… and welcome to what is fast becoming a regular thing for the Premier League – a rearranged game, albeit this time not actually due to Covid.
Brighton had originally been due to host Chelsea on February 8 but the match has been brought forward on account of the fact Thomas Tuchel’s team will be at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi next month.
Not that the newly crowned Fifa men’s coach of the year is particularly happy with the decision to host the game today, rather than tomorrow.
Chelsea lost 1-0 at Manchester City on Sunday, with Brighton drawing 1-1 with Crystal Palace on Friday night. Chelea then host Tottenham on Sunday and Brighton travel to Leicester, with Tuchel questioning the choice of Tuesday over Wednesday, and the extra rest afforded to Brighton.
“It is very hard to understand; it’s nothing to do with City, but there are three away games in a row. Both Brighton and we have our next game on Sunday, so there was no need to have it on a Tuesday,” he said this week.
“Actually, Brighton played on Friday so it makes a huge difference (in their favour) also. We have the schedule that we have.
“We played in some competitions and we hope those competitions stay with us and there are some extra games to come. We have this Brighton game now because we are in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup, so it is squeezed in this week.”
Brighton are unbeaten in four league matches, earning eight points – as many as they managed in their previous 11 fixtures but are winless in 16 attempts against Chelsea since beating them in the FA Cup in their first meeting in January 1933.
However, their most recent fixture – on December 29 – ended in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge with Danny Welbeck’s dramatic equaliser dealing a serious blow to Chelsa’s title hopes.
Since then Manchester City have further extended their lead atop the Premier League, although victory tonight would lift Chelsea back up to second, albeit having played two games more than Liverpool. Brighton, meanwhile, would move to within one point of Manchester United in fifth if they were to take all three points tonight.