Chelsea face Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening looking to build on their lucky victory against Cardiff at the weekend, which arguably saved S
The win for the Blues, moved them to within one point of a top four place.
Sarri’s men will be looking to continue their push for a top four place, and a win against Brighton is imperative to do so.
For the Visitors, they come into this game on the back of their underwhelming 1-0 loss at home to Southampton on the weekend.
The loss for the Seagulls has dragged them back into the relegation battle, as they currently have a points total of 33 points- 5 points ahead of the Cardiff in 18th place.
Chris Hughton will see this game as a free hit, which puts all the pressure on Chelsea to perform in this game, and get the three points.
But if Brighton were to get anything from this game, they would see it as a bonus.
Will their focus fully be on this game, with their semi final in the FA Cup coming up on the weekend against Manchester City at Wembley?
Recent form in the Premier League for both teams;
Team News (Credit- SportsMole)
Sarri has a near-fully fit squad to choose from, with fringe players Ethan Ampadu and Davide Zappacosta his only two fitness doubts.
Hazard and Kante were only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench against Cardiff, but they are both expected to return to the side on Wednesday.
Belgian forward Hazard has been directly involved in four goals in his last two league appearances against Brighton, scoring three and assisting another.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek may be rewarded for his late goal in South Wales with a start in this one, giving Ross Barkley a breather following a hectic schedule over the past few weeks.
Elsewhere, Callum Hudson-Odoi may finally get his first Premier League start as Sarri hinted that the youngster will feature more heavily in the remaining weeks of the season, while Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud could come in if the hosts opt to rotate.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton may see this game as an opportunity to rest players ahead of their semi final this weekend.
As a result, we could see some fringe players come into the team.
Brighton are expected to still be without Florin Andone and Pascal Gross, meanwhile, as they are struggling with a groin and hamstring injury respectively.
Solly March was a second-half sub against Southampton and is likely to return in place of Alireza Jahanbakhsh, giving him some minutes ahead of the clash with Man City next weekend.
With an eye on that City match, Jurgen Locadia and Beram Kayal – fitness depending – are also in contention to start.
Predicted starting elevens;
Chelsea’s predicted starting eleven- Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Hazard.
Brighton’s predicted starting eleven-Ryan; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo; Propper, Stephens, Bissouma; Knockaert, Murray, March
The match will not be televised live in the UK.
Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri (@NizaarKinsella)
Sarri on injuries: “We have a little problem with Alonso (hamstring).” He needs three-four days rest.
Sarri on fans chanting against him: “I am not happy, of course. I am not concerned. It can happen. I can understand well the frustration of our fans. We are not doing so badly, this season we have won 33 matches, I think in England, only Man City did better”
Sarri says Hudson-Odoi will start one of the next two Premier League games.
Brighton Manager: Chris Hughton
Hughton on Chelsea:“Yesterday Chelsea weren’t at their best and they won the game – that can quite easily happen in this division. “Generally the top six get results, but you’re always looking at areas to capitalise on.”
Hughton on his side: “At this moment we feel no more pressurised than at any other period during the season so far. “We’ve generally haven’t been too far away from where we are now. “As a team our development means we’ll still have tough matches and periods.”
Head to Head record
Chelsea have faced Brighton 11 times in all competitions, with the West-Londoners having the better head to head record. Chelsea have beaten the Seagulls nine times in all competitions’. There has been one draw between these two sides in all competitions. And Brighton have beaten Chelsea one time in all competitions.
In terms of league head to head record, Chelsea have the better of it. In league competitions, Chelsea have beaten Brighton on seven occasions in League competitions.
One of these wins were in there last encounter earlier this season, when Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners at the Amex Stadium.
There have been zero draws between these two sides, and Brighton haven’t beaten Chelsea zero times in league competitions. Can Wednesday be Brighton’s first win against Chelsea in the league?
Betting Odds/Match Predictions
Bet 365 have made Chelsea favourites for this encounter on Wednesday. A Chelsea win is being priced at 2/7. A draw between these two sides is being priced at 5/1. And a shock Brighton win which would surely get Sarri the sack is being priced at 12/1.
My realistic prediction as a Chelsea fan is a boring 0-0 draw.
My optimistic prediction for this game is a 2-0 Chelsea fan. I think Hudson-Odoi may score on his first start in the Premier League (Well If he starts which I hope). And I think Giroud will score.
Comment down below your score predictions, and your thoughts on whether you think Hudson-Odoi will start ot not on Wednesday night?
By Danyal Khan