Chelsea Ease Past Brighton To Go Fifth  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 0

Eden HazardCallum Hudson-Odoi impressed on his first Premier League start as Chelsea leapfrogged Manchester United to go fifth with a comfortable 3-0 win over Brighton at Stamford Bridge.

With Maurizio Sarri bowing to fan pressure, all eyes were on Hudson-Odoi right from the off, and the youngster did not disappoint, as he brilliantly set up Olivier Giroud for Chelsea's opener in the 38th minute, a goal which took Hudson-Odoi's goal involvement - goals and assists combined - to nine in nine senior starts for the club in all competitions.

That opener seemed to deflate Brighton, who never really came out for the second half, with Eden Hazard dancing through their defence before curling home Chelsea's second on the hour mark, before Ruben Loftus-Cheek went one better with a superb curler of his own which flew into the top corner three minutes later to make it 3-0.

The rest of the match was a mere procession as Chelsea saw out a second successive win to move level on points with Arsenal in fourth, while Brighton, who managed just one shot on target all match, remain 15th, just five points clear of the relegation zone but with an FA Cup semi-final on Saturday to look forward to.

Player ratings

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (6), Azpilicueta (7), Christensen (7), Luiz (6), Emerson (6), Jorginho (6), Kante (7), Loftus-Cheek (8), Hudson-Odoi (8), Giroud (8), Hazard (8)

Subs: Zappacosta (6), Willian (6), Kovacic (6).

Brighton: Ryan (7), Bruno (6), Duffy (6), Dunk (6), Bong (5), Stephens (6), Bissouma (6), Propper (6), March (6), Jahanbakhsh (7), Andone (7)

Subs: Knockaert (6), Murray (6), Bernardo (6).

Man of the match: Callum Hudson-Odoi

Hudson-Odoi was immediately in the thick of the action, with his low, drilled cross just deflected over as Brighton's defenders backed off.

Other than the vibrant 18-year-old's energy, Chelsea's play remained too ponderous as they struggled to create any real openings of note, with Brighton remaining a threat on the counter.

If Brighton were going to be unlocked it was going to be the man Chelsea fans have dubbed the 'Boy Wonder', and sure enough Hudson-Odoi used his pace and trickery to get to the byline on the right, before pulling back for Giroud to break the deadlock from close range with a smart finish, much to the relief of a frustrated Stamford Bridge.

Team news

Chelsea made seven changes from their win at Cardiff, including handing Callum Hudson-Odoi his first Premier League start. The 18-year-old made the XI along with Andreas Christensen, Emerson, N'Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud. Brighton made four changes from their defeat to Southampton as Gaetan Bong, Bruno, Solly March and Florin Andone came into the team.

After the break, Hudson-Odoi almost got his name on the scoresheet, but headed straight at Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

The Chelsea faithful did not have to wait long for another goal, though, with Hazard brilliantly taking his Premier League tally to 14 goals as he scored from 20 yards after a mazy run, before Loftus-Cheek emulated the Belgium international with a brilliant strike from even further out moments later.

Brighton did have their one and only shot on target late on, but they never offered anything in response, with Chelsea seeing out the three points with consummate ease.

Opta stats

Chelsea have won all eight of their league meetings with Brighton, the joint-best 100% win rate against an opponent in English league history (also 8/8 for Wimbledon v Bournemouth).

Brighton have lost all 10 of their Premier League away games against 'big-six' sides, scoring just two goals in those matches.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is the youngest player to provide an assist on his first Premier League start for Chelsea (18y 146d).

Olivier Giroud has been directly involved in eight goals in his last five starts for Chelsea in all competition, scoring six and assisting two.

Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 16 of Chelsea's 32 Premier League goals at Stamford Bridge this season (9 goals, 7 assists), over twice that of any other player at the club.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard has been directly involved in six goals in his last three Premier League appearances against Brighton, scoring four and assisting two.

Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek has both scored and assisted in a game for the first time ever in any competition

Man of the match - Callum Hudson-Odoi

It had to be him, didn't it? While Chelsea's football was slow and, at times, tepid, Hudson-Odoi offered them an outlet down the right, and gave Gaetan Bong plenty to ponder all match. Always willing to run at his man, his trickery opened Brighton up for the first goal, and continued to pose a threat all match, creating more chances than anyone else on the Stamford Bridge pitch.

What's next?

Chelsea welcome West Ham to Stamford Bridge on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports, while Brighton host Bournemouth.

Click Here For Official Team Sheet 


Chelsea Kepa, Azpilicueta (c) (Zappacosta 73), Christensen, Luiz, Emerson, Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek (Kovacic 82), Hudson-Odoi, Hazard (Willian 84), Giroud
Subs Not Used Caballero, Rudiger, Barkley, Higuain
Goals Giroud 38, Hazard 60, Lofts-Cheek 63

Brighton & Hove Albion Ryan, Bruno (c), Duffy, Dunk, Bong, Stephens, Propper, Bissouma, Jahanbakhsh (Bernardo 75), Andone (Murray 70), March (Knockaert 31)
Subs Not Used Button, Burn, Kayal, Izquierdo

Attendance 38,593

Referee Graham Scott

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