Brighton 1-2 Chelsea: What Were the Key Talking Points as the Blues Made a Huge Leap Towards a Top-six Finish? - Football News - Latest Global News

Brighton 1-2 Chelsea: What Were the Key Talking Points as the Blues Made a Huge Leap Towards a Top-six Finish? – Football News

Chelsea took a big step towards returning to the top six with a 2-1 away win at Brighton on Wednesday evening.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men were on the verge of securing a Europa League ticket and opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark when record-breaking Cole Palmer scored his 22nd Premier League goal of the season.

Seeing France international Christopher Nkunku come off the bench 14 minutes after the restart and calmly finish off Male Gusto’s cut, the Blues have now won all of their four games in a row.

When Bournemouth are welcomed to west London for the final showdown of the season on Sunday afternoon, a single point will be enough to officially secure the top six spot.

Even though Chelsea might have extended their Premier League appearance here, there was a bitter note at the end.

England international Reece James – playing only his second game of 2024 – was sent off straight away after being sent off against Joao Pedro.

While former Manchester United player Danny Welbeck could score a late consolation goal for Brighton in stoppage time, the Seagulls are limping over the finish line.

Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat means Brighton have recorded just one win in their last nine Premier League games.

On a night where Chelsea took a big step towards a Europa League place, we took a look at the Amex’s key talking points.

Chelsea are storming towards a European return

While Pochettino may not have confirmed whether he would still be in the Stamford Bridge dugout next season, Chelsea are enjoying a remarkable end to the 2023/24 season.

Although Wednesday’s visitors opened the new year hoping for a minor miracle to secure a crucial return to Europe, the former Tottenham coach’s mood in his camp is now at a red-hot peak.

The Blues opened May with a comfortable 6-0 win over London rivals West Ham and have now won all four of their previous Premier League games by an aggregate score of 12-3.

Despite suffering a heartbreaking FA Cup win over Manchester City last month, Chelsea have suffered just one defeat in their last 16 consecutive games in the top flight – a purple patch dating back to February 4.

With just a point needed on Sunday afternoon when they host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge, Pochettino’s side are firmly in the driver’s seat to secure a Europa League ticket.

Palmer is the new signing of the season

While many of Chelsea’s big-money signings have struggled to find stability since arriving in west London, Palmer has certainly underlined his status as the new signing of the season.

The England international made a late move from Manchester City last summer after publicly stating he wanted to play regularly in the first team, and has enjoyed a remarkable rise to superstardom.

With many tipping Chelsea’s new talisman as the main contender to be crowned PFA Player of the Year, Palmer has continued to break a number of records since his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Palmer has almost single-handedly led Chelsea to a lucrative return to Europe, scoring 22 Premier League goals so far this season and trailing only former City team-mate Erling Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot.

The 22-year-old, who only moved to Chelsea last summer for a fee of £40 million, is one of European football’s hottest stars and is expected to play a leading role when the Three Lions travel to Germany for the European Championships.

De Zerbi is criticized

While De Zerbi may have received plenty of praise since replacing Graham Potter at the Amex in September 2022, Brighton have struggled to find any sort of consistency this season.

Although the Seagulls opened May with a 1-0 win over newly appointed Champions League side Aston Villa, this is the only win the Seagulls have achieved in any of their last nine Premier League appearances.

Having put their first Europa League adventure behind them in March when they suffered a routine 4-1 aggregate defeat against Italian giants Roma, Wednesday’s hosts feel like a team limping over the finish line.

While there has been a lot of speculation in recent months about De Zerbi attracting interest from major European heavyweights, the former Sassuolo boss has received some justified criticism.

While Brighton may have been battling an injury crisis behind the scenes at the Amex, they have not secured consecutive Premier League wins since the end of September.

Match report

Brighton: Verbruggen, Lamptey, Webster, Dunk, Igor, Gross, Gilmour, Buonanotte, Enciso, Adinera, Peter

Subs: Barco, Welbeck, Baleba, Fati, Offiah

Chelsea: Petrovic, Gusto, Chalobah, Badiashile, Cucurella, Gallagher, Caicedo, Madueke, Palmer, Mudryk, Jackson

Subs: Sterling, Nkunku, James, Silva, Casadei, Ugochukwu

Goals: Brighton: Welbeck (90+7′) – Chelsea: Palmer (34′), Nkunku (64′)

Yellow cards: Brighton: Dunk, Verbruggen – Chelsea: Sterling, Caicedo

Red cards: James

Referee: Michael Salisbury

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