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Tuesday, 18 January 2022 06:28

Three big changes Thomas Tuchel must make to his Chelsea side to defeat Brighton

Tricky opponent, Brighton. They proved that when they visited Stamford Bridge at the end of December. It's why Thomas Tuchel would've liked some time to devise a strategy on how to defeat the Seagulls. Instead, just one training session at Cobham was all he was afforded.

"I truly believe we need all our mental and physical capacity to be able to win. And, of course, we want to win and we're expecting a tough match," the Chelsea head coach explained at his pre-match press conference.

"It is the first time for me to play against them in their stadium and they are not shy to play one-on-one, do high pressing across the whole pitch.

"We have to win challenges not only defensively but offensively. You have to make a point, prove yourself, and you have to step up in quality and be ready no matter what because we will face a brave and very unique, strong opponent. If we want to win, we need to be at the top level."

The game comes just 53 hours after Chelsea's players trudged off the Etihad Stadium pitch after a 1-0 defeat to Man City. The challenge is to shake off that result and get back to winning ways in the Premier League.

Chelsea's title push is, almost certainly, over. The focus now must be on making sure the Blues comfortably secure a top-four finish, that they go into the last day of the campaign with Champions League football secured, something which hasn't been the case the previous two seasons.

"We have to take care of ourselves at the moment, we can do nothing more and that’s all for now," Tuchel said. "We cannot get lost in it, it cannot lower our ambition because we are committed to our goals and behaviour.

"This is what we have to show now, a relentless spirit and it cannot lower our ambition and commitment in how we play, train and what we give."

Chelsea will travel to the Amex Stadium without Reece James (hamstring), Ben Chilwell (knee) and Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring). Andreas Christensen is also ruled out due to Covid.

That will limit Tuchel's defensive options but he can make changes in midfield and attack. And here are three alterations to his side we believe the Chelsea head coach should make.

Marcos Alonso for Callum Hudson-Odoi

The Spaniard endured a tricky afternoon against Man City with Raheem Sterling causing him problems in the opening period. And it's for that reason Alonso should step out of the side at Brighton.

Tariq Lamptey is fit to start for the Seagulls and the jet-heeled wing-back, who was schooled in Chelsea's academy, needs to be contained.

Shifting to the 4-2-2-2 Tuchel used against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup and trusting Malang Sarr at left-back feels the smarter choice in trying to contain Lamptey. It also gives Brighton another attack to defend against.

Hudson-Odoi didn't start against City so will be fresh and his ability to tuck in at left wing-back when the Blues do not have the ball could prove important in restricting Graham Potter's side.

Jorginho for N'Golo Kante

Whenever there is an opportunity to rest Kante, it has to be taken, especially when Tuchel can call upon Jorginho to orchestrate in midfield.


The Italian doesn't possess the dynamism nor the running ability of Kante but he is hugely important in building attacks and can help break through Brighton's press.

That he didn't feature for Chelsea against City is important too. The Blues, as Tuchel stated, are going to need fresh minds as well as fresh legs to overcome the Seagulls.


Mason Mount for Hakim Ziyech

It was a genuine surprise that Mount was left out of the starting XI against Manchester City. And Tuchel has admitted the England international was not happy to be omitted from the side.

"I felt Mason not in the 100% zone where he is like untouchable, which he normally almost is. So we took that decision and it can happen from time to time," the Chelsea head coach said.

"He’s not happy about it, but it will not last long because everyone loves Mason – me included.”

Mount should be back in the Chelsea side against Brighton and having only featured for the final ten minutes at the Etihad, should be back to his energetic self.

And with a point to prove, he could be the difference-maker for the Blues.


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