Chelsea got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 win over Brighton. Both goals were scored and assisted by Spaniards – Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso being assisted by Cesar Azpilicueta and Cesc Fabregas respectively as the visitors struggled to create many chances.
Antonio Conte chose to shuffle his pack after a disappointing performance away at Everton last time out and made three changes to that side while also switching to a 3-5-2 formation. Morata came back into the side after suspension, Fabregas came into midfield while Andreas Christensen was given a well-deserved rest and was replaced by Gary Cahill.
The first 45 minutes went by without major incident but the Blues should’ve gone into the break with a one or two-goal lead. Tiemoue Bakayoko couldn’t guide his close-range effort on target when he really should’ve found the net after Rudiger’s header down. A short time later, Cesc Fabregas’s pinpoint lofted ball found Victor Moses but the Nigerian couldn’t beat Mathew Ryan as the Australian goalkeeper kept Moses’ tame shot out.
The Blues got their breakthrough with their first attack after half time and it was that prolific partnership between Morata and Azpilicueta that produced the goods yet again. Azpilicueta crossed from deep and there was his Spanish teammate to head past Ryan at the near post. Chelsea almost doubled their lead through Eden Hazard but the little Belgian couldn’t find the far post with a fizzing low shot that went wide.
It was Marcos Alonso instead that found that second goal at the second attempt. His free kick was brilliantly saved by Ryan and the ball went out for a Chelsea corner moments later. Fabregas’s cross found Alonso at the near post and the left wing-back made it two goals in his last two home games with a clever header that bounced into the far corner past the rooted goalkeeper. That was his 10th league goal for Chelsea in one and a half seasons – not bad for a defender.
Brighton couldn’t get back into the game and, with a possession share of under a third, they were never going to get many chances. Hazard almost grabbed a third late on but a rapid counter attack led by N’Golo Kante ended with the Belgian’s shot being blocked on the line by Lewis Dunk. With Manchester United’s draw at home to Burnley, Chelsea moved within a point of the Red Devils and could go above them on Saturday with a win against Stoke.