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Brighton 0-4 Chelsea: Antonio Conte happy with Chelsea's team performance

Sat, 20/01/2018 - 18:44

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte describes his side's first league triumph of 2018 as an "important" win.

MATCH REPORT: Brighton 0-4 Chelsea

Watch all the highlights from Saturday's fixtures on Match of the Day, Saturday 20 January at 22:30 GMT on BBC One and the BBC Sport website & app.

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Brighton 0-4 Chelsea: Scoreline not a true reflection of the game - Chris Hughton

Sat, 20/01/2018 - 18:22

Brighton manager Chris Hughton believes his side's 4-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea is not an accurate reflection of the game.

MATCH REPORT: Brighton 0-4 Chelsea

Watch all the highlights from Saturday's fixtures on Match of the Day, Saturday 20 January at 22:30 GMT on BBC One and the BBC Sport website & app.

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Hazard shines as Chelsea thrash Brighton

Sat, 20/01/2018 - 18:22
Willian scores on his 50th consecutive Premier League appearance for Chelsea

Chelsea moved level on points with second-placed Manchester United after two goals in the opening six minutes put them on the way to victory over a spirited Brighton.

Eden Hazard opened the scoring for the visitors with a neat finish from inside the box and midfielder Willian added a second from 18 yards, after a slick move that he started, to leave Chris Hughton's side facing an uphill task.

The hosts' response was impressive. They should have had a penalty when Chelsea stand-in goalkeeper Willy Caballero upended defender Ezequiel Schelotto, while Israeli striker Tomer Hemed was brilliantly denied by the former Manchester City shot-stopper.

Netherlands international midfielder Davy Propper headed against the post and Schelotto went close after the break as Brighton pushed to get back in the game.

Chelsea were always a threat though and Willian saw a free-kick pushed on to the post by Brighton keeper Mat Ryan before Hazard scored his second with a fine solo effort and Victor Moses' late goal completed the victory.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte could savour a first league triumph of 2018 for his reigning champions and a strong finish to the game, although he lost defender Andreas Christensen to a head injury in the second half and was already without captain Gary Cahill, keeper Thibaut Courtois and Cesc Fabregas from the start.

But Hughton's concerns continue, despite his team's battling qualities. This defeat means they have now won only one of their last 13 league games.

Fresh approach is unrewarded for Brighton Shane Duffy tries to stop a free-flowing Eden Hazard

The Brighton manager tried something different at the back, selecting five defenders to try and halt his side's costly tendency to concede from set-pieces.

But it was from open play where they simply couldn't live with an opponent they haven't beaten since 1933.

Brighton, with a steady central defensive pairing of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy, have had a relatively mean defence this term - only the league's top eight sides had conceded less than them before this defeat.

Yet a mixture of misfortune and sloppy play cost them dearly, with Hazard the benefactor on both occasions.

First, Moses' early cross was deflected by Dale Stephens into the path of the Belgian playmaker who quickly found a gap to score the opener. Then Duffy lost possession, allowing Hazard to zip forward and stroke home the third.

There were positives for the Seagulls. They caused Chelsea problems and had VAR been in use they could well have been awarded a penalty when Schelotto was felled.

The industrious Argentina full-back combined well with Pascal Gross down the right flank and will soon have a £14m centre forward to aim for in the shape of new signing Jurgen Locadia.

Heatmap showing the combination of Ezequiel Schelotto and Pascal Gross on Brighton's right flankWho needs a target man when you've got these two? Eden Hazard and Willian scored three goals between them and made seven key passes for Chelsea

Like their opponents, goals had been hard to come by for Chelsea recently, with only three in their last five games in all competitions - including three consecutive goalless draws.

This was some way to end the drought.

With striker Alvaro Morata, who had been struggling to score, suspended, Conte turned to Michy Batshuayi who was hoping for an upturn in form after not scoring in the league since netting two against Watford in October.

Conte has reportedly spent much of the January transfer window so far searching for a target man who would make Batshuayi's first-team prospects even bleaker, after only four starts this term. Big centre forwards such as Peter Crouch, Andy Carroll and Christian Benteke have all been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.

That search might go on because Batshuayi, despite combining well with Hazard for Willian to score the second, failed to score.

But with Hazard and Willian in this type of blistering form, Chelsea can ravage teams even without a free-scoring striker.

Former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, signed to add attacking threat in the final third, was on the bench and not used at the Amex stadium.

Conte opted to bring on 21-year-old Belgian Charly Musonda instead, and his deft lob created the fourth goal for Moses.

Man of the match - Willian (Chelsea) Willian took his goal expertly and each of his four shots was on target as he shone at the Amex stadium
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Cyrille Regis: Premier League clubs pay tribute with minute's applause

Sat, 20/01/2018 - 18:18
[unable to retrieve full-text content]<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?> Premier League clubs pay tribute to the late Cyrille Regis - who died this week at the age of 59 - with a minute's applause.
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Barcelona deny Antoine Griezmann reports of deal for Atletico Madrid forward

Sat, 20/01/2018 - 16:20
One report claims Barcelona are saving the number seven shirt for Griezmann

Barcelona says it "strongly denies" reports "regarding Atletico Madrid player, Antoine Griezmann, and an alleged deal with our club".

Griezmann's current deal runs until summer 2022 but the forward, 26, has been linked with a move to Barca.

And Spanish newspaper Sport claims