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Chelsea close in on Europe as win at Brighton takes them sixth

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Chelsea close in on Europe as win at Brighton takes them sixth
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Chelsea maintained their European cost with a fourth successive win on Wednesday, beating Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 on the Amex Stadium.

Cole Palmer’s glorious header – his twenty second Premier League aim of a fantastic debut marketing campaign – put the Blues forward, and Christopher Nkunku gave Chelsea respiration room within the second half.

Chelsea captain Reece James was despatched off for kicking out at Joao Pedro late on, and Danny Welbeck halved the arrears in stoppage time, however the guests held on and climbed to sixth above Newcastle United, who misplaced 3-2 at Manchester United.

A draw or win in opposition to AFC Bournemouth on Sunday would make sure the Blues hold that spot and qualify for Europe. Fifth place stays a risk however would require Tottenham Hotspur to lose at backside membership Sheffield United.

How the match unfolded

Chelsea thought they’d earned an early likelihood to attain from the spot as Facundo Buonanotte’s problem on Marc Cucurella was penalised, however the penalty award was overturned after a VAR assessment.

Mauricio Pochettino’s facet continued to push for the opener as Malo Gusto’s deflected effort was tipped over by Bart Verbruggen, they usually finally broke by way of within the thirty fourth minute.

Cucurella burst down the left-hand facet earlier than floating a cross into the field, and Palmer arrived to ship a looping header over the goalkeeper and into the again of the online.

Nicolas Jackson had a good chance to double Chelsea’s lead in first-half stoppage time, however he didn’t convert Palmer’s cross on the volley. Substitute Nkunku then went shut shortly after the break, however his pushed effort from the sting of the field went narrowly huge.

Brighton ought to have equalised within the 57th minute as Tariq Lamptey’s dipping cross discovered Pascal Gross completely unmarked, however he in some way put his shot huge from contained in the six-yard field.

Pochettino’s males punished that miss seven minutes later, with Gusto chopping again for Nkunku to pick the underside nook with a first-time end.

James was despatched off after a VAR assessment as stoppage time loomed, having kicked out at Pedro. It was the right-back’s second pink card of the season, leading to a four-match suspension which suggests he’ll miss the primary three Premier League matches of the 2024/25 marketing campaign.

Reece James, Chelsea

Brighton pilled on the stress from there and Simon Adingra struck a publish on the volley earlier than Welbeck poked house from a Pedro supply, however Chelsea finally held agency.

Pochettino has began to show issues round for the reason that begin of 2024, with Chelsea securing 32 factors within the Premier League for the reason that begin of January. 

The contributions of Palmer have definitely helped the Argentinian, with the younger attacker scoring the opening aim in 9 league video games this season.

Chelsea supporters wouldn’t have been anticipating a late push for the European locations, however with the Blues sitting sixth going to the ultimate day, qualification is of their palms.

See: Palmer – It is BIG to have Europe in our personal palms

As for Brighton, they’ve didn’t win of their final 11 matches when conceding the opening aim within the Premier League, in a run which dates again to a victory over Brentford on 6 December.

A top-half end is now the restrict of the Seagulls’ ambitions. They’re tenth, 4 factors behind ninth-placed West Ham United.

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Brighton report | Chelsea report

Last Premier League fixtures
Key info

Chelsea have gained 4 successive Premier League video games for the primary time since October 2022, whereas it’s as many wins as of their earlier 12 matches within the competitors (D5 L3).

Solely the Premier League’s backside 4 sides – Sheffield United (7), Luton City (11), Nottingham Forest (13) and Burnley (13) – have collected fewer factors in 2024 than Brighton (18).

Chelsea’s Premier League video games this season have seen 137 targets in whole (75 scored, 62 conceded), their most in a single marketing campaign within the competitors.

Palmer has now scored 22 targets for Chelsea within the Premier League this season, solely Didier Drogba (29 in 2009/10) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (23 in 2000/01 and 2001/02) have extra for the Blues in a single marketing campaign.

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