Brighton and Hove Albion team news: Expected Premier League line-up for Chelsea on New Year's Day
Brighton and Hove Albion will be targeting the top 10 of the Premier League as they welcome Frank Lampard's Chelsea to the Amex Stadium on New Year's Day (12.30pm).
Graham Potter's men recorded a well-deserved and important victory against Bournemouth last Saturday and will look to continue their progress against Chelsea. Victory against the team that beat them 2-0 at Stamford Bridge earlier this season could see Albion in or very close to the top 10.
Frank Lampard's men however will be hoping to cement their place in the top four.
It's always difficult to predict a Graham Potter line-up - especially around the festive period - and much will depend if the head coach opts for three at the back, as he did for the narrow defeat at Tottenham on Boxing Day.
Albion will however have their work cut out against a Chelsea team fresh from the victory at Arsenal.
Brighton have won just one of their 17 Premier League games against teams starting the fixtures in the top four. They have lost their last 11 in a row, since a 1-0 win against Manchester United in May 2018.
Adam Webster or Shane Duffy is a tricky one for Potter at the moment. If the head coach goes with three at the back then Webster will likely get the nod alongside Lewis Dunk and Dan Burn. But expect Duffy to be alongside Dunk if it's a traditional back four, with Martin Montoya and Dan Burn in the full back areas. Bernardo and Montoya or Ezequiel Schelotto will be in the wing back roles if Potter goes with the defensive trio.
Big decision here for Potter too. Dale Stephens and Davy Propper have been the preferred central midfield pairing for much of the season but Yves Bissouma is now well and truly in the equation. The Mali international has had to be patient this season but recent impressive displays against Crystal Palace and Bournemouth could see him get the nod ahead of Stephens. Aaron Mooy has to be a certain starter and then it's a fight between Leandro Trossard, Pascal Gross and Steven Alzate for the remaining spots.
Here's a big question...Does Alireza Jahanbakhsh start? The Iranian international socred his first ever goal for Brighton against Bournemouth and played pretty well until he was replaced by Alzate on 84 minutes. It would seem harsh to drop him after that but Potter has to select the best team he feels can beat Chelsea. If Jahanbakhsh is dropped for this one, I expect him to leave in January. Neal Maupay impressed against Bournemouth and Albion's top scorer will hope to add to his seven goals Premier League goals against Chelsea. Aaron Connolly will also hope to force his way back in after missing out against Bournemouth, while veteran Glenn Murray will likely start on the bench.
Solly March (groin) trained on Monday but Chelsea is too soon. Long term absentee Jose Izquierdo (knee) remains out.
Chelsea's Christian Pulisic (hamstring) has recovered and is available for selection. Marcos Alonso (hamstring) and Reece James (ankle) are doubtful.
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form: WDDLLW
Chelsea Premier League form: WLLWLW
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Bissouma, Propper; Trossard, Mooy; Jahanbakhsh, Maupay
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Palmieri; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham