has won just as many games following losses as they have suffered.
In actuality, they have a generally strong record despite their losses this season. With the exception of the 0-0 draw with Bournemouth, which occurred following the international break and resulted in the injury absence of 12 players from the matchday squad, Chelsea has participated in four games following the loss, winning two, drawing one, and scoring six goals while allowing none.
One of those matches was the opposite of this one, and that’s precisely the kind of play that’s required when the Seagulls return to town. It seems like it will be an exciting match, especially considering the fact that Roberto De Zerbi’s team had a historic day in Greece on Thursday, that there will be some injuries and absences to consider, and that the Blues have an aggressive play style that may work well for them.
According to Pochettino, that is the period of time when his squad has flourished this season, overcoming the mayhem to earn noteworthy points from Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal before ultimately finishing off Tottenham. It took just one significant setback for the patience to wear thin, though, as unrest returned to SW6.
Things may go south now. The margin to fifth place is already ten points, with Brighton six points ahead of Chelsea in eighth place and Aston Villa in fourth place leading by twelve points. If Pochettino loses this game, his dreams of playing in Europe’s top club championship once again seem unreal. Win, and some more advantageous games are in store.
The Argentine manager has three options to give his squad an advantage during the match.
Marc Cucurella is also suspended, along with Reece James. Malo Gusto sustains damage. Pochettino believes Ian Maatsen doesn’t exist as a defender, Moises Caicedo is needed in midfield, and Ben Chilwell is out. With all of this potential full-back play, there are really only two possibilities left.
Since Levi Colwill has already spent a significant amount of this season playing out of position, he makes sense to start again in Cucurella’s place as his comeback seems to be coming to an end following a terrible showing in the northeast. Given the circumstances, it is also straightforward on the right.
The only senior player who can even somewhat resemble an orthodox right-back is Axel Disasi. This means that Benoit Badiashile will be Thiago Silva’s teammate in addition to him starting again following one of his worst games while wearing a Chelsea shirt. Although those two were crucial to the goals scored last week, Brighton will need to be stopped by something better.
Why can’t Pochettino play with four centre backs like Pep Guardiola does? There aren’t many ways around that, but it’s not a very compelling setup. The squad will be more formidable in the air, at least.
Even if Armando Broja hasn’t played much since his comeback, starting him in such a crucial match would still be risky. Nevertheless, Broja won’t likely start against Manchester United the next week either, and it looks difficult to predict when he will play a considerable amount of minutes.
But that’s not the fundamental problem here. For the most part of this season, Jackson has been a headache for defences, and Brighton’s defence has been porous. The only teams with more goals conceded are Bournemouth, Sheffield United, and Burnley. The center-back duo has also been far from stable, as evidenced by Lewis Dunk’s suspended absence.
Jackson should have opportunities if he can hold the ball up more skillfully than he has been able to do lately and get his teammates into dangerous attacking positions around him.