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Chelsea 3-2 Brighton: Player ratings as 10-man Blues cling on for precious win

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FROM STAMFORD BRIDGE - Chelsea managed to withstand a late onslaught and secure a 3-2 victory at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.

The Blues were in cruise control after going two goals up before the Seagulls pulled one back and the hosts had a man sent off.

Chelsea went 3-1 up in the second half but were given another scare in added time when Brighton scored once more and then had a penalty struck off by VAR.


How the game unfolded

With the first half-chance of the Game midway through the first half, Chelsea took the lead. A deep corner from Conor Gallagher was recycled by Benoit Badiashile, who did well to hook the ball back into the six-yard box and tee up Enzo Fernandez, and he headed home from point-blank range.

Moments later, Fernandez nearly had a brace. Nicolas Jackson did well to carry the ball to the byline and bring a sprawling save out of Jason Steele, and Fernandez's header on the rebound was blocked behind.

From the resulting corner, Chelsea doubled their advantage. A similar routine saw Jackson nod Gallagher's delivery back across for Levi Colwill to head across the line.

Mykhailo Mudryk went close to adding a third towards the end of the first half, turning away from Joel Veltman and then sprinting towards the 18-yard box before flashing a shot narrowly wide.

Just before the break, Brighton pulled one back. An intricate team move saw Adam Lallana shift the ball to Facundo Buonanotte, who cut inside Colwill and found the far-hand corner with a wonderful curling strike.

The Blues nearly restored their two-goal lead from kick-off when Steele produced a stunning stop to deny a flick from Jackson.

Heading into first-half stoppage time, Chelsea were reduced to ten men when Conor Gallagher received a second booking for a late lunge on Billy Gilmour.

Just after the hour mark, Brighton afforded their hosts a reprieve when they conceded a penalty. James Milner - only just on as a substitute - bundled over Mudryk at the end of a counterattack and Chelsea were handed a spot-kick after a VAR check. Fernandez stepped up and rolled the ball down the middle to restore his side's two-goal cushion.

Brighton wanted a penalty of their own late on when Kaoru Mitoma fell under a challenge from Ian Maatsen, but the referee nor VAR were interested in their appeals.

In the first of ten added minutes at the end of the 90, Joao Pedro flicked in a Pascal Gross corner to give Brighton hope of a desperately late comeback.

With one final attack, Brighton thought they had been awarded a penalty when Simon Adingra's cross struck Colwill, with referee Craig Pawson judging it to have struck his arm. However, a VAR check revealed it hit his face instead and the decision was reversed.

Chelsea managed to cling on and preserve three vital points in the context of their troubling season.


Chelsea player ratings (4-2-3-1)

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-BRIGHTON
Badiashile was superb / ADRIAN DENNIS/GettyImages

GK: Robert Sanchez - 6/10 - Goaded by the away supporters all afternoon. Didn't harm his composed performance.

RB: Axel Disasi - 6/10 - Didn't enjoy trying to pin down Brighton's electric wide forwards but was solid enough in his aerial and physical battles.

CB: Thiago Silva - 7/10 - A much calmer performance than last week's calamity at Newcastle United. Assured in his defending and distribution.

CB: Benoit Badiashile - 9/10 - Colossal. If not for his teammate scoring a brace then he would have been player of the match.

LB: Levi Colwill - 8/10 - Celebrated his goal wildly before realising it was against his former club. Perhaps could have done more to stop Buonanotte in the lead-up to his goal but was otherwise solid.

CM: Moises Caicedo - 6/10 - Threw himself into challenges even when on a booking. Managed to restrain himself late on when Chelsea needed to keep their heads.

CM: Enzo Fernandez - 9/10 - Grabbed his first two Premier League goals (insert London buses joke here). Opened up Brighton at 11-v-11 with his excellent passing range and dug in deep late on.

RM: Raheem Sterling - 6/10 - Got round the outside of Brighton's defence with his electric speed, though seldom created chances after getting there.

AM: Conor Gallagher - 1/10 - Two daft challenges, two daft bookings. Chelsea's stand-in captain.

LM: Mykhailo Mudryk - 7/10 - Gave Brighton real headaches when afforded space to run into, notably winning the penalty.

CF: Nicolas Jackson - 7/10 - Worked hard for the team and his link-up play in the box was great, but struggled to effectively connect with teammates in deeper positions and when carrying the ball.


Substitutes

SUB: Cole Palmer (66' for Sterling) - 6/10

SUB: Ian Maatsen (72' for Jackson) - 6/10

SUB: Armando Broja (80' for Mudryk) - N/A

Subs not used: Djordje Petrovic (GK), Lucas Bergstrom (GK), Alfie Gilchrist, Noni Madueke, Deivid Washington, Alex Matos


Manager

Mauricio Pochettino - 8/10 - Chelsea were at risk of losing their temperament again (and, well, the red card kind of proves they did), but they rallied back with a firm second-half showing.


Brighton & Hove Albion player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Facundo Buonanotte
Brighton fell short at the last / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

GK: Jason Steele - 7/10 - Made some top saves and pinged some great passes.

RB: Joel Veltman - 5/10 - Didn't offer too much at either end of the pitch.

CB: Jan Paul van Hecke - 6/10 - Used his recovery pace well to break up Chelsea counterattacks.

CB: Igor - 5/10 - Stepped into midfield to try and stem Chelsea attacks at the source, usually without much success.

LB: Jack Hinshelwood - 6/10 - Troubled a little by Sterling's pace, but made several interceptions while maintaining Brighton's high line.

CM: Billy Gilmour - 5/10 - Spread the ball from side to side but rarely got it into advanced areas.

CM: Carlos Baleba - 5/10 - Showed brief glimpses of brilliance but still clearly a work in progress.

RM: Facundo Buonanotte - 7/10 - Got Brighton back into the contest with a fine strike. Bounced off of Chelsea's physical defenders.

AM: Adam Lallana - 6/10 - Came up with an assist and flashed a half-volley wide just before his substitution.

LM: Simon Adingra - 6/10 - Asked a lot of questions of Chelsea from either flank but the end-product was lacking.

CF: Evan Ferguson - 5/10 - Often found himself isolated and unable to get into the Game despite Brighton's swathes of possession.


Substitutes

SUB: James Milner (57' for Hinshelwood) - 2/10

SUB: Joao Pedro (57' for Lallana) - 7/10

SUB: Kaoru Mitoma (57' for Buonanotte) - 6/10

SUB: Pascal Gross (57' for Baleba) - 7/10

SUB: Benicio Baker-Boaitey (84' for Igor) - N/A

Subs not used: Bart Verbruggen (GK), Leigh Kavanagh, Jakub Moder, Mark O'Mahony


Manager

Roberto De Zerbi - 6/10 - Brighton's injury woes made it hard to field a cohesive XI, but they really should have troubled Chelsea more with a one-player advantage.


Player of the match - Enzo Fernandez (Chelsea)

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