Chelsea 3-2 Brighton: Enzo Fernandez double helps 10-man Blues win

3 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

Enzo Fernandez of Chelsea celebrates with team-mate Conor GallagherEnzo Fernandez put Chelsea in front with his first Premier League goal of the season

Enzo Fernandez scored twice as 10-man Chelsea held on to beat Brighton in a thriller at Stamford Bridge.

The Argentine midfielder headed the Blues in front after 17 minutes and former Brighton loanee Levi Colwill doubled the lead four minutes later with his first Chelsea goal.

Facundo Buonanotte got one back for the visitors with a superb curling effort and they were right back in the game when Chelsea skipper Conor Gallagher was shown a second yellow card and sent off on the stroke of half-time.

However, Fernandez restored Chelsea’s two-goal advantage from the penalty spot midway through the second half.

Referee Craig Pawson had initially waved play on when James Milner challenged the breaking Mykhailo Mudryk inside the box but awarded the penalty after being sent to the screen by the video assistant referee.

Brighton continued to dominate possession but struggled to create the openings to really worry Chelsea until Joao Pedro pulled one back with a flicked header in the second minute of injury time.

The Seagulls were then given a penalty in the 10th additional minute for a handball by Colwill, only for VAR to intervene again and have the decision overturned as replays showed the ball hit the defender’s head rather than his outstretched arm.

Victory is just Chelsea’s second at home in the Premier League this season, while defeat means Brighton have now won just one of their last eight league games.

Chelsea dig in for important win

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of former England manager Terry Venables, who also captained Chelsea in his playing days.

Venables’ best sides during his touchline career played with attacking flair, but this victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s men was built on resilience.

The Blues started well and deserved the lead given to them by Fernandez’s close-range header from Benoit Badiashile’s hooked cross.

When Colwill made it 2-0 soon after, it looked like they might run away with it against a Brighton side who were much changed following their Europa League exertions.

However, Chelsea were surprisingly flat following their quickfire double, allowing Brighton a foothold in the match, and they took advantage when Buonanotte received a pass from Adam Lallana, cut it from the right and bent the ball into the far corner.

When Gallagher, who had been booked for a hefty challenge on Buonanotte, then stretched to bring down Billy Gilmour and was sent off, Chelsea fans might have been fearing the sort of collapse they saw at Newcastle eight days previously.

Instead, though, there was a much-needed stubbornness from the home side. They were organised at the back and, for all Brighton’s possession, Chelsea defended stoutly and chances were at a premium.

“We deserved the win, but it was a complicated second half with one player less,” Pochettino told BBC Match of the Day.

“Brighton are a very good team and are playing well. Sometimes they force you to play deep but the attitude of the players was really good.

“The team is tired, we are all tired but overall happy. After Newcastle, we needed to show a different face. That’s why I’m happy.”

Joao Pedro’s late goal led to some late drama but Chelsea stood firm enough. The quality in their squad is clear but here they showed the kind of grit that will stand them in good stead going forward.

Brighton fall short at end of memorable week

Coming back from two goals down to take a point, possibly three, at Stamford Bridge would have capped an already historic week for Roberto de Zerbi’s side.

Reaching the Europa League knockout phase with a win at AEK Athens on Thursday was an uplifting but tiring achievement.

Despite their best efforts in this game, it was not to be for the Seagulls.

“I think we played much better than Chelsea,” Brighton manager De Zerbi told BBC Match of the Day.

While Brighton responded admirably to going 2-0 down and enjoyed nearly 80% of possession in the second half, the frustration will be that they lacked the sharpness in the final third to really make it count.

Fatigue may have played a part, but with a busy December ahead and more European football to come in the new year, that is something Brighton will need to get used to.

“I’m really happy for the future of the club, but I want to win now and I want to reach the target now because we have to do better,” De Zerbi added. “We have to play in a stronger way.”

With so many injuries and suspensions to contend with, even in defeat there were points of encouragement for the Seagulls, and they will focus now on capitalising on home assignments against Brentford and Burnley in the coming days.

Player of the match

GilmourBilly Gilmour

with an average of 7.37

Chelsea

  1. Squad number8Player nameFernández

    Average rating

    7.30

  2. Squad number20Player namePalmer

    Average rating

    7.07

  3. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva

    Average rating

    6.73

  4. Squad number26Player nameColwill

    Average rating

    6.70

  5. Squad number7Player nameSterling

    Average rating

    6.46

  6. Squad number5Player nameBadiashile

    Average rating

    6.36

  7. Squad number25Player nameCaicedo

    Average rating

    6.26

  8. Squad number1Player nameSánchez

    Average rating

    6.23

  9. Squad number29Player nameMaatsen

    Average rating

    6.23

  10. Squad number19Player nameBroja

    Average rating

    6.11

  11. Squad number2Player nameDisasi

    Average rating

    6.09

  12. Squad number15Player nameJackson

    Average rating

    5.90

  13. Squad number10Player nameMudryk

    Average rating

    5.62

  14. Squad number23Player nameGallagher

    Average rating

    4.51

Brighton & Hove Albion

  1. Squad number11Player nameGilmour

    Average rating

    7.37

  2. Squad number28Player nameFerguson

    Average rating

    6.85

  3. Squad number40Player nameBuonanotte

    Average rating

    6.39

  4. Squad number14Player nameLallana

    Average rating

    6.22

  5. Squad number9Player nameJoão Pedro

    Average rating

    6.20

  6. Squad number29Player namevan Hecke

    Average rating

    6.03

  7. Squad number41Player nameHinshelwood

    Average rating

    6.03

  8. Squad number23Player nameSteele

    Average rating

    6.02

  9. Squad number34Player nameVeltman

    Average rating

    6.00

  10. Squad number22Player nameMitoma

    Average rating

    6.00

  11. Squad number24Player nameAdingra

    Average rating

    5.99

  12. Squad number20Player nameBaleba

    Average rating

    5.98

  13. Squad number3Player nameIgor Julio

    Average rating

    5.96

  14. Squad number13Player nameGroß

    Average rating

    5.57

  15. Squad number6Player nameMilner

    Average rating

    5.48

  16. Squad number47Player nameBaker-Boaitey

    Average rating

    5.47

Line-ups

Chelsea

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1SánchezBooked at 88mins
  • 2Disasi
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 5BadiashileBooked at 52mins
  • 26Colwill
  • 25Caicedo
  • 8FernándezBooked at 59mins
  • 7SterlingSubstituted forPalmerat 66′minutes
  • 23GallagherBooked at 45mins
  • 10MudrykSubstituted forBrojaat 81′minutes
  • 15JacksonSubstituted forMaatsenat 72′minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Madueke
  • 19Broja
  • 20Palmer
  • 28Petrovic
  • 29Maatsen
  • 36de Souza Eugênio
  • 42Gilchrist
  • 47Bergström
  • 52Matos

Brighton

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 23Steele
  • 34Veltman
  • 29van Hecke
  • 3dos Santos de PauloBooked at 58minsSubstituted forBaker-Boaiteyat 84′minutes
  • 41HinshelwoodBooked at 45minsSubstituted forMilnerat 57′minutesBooked at 64mins
  • 20BalebaSubstituted forGroßat 57′minutesBooked at 64mins
  • 11Gilmour
  • 40Buonanottedata-reactid=".8qz0z9e5u2.0.0.0.1.$include-36.0.0.1:$panel-0.$0.0.0.1.3.$7PO536916.2.$0.1">Substituted forMitomaat 57′minutes
  • 14LallanaSubstituted forJoão Pedroat 57′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 24Adingra
  • 28Ferguson

Substitutes

  • 1Verbruggen
  • 6Milner
  • 9João Pedro
  • 13Groß
  • 15Moder
  • 22Mitoma
  • 47Baker-Boaitey
  • 52Kavanagh
  • 55O’Mahony
Referee:
Craig Pawson

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea 3, Brighton and Hove Albion 2.

Second Half ends, Chelsea 3, Brighton and Hove Albion 2.