THE Premier League returns on Saturday lunchtime as Brighton welcome Chelsea to The Amex. Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets.
Brighton v Chelsea | Saturday 20th January 2018, 12:30 | Sky Sports
Brighton have won just one of their last 12 in the Premier League and are in need of a change of fortune as they sit just three points clear of the drop zone.
Their only two losses at The Amex this season have come courtesy of Man City and Liverpool. In fact, the Seagulls record v the Big Six in general this season has been poor as they’ve lost five of six games ‘to nil', with the only goal coming through a consolation penalty when 3-0 down to Liverpool.
Chelsea were taken to penalties during the week by Norwich. Alvaro Morata was sent off for diving and then subsequent dissent. Despite his poor form, he’ll be missed. Morata is the focal point of Chelsea’s attack.
In his absence, Antonio Conte might have opted to tinker with the formation and go with a fluid front three of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro, like he did at times last season when without Diego Costa, but Pedro was also sent-off during the week, so team selection is a tricky conundrum for Conte.
Willian should come in but he played 120 minutes in the week, while Michy Batshuayi could start having been flogged across the globe in various part-exchange deals over the last few days.
Moreover, Cesc Fabregas is set to miss out through injury too. He provides quality in deeper areas and with Brighton set to line-up in two rigid banks of four, there will be a lot of reliance on Danny Drinkwater given Tiemoue Bakayoko and N’golo Kante aren’t known for their spark in possession.
Brighton's set-piece woes
Although Brighton have been pretty adept at holding out in open-play, they have been surprisingly vulnerable from set-pieces, with each of their last four conceded coming from corners.
Chelsea have scored 15 goals from set-pieces this season, scoring the most headed goals in the division with 13.
The 9/2 for the first goal to come via a header may be of appeal to some, with the likes of Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen also drawing attention in the anytime market.
Goals at a premium
Under 2.5 Goals is best priced at just 37/50 while the game to be level at the half-an-hour mark is even shorter at around 4/7. I was tempted by going over the 31st minute in terms of first-goal time.
Chelsea have not conceded in the first-half in any of their last 11 matches. Similarly, Brighton held out beyond this mark in four of six versus the Big Six and given the absence of first-team regulars and the possibility of fatigue, there’s a decent angle to go with.
But the 0-0 is a worry given it’s landed in three of Chelsea’s last four matches and they failed to score at both West Ham and Everton in December. They weren’t convincing in breaking down Norwich over 180 minutes either, albeit much changed. I’ll give it a miss.
‘No’ in the Both Teams To Score market is a go-er at 31/40 (BetVictor). Just seven of Brighton’s 23 league games have seen both sides score and with Chelsea possibly lacking in the final third, you’d expect them to be extra switched on defensively as we could be in form a tight game.
The Blues have kept seven clean sheets in their last 10 and we’ve already touched on how Chris Hughton’s side will set-up this Saturday.
Brighton v Chelsea – Both Teams To Score ‘No' (31/40 BetVictor)