Chelsea vs. Brighton live score, updates, highlights from Premier League Matchday 20

While it looked for a bit that Chelsea’s festive period would be anything but, a positive last 45 minutes against Aston Villa has provided promise, and now the Blues have a shot at really sending 2021 out on a high note.

Romelu Lukaku returned with aplomb as he ignited Chelsea to a Boxing Day win, pushing two prior draws into distant memory. The Blues next host Brighton with an eye on the horizon and the Premier League title race hanging in the balance.

Brighton could present a classic trap game for Chelsea, with Liverpool’s loss to Leicester City on Tuesday further focusing the narrative on the game with the Reds in three days’ time. That narrative could shift significantly, however, with a slip at home by the Blues. Currently sitting in third in the Premier League table but level with Liverpool on points, Chelsea can storm into second with a win and put further pressure on Liverpool ahead of their Sunday showdown.

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Brighton (11th, 23 points), however, will not only relish the chance to play spoiler, but also hope to emphatically reverse its festive fortunes. The Seagulls managed their first win in months last time out, and a result at Stamford Bridge would provide a true exclamation mark on the calendar year.

Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.

Chelsea vs. Brighton live score

  1H 2H Final
Chelsea
Brighton

Goals:
None

(All times Eastern)

1:00 p.m.: Brighton will be wearing Turquoise away kits today, an interesting choice up against the blue of Chelsea, who will almost certainly wear something other than their home kit to avoid a clash.

12:27 p.m.: This is the level of domination Chelsea has exercised over Brighton in the Premier League. It will be tough for Chelsea not to look past the Seagulls ahead of the matchup against Liverpool on Sunday.

Chelsea vs. Brighton lineups

The Blues have serious issues among their squad, with both N’Golo Kante (knee) and Thiago Silva (hamstring) coming off injured on Boxing Day, and the congested festive fixtures providing no opportunity to heal up.

Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek could possibly return from his ankle injury, but his availability remains to be determined. Forwards Kai Havertz and Timo Werner remain in COVID-19 protocols, and given COVID-19 timelines, plus their lack of recent game action, it would be tough to imagine them being available just two days after missing out entirely on the Aston Villa victory.

Christian Pulisic deputized up front in the first half against Aston Villa, and was moved to wingback after halftime to make room for Lukaku. But the American still feels like an unnatural fit in the Thomas Tuchel system and could drop to the bench if Lukaku is fit enough for a full 90 minutes.

Chelsea projected starting lineup (3-5-2-1): Mendy (GK) — Christensen, Rudiger, Chalobah— Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, James — Hudson-Odoi, Mount — Lukaku.

Chelsea subs (9):  (Starting lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)

Brighton is still missing a number of key players, an injury list that contributed to its long winless run. Lewis Dunk is out until late January, while Jurgen Locadia is still down with COVID-19.

Joel Veltman is a game-time decision due to fatigue, while Shane Duffy is struggling with post-COVID-19 symptoms. Leandro Trossard, who scored the opener in the Boxing Day win, is also iffy due to a hamstring problem, and he will be a last-minute selection decision for manager Graham Potter.

Midfielder Yves Bissouma returns from a suspension and should slide back into the starting lineup, with Potter needing to decide whom between Enock Mwepu or Jakuub Moder to withdraw to make room.

Brighton projected starting lineup (4-4-2 diamond) : Sanchez (GK) — Cucurella, Burn, Webster, Lamptey — Mwepu, Lallana, Bissouma, MacAllister — Maupay, Trossard.

Brighton subs (9): (Starting lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)

How to watch Chelsea vs. Brighton

  • Date: Wednesday, Dec. 29
  • Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: —None—
  • Spanish-language TV: —None—
  • Streaming:  Peacock

The match will not be televised, but it will be streamed exclusively on NBC’s streaming platform Peacock.

Chelsea-Brighton betting tip, pick & prediction

Odds courtesy of DraftKings

Lukaku would be expected to start after coming off the bench on Boxing Day, when he transformed Chelsea with his halftime introduction. He gives the team a true target to play through, and the players around him thrive. Against a Brighton team that doesn’t typically park the bus, Chelsea should get its chances.

And the Blues also have a strong history against Brighton, going 7W-0L-3D in 10 matches across all competitions. With that track record, Lukaku’s return, and an urgency not to lose further ground to Manchester City in the title race, Chelsea should not let a home win slip them here. Parlaying that likelihood with a Lukaku anytime goal is available for plus odds.

Pick: Lukaku to score & Chelsea to win (+125)

Prediction: Chelsea 2, Brighton 0

  • Moneyline: Chelsea -280 / Draw +425 / Brighton +800
  • Spread: Chelsea -1.5 (+100) / Brighton +1.5 (-115)
  • O/U 2.5 total goals:  Over -130 / Under +105
  • Both teams to score: Yes +120 / No -155