Chelsea are set to host Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge tonight. The Blues are aiming for a top-four finish this season. Currently, they are a point adrift of the fourth spot. If they win this clash against the Seagulls, they will leapfrog West Ham United and take the fourth spot.
On the other hand, Brighton & Hove Albion are trying to stay up in the English top-flight. They have amassed 6 points more than Fulham who stand at the 18th spot on the table. With two games in hand, the Seagulls are more likely to survive to play another Premier League campaign.
It is a game that has huge importance for both the teams, although, for contrary reasons.
Let’s look at the three battles which can potentially shape the fate of this fixture.
Neal Maupay vs Kurt Zouma
Kurt Zouma has established himself as a core member of the Chelsea squad. He has scored the most goals (5) as a central defender this season. With Chelsea looking for a win, Zouma will have the responsibility to track Maupay’s movement.
The Brighton striker has 10 goal involvements in the Premier League this term. The Seagulls have 33 goals all season which mean that the striker has had a hand in every third goal scored by the team. Thus, it is imperative for Chelsea to keep him quiet.
Yves Bissouma vs Mason Mount
Mason Mount is having a stunning campaign with the Blues. Arguably, he will be Chelsea’s player of the season. The 22-year old midfielder has scored six goals and assisted four times in the league. He is the one who carries the ball forward from midfield linking the play beautifully in the final third.
The young England international will be facing off against one of the best holding midfielders in the league, Yves Bissouma. Graham Potter’s side have conceded only 38 goals this season, the second least by any side in the bottom half of the table.
This shows that their defence has most of the times stood up to the challenge and a massive part of the credit should be bestowed upon this 24-year old midfielder. He is a fine reader of the game and an excellent tackler. It will be interesting to see how these two young midfielders battle it out on the pitch.
Kai Havertz vs Lewis Dunk
Thomas Tuchel has been using Kai Havertz as a striker for the last few games. The 21-year old has also responded well by scoring a few goals of late. Against Brighton, he will be facing Lewis Dunk who is a very robust centre-back.
On paper, it looks like Dunk might overpower Havertz due to his strength but the German international has the dribbling skills to move past any defender. It will be a fascinating battle between toughness and guile and if the German can be kept quiet on the night, it will be very difficult for the Blues to overpower Brighton.