Chelsea showed grit and resilience to beat Brighton 3-2 at Stamford Bridge despite playing more than half of the game a man down. Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted to take three points against tricky opposition, but the match also produced sources of concern. Here, Express Sport takes you through four key talking points…
Trio make the difference
The Blues very nearly snatched disappointment from the jaws of victory against Brighton, but for the telling contributions of three impressive players. Enzo Fernandez has been a class act since landing at Stamford Bridge, and his first two Premier League goals were supplemented by another pinpoint passing display which prevented his side from losing control.
Levi Colwill was defensively robust against the club with which he spent last season on loan, and a headed goal of his own put the cherry on top of a positive afternoon’s work.
And finally Mykhaylo Mudryk, for all his shortfalls, produced several flashes of individual brilliance. While it was far from a complete display, his searing pace led to the penalty which put Chelsea 3-1 up and ultimately in the driving seat again.
Blatant problem arises
Discipline has now become a major issue for Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino. For the second week running, following Reece James’ dismissal against Newcastle United last weekend, the Blues saw their captain sent off.
This time it was Conor Gallagher sporting the armband, and the lack of thought behind the rash challenge on Billy Gilmour which prompted his second yellow card had Blues fans raging.
Gallagher, who has been bright this season, is now banned for the trip to Manchester United on Wednesday. And Chelsea’s collective haul of almost 50 bookings is the biggest in the Premier League this term.
Poch missing a trick
Although Chelsea have broken free from a particularly barren few months in front of goal, it’s clear that Pochettino could get considerably more from his side if they utilised the pace they have in behind.
Mudryk was joined by fellow speedsters Nicolas Jackson and Raheem Sterling to form a front-three, and their rapidity should have led to devastation and destruction against Brighton; a side reluctant to sit deep and willing to have a go.
But there were numerous occasions when one of the trio would make a promising run off the shoulder of the last defender, only to be ignored in favour of a sideways pass.
Brighton gem’s magic moment
The result didn’t fall the way of the Seagulls, but nobody can deny 18-year-old Facundo Buonanotte his dream moment at Stamford Bridge.
His goal looked certain to drag Brighton back into the game against 10-man opposition, cutting in on his left foot and arrowing a pure strike into the bottom corner. But it wasn’t to be, despite a late header from Joao Pedro to cut the deficit to one, as Chelsea held on for all three points to go 10th in the Premier League table.