Chelsea 3-2 Brighton: Enzo brace seals 10-man Blues victory in feisty affair

With the away defeat at St James’ Park fresh in their minds, Chelsea were looking for a more positive result in this Sunday afternoon fixture at home against Brighton. Roberto De Zerbi’s side would be confident of getting a positive result at Stamford Bridge, having guided his side to seven games unbeaten in all competitions, including an enthralling 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest last week.

CHE: Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Badiashile, Colwill; Caicedo, Fernandez; Sterling, Gallagher, Mudryk; Jackson

BHA: Steele; Veltman, Van Hecke, Igor, Baleba; Hinshelwood, Gilmour; Buonanotte, Lallana, Adingra; Ferguson

A highly-anticipated clash in South West London saw Chelsea strike first through Enzo Fernandez after sixteen minutes, with the Argentine netting his first Premier League goal for the Blues. Great play from Benoit Badiashile kept the attack alive after a Chelsea free-kick, with his hooked ball headed in by probably the smallest man on the pitch to open the scoring in the match.

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Mauricio Pochettino’s men would soon be two to the good just moments later, with former Brighton loanee Levi Colwill scoring his first goal for Chelsea. The young centre-half tried to keep the celebrations to a minimum out of respect for his former employers, but it was hard for him to hide the elation from his face as he netted for his boyhood club.

As the first half drew to a close, the home side looked very comfortable and in control of the play, but that would all change in the 43rd minute. Facundo Buonanotte picked up the ball from the right-hand side and curled a glorious effort past Robert Sanchez with his left foot, finding the side netting to bring the Seagulls back into the game before half-time.

There would still be more drama before the referee brought the half to a close, with Conor Gallagher receiving his marching orders for a late tackle that saw the midfielder picking up his second booking of the match and ultimately being sent off. For the second week in a row, Chelsea’s matchday captain has been sent off for two bookable offences, highlighting an ill-discipline amongst this young side that Pochettino will surely want to eradicate.

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Having the entirety of the second half to play against ten men, the away side was pushing hard to find an equaliser and take advantage of their extra legs on the pitch. But it would be the Blues that would have the chance to extend their lead from the spot in the 65th minute.

Mykhalo Mudryk was played in on the counter by Nicolas Jackson and was adjudged by VAR to have been brought down in the box by substitute James Milner, when clean through on goal. The penalty was duly dispatched by Enzo to complete his brace and put Chelsea two goals ahead once again, with the score line reading 3-1.

The home side would continue to defend valiantly as the match wore on, reducing Brighton to very little in the way of clear-cut opportunities. Chelsea’s resolve would eventually be broken in the first of fifteen minutes of stoppage time, with an excellent flicked header by the Brazilian Joao Pedro from a corner.

An attacking onslaught would ensue for the remainder of the match and it seemed that Brighton would be rewarded for their efforts in the 100th minute when referee Craig Pawson was asked to go to the monitor to review a potential Levi Colwill handball. The decision was eventually given correctly as no penalty, but the Brighton players were incensed as they were not awarded a corner kick and instead, Chelsea was given an uncontested drop ball.

The Blues were able to see the remaining few minutes out and hold on for a precious victory, but there were some unsavoury scenes on the pitch at full-time which had certainly been stimulated by the confusing refereeing decisions in the later period of the match.

Chelsea will look to build momentum from this result, with a mouth-watering away match against Manchester United on Wednesday, whilst Brighton will play host to Brentford at the Amex Stadium on the same evening.