The two teams have experienced contrasting runs of form for a number of months in the top flight, with the Blues winning just four of their last 21 games and the Seagulls losing only four of their last 18 matches.
For the first time since 1993, Chelsea has failed to score in four successive matches across all competitions, with their latest toothless performance coming at the Santiago Bernabeu in a 2-0 defeat with 10 men against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
Goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio, either side of Ben Chilwell’s dismissal, helped Los Blancos take control of the tie, and the West Londoners have it all to do in the return fixture at Stamford Bridge next week.
An implausible Champions League triumph represents Chelsea’s best chance of qualifying for next season’s tournament as they are still languishing in 11th place in the Premier League table, 17 points behind the top four having played a game more than fourth-placed Manchester United.
Frank Lampard is yet to make the desired impact as Chelsea interim boss and he has eight top-flight games remaining to salvage something positive from what has been a forgettable Premier League season. Another setback could all but end their hopes of European qualification altogether, though, as they currently sit seven points adrift of Saturday’s opponents Brighton in seventh who have two matches in hand.
Chelsea’s form at Stamford Bridge has left a little to be desired since the turn of the year, having won only two of their last eight Premier League home matches. The Blues have also drawn their last two home games with Brighton, although they were victorious in each of their previous five against the Seagulls on their own turf, including a 2-0 win in September 2019 during Lampard’s first spell in charge against none other than Graham Potter.
Brighton will be hoping for better fortunes in their second successive trip to the capital after a host of controversial VAR decisions went against them in a 2-1 defeat against European-chasing rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
The Seagulls were denied two goals for handball, while Kaoru Mitoma was clearly tripped inside the penalty area by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but on-field referee Stuart Attwell waved away appeals. VAR also opted against intervening, and the PGMOL have since admitted that Brighton should have been awarded a spot kick for the challenge on Mitoma.
The fiery contest also saw Roberto De Zerbi sent off following a heated exchange with Spurs boss Cristian Stellini, who was also dismissed, and the Brighton head coach is keen to put aside their disappointment in North London as they continue their push to secure a top-seven finish.
Brighton’s latest setback ended their seven-game unbeaten away run in the Premier League and was just their second defeat in their last 12 top-flight matches. Both losses were suffered against London-based opposition, though, losing to Spurs away and Fulham at home.
The Seagulls will now endeavor to claim their first-ever league victory at Stamford Bridge and will be confident of success after recording an impressive 4-1 home triumph over Chelsea earlier this season.
Chelsea Premier League form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):
We say: Chelsea 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea’s well-documented struggles in front of goal have hindered their progress throughout this season, but they may have greater success in the attack against a Brighton side who have conceded in 12 of their 14 Premier League away games this season.
Nevertheless, a closely-fought contest between two teams, who can ill-afford to drop more points in their quest to secure European football for next season, is expected at Stamford Bridge, which could see the spoils shared on Saturday.