Chelsea 2-0 Brighton: Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso strike in victory
Last Updated: 26/12/17 6:09pm
Chelsea won their sixth Premier League game in a row at Stamford Bridge, edging past Brighton 2-0 on Boxing Day.
After failing to break down Everton on Saturday, Chelsea regained their killer-instinct with second-half goals from Alvaro Morata (46) and Marcos Alonso (59).
The result keeps Chelsea in third, but they are still 13 points behind runaway league leaders Manchester City while Brighton sit 12th, four points above the drop.
Chelsea: Courtois (7), Rudiger (7), Azpilicueta (7), Cahill (6), Moses (7), Alonso (8), Fabregas (8), Hazard (8), Kante (8), Bakayoko (6), Morata (7).
Subs: Drinkwater (6), Batshuayi (6), Willian (6)
Brighton: Ryan (7), Dunk (6), Duffy (6), Suttner (6), Schelotto (6), Stephens (6), March (5), Kayal (5), Propper (6), Izquierdo (6), Hemed (5)
Subs: Knockaert (6), Murray (6)
Man of the Match: Eden Hazard
Chelsea took time to warm up as they only could only point to a glaring Tiemoue Bakayoko miss after Antonio Rudiger jumped high to nod a cross down in the first period.
But the second half was only 53 seconds old when Chelsea increased their intensity and took the lead.
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The combination of Cesar Azpilicueta and Morata linked up for the sixth time this season as the defender whipped a sensational ball from deep for the striker to nod home his 12th goal of the season.
Alonso forced a brilliant save from Mathew Ryan on 57 minutes from a 25-yard free-kick but beat him four minutes later when Fabregas curled in a corner that was met by Alonso with a glancing header.
Alvaro Morata returned for Chelsea in one of three changes made by Antonio Conte from their 0-0 draw at Everton. Chris Hughton freshened up his starting XI, making four changes. Ezequeil Schelotto, Shane Duffy, Jose Izquierdo and Beram Kayal came in.
Eden Hazard dazzled in the pocket and nearly added a classic goal to his collection but his dazzling individual effort was cleared off the line by Lewis Dunk.
With the game won, Chelsea eased up in the final stages which almost allowed Brighton to pull one back when Shane Duffy headed inches wide.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League games played on Boxing Day (W8 D5), since a 2-4 loss at Charlton in 2003.
- No team in Europe's big five leagues has seen more league goals scored by Spanish players this season than Chelsea (20, level with Real Sociedad).
- Morata has netted 12 headed goals in the big five European leagues since the start of last season, more than any other player.
- Since the start of last season, Azpilicueta has racked up 10 Premier League assists, more than any other defender.
- In terms of defender goals, Alonso leads the way in the Premier League since the start of last season, with 11.
Man of the match: Eden Hazard
Brighton managed to contain the Belgian for the opening 45 minutes, but he took over in the second half. His all-star display paved the way for Chelsea's two goals and he was unfortunate not to get himself on the scoresheet after a mesmeric individual run and finish which was cleared off the line.
Pundit reaction: Tony Cottee
"Chelsea didn't have any answers in the first half, with ponderous build-up. Brighton just didn't switch on 51 seconds into the second half, with Morata's goal all about the cross. It was one of them games for Chelsea where they just had to get the three points, but it wasn't a vintage display.
"It's a striker's dream as it's whipped in at pace. All Morata had to do was get good contact with the ball."
Chelsea are back at Stamford Bridge again on Saturday where they will play Stoke City while Brighton are on the road with a trip to Newcastle.