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Chelsea vs Brighton and Hove Albion. Premier League.

Stamford BridgeAttendance41,568.

Chelsea 2

  • Á Morata (46th minute)
  • M Alonso (60th minute)

Brighton and Hove Albion 0

    Chelsea v Brighton preview: Alvaro Morata set to return from ban

    Eden Hazard inspired Chelsea to a 3-1 win over Newcastle
    Image: Chelsea currently trail Man City by 16 points at the top of the table

    Chelsea host Brighton on Boxing Day looking to bounce back from their goalless draw with Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

    The champions are now 16 points behind leaders Manchester City at the halfway stage.

    However, Antonio Conte and Co head into Tuesday afternoon's clash in good form having won eight of their last 11 league games.

    The Italian will also be boosted by the return of striker Alvaro Morata, who missed Saturday's trip to Merseyside through suspension.

    And Chelsea's coach will expect his team to get the better of a Brighton side who may currently sit in a creditable 12th position in the table in their debut Premier League campaign, but have won just twice on their travels so far this season.

    preview image 2:58
    Highlights: Everton 0-0 Chelsea

    Team news

    Chelsea are expected to recall Morata to lead the line after he served a one-match ban against Everton. The Spaniard, the Blues' top scorer in the Premier League with nine goals, served a one-game ban against Everton having accrued five yellow cards and he will be expected to slot straight back into the team.

    Cesc Fabregas and Davide Zappacosta could feature if Conte opts to make changes

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    However, David Luiz, who has been linked with a January exit from Stamford Bridge, continues to be sidelined with a knee injury, while Charly Musonda is also unavailable due to a groin strain.

    Watch a preview of the Premier League games on Boxing Day

    Brighton, meanwhile, will have central defender Shane Duffy back after he missed Saturday's 1-0 home win against Watford through suspension.

    Midfielder Steve Sidwell (knee) remains Chris Hughton's only injury absentee for the trip to west London.

    Opta stats

    Chelsea have won all four of their previous league games against Brighton, though this will be the first such meeting since March 1989 in the second tier.

    Brighton have failed to score in the last three of their four league games against the Blues, which includes both matches at Stamford Bridge.

    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Alvaro Morata of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on December
    Image: Alvaro Morata is set to return for Chelsea

    Indeed, Brighton's only victory in any competition against Chelsea came in their first such meeting - 2-1 in an FA Cup tie in January 1933.

    This will be the first top-flight meeting between these sides - Brighton will be Chelsea's 60th different opponent in the top tier of English football.

    Merson's prediction

    Brighton did well on Saturday (in beating Watford 1-0), they just do not put their chances away. Chris Hughton must sit there on tenterhooks - he needs to watch a game where he can relax for once! I watched them against Burnley when they should have been two or three up, but missed a penalty, drew 0-0 and were hanging on at the end. On Saturday they had chance after chance to kill the game, while Chelsea were unlucky against Everton, let's be honest, they should have won. Brighton have got bigger games over Christmas than this and you will find some teams will rest players for bigger games. With three games coming up really quickly, you are not going to put all your first-team players out in this game, get beat 3-0 and then they are all tired for the big games coming up.

    PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (5/1 with Sky Bet)

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