Chelsea and Frank Lampard finally collected their long-awaited first clean sheet of the season as they comfortably beat Brighton 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
A bright and enterprising start to the game should’ve been taken advantage of as Pedro, Ross Barkley and Marcos Alonso were all guilty of spurning good chances. By deploying Barkley and Mason Mount in the half-space between Brighton’s midfield and defence, the Blues were able to quickly turn over possession by intercepting wayward passes forced by the quick pressing of Tammy Abraham. Early on this tactic helped produce some great opportunities in behind but loose touches and poor decision making meant Chelsea were unable to make the breakthrough in the first half.
Sloppy play from both sides dictated much of the next 45 minutes, and Chelsea finally made use of their high press to induce Brighton into giving away a penalty. Mason Mount was the man to draw the foul, getting to a loose ball ahead of Adam Webster. Jorginho then made light work of the resulting penalty to put Chelsea into the lead and collect his first Premier League goal at Stamford Bridge.
Brighton enjoyed a brief spell in which they looked like they could earn an unlikely equaliser, striking the bar through a Dan Burns header, but as the game became stretched Willian struck on the break to double Chelsea’s lead. Substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi sprung forward with pace before releasing Willian into the area for the Brazilian to strike home via a heavy deflection.
Chelsea could’ve had more but will be glad to have finally gotten their first clean sheet of the season on top of a well deserved three points.
Kepa Arrizabalaga - 7
Quick off his line and strong in commanding his area from set-pieces. Arrizabalaga will be the most relieved man in Stamford Bridge, having finally kept a clean sheet.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 6.5
Defended resolutely at the back post, heading away some dangerous deliveries into the box. Could have made more of the space he was afforded in attack.
Andreas Christensen - 7
Excellent defending at times to get his body in front of Neal Maupay when Brighton looked to spring an attack. Had more time than he thought on the ball when bringing it out of defence.
Fikayo Tomori - 8
Looked so calm on and off the ball. His recovery runs always looked controlled and he played out with supreme confidence.
Marcos Alonso - 6.5
He and Willian played out of the press really well with some slick passing. His deliveries were often lacking the vital incision but for all his toil he did produce a golden chance for Barkley with a looped ball to the back post.
Ross Barkley - 6
Operating in the half-spaces Barkley was able to quickly intercept Brighton’s clearances and work the ball into the feet of runners in behind. Needed to release the ball faster so as to maintain the pace of Chelsea’s attacks. He contested more duels than any other player but won just three of them.
Jorginho - 7.5
Calm as you like from the spot to finally break the deadlock, Jorginho was able to control the midfield with the same sort of composure. He varied his passing, adding pace or breaking the press with good range and direction.
Mason Mount - 7
Looked really bright in the opening stages stepping inside his man and drifting past players. He linked up well with Abraham but should’ve looked to burst into the box and receive the ball. Nicked in to finally take advantage of Brighton’s sloppy passing at the back.
Pedro - 6
Drifted in and out of the game. Pedro made some great runs peeling off the Brighton defence but some disappointing end product, when given the ball, meant he was unable to make much of an impact.
Tammy Abraham - 8
Defended from the front drawing out Lewis Dunk with runs into the channel as well as winning back possession through his avid closing down of the Brighton defence. Should’ve opened the scoring from Mount’s inswinging delivery. He did everything but score and his runs late on opened up space for Willian and Hudson-Odoi to exploit to great effect. A really mature performance from a player who is learning more and more each game.
Willian - 7
Some really neat flicks around the corner but struggled to convert these into shots on goal, and this is perhaps why before today he hadn’t scored a Premier League goal in 27 games. His deflected effort made the game safe and he showed good awareness to get the shot off early instead of dallying on the ball.
Callum Hudson-Odoi – 7
As more space opened up for him the youngster began to control proceedings late on. He set up Willian’s goal with a 60-yard charge up the pitch, and he was unlucky to see a timely interception deny him the chance to get on the scoresheet. His return is certainly living up to its promise.
Mateo Kovacic – 6
Kept the ball safe and drew fouls in order to take the sting out of Brighton’s mini late resurgence.
Michy Batshuayi – N/A
Came on too late to make any real impact but Lampard is probably right in saying he deserves more minutes.