As all Premier League fans know, the Christmas period is a hectic one for top-flight teams, bringing plenty of top quality football to supporters around the world. Chelsea’s festive season is no different and they travel to Everton before hosting Brighton in the space of just three days.
The trip to Goodison Park on Saturday may pose more of a threat than first assumed as the Blues will be facing a team on a very good run of form under their new manager, Sam Allardyce, who is currently unbeaten as Toffees boss. In the last five Premier League games, only Manchester City have picked up more points than the Merseysiders so Antonio Conte’s men will have to be on top of their game to derail the ninth-placed side. Allardyce mentioned the availability of Ross Barkley during his pre-match press conference after the Blues failed to sign the 24-year-old back in the summer.
Chelsea have won all three of the last three meetings between the teams and the most recent one was played at the end of August, where goals from Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata condemned Everton to a 2-0 loss. Saturday’s hosts last beat the Blues in September 2015 courtesy of a perfect Steven Naismith hat-trick.
Brighton at home
The champions then have two days’ rest (including Christmas Day) before they lock horns with Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day. The visitors have slowly begun to slide down the table after a decent start to their first campaign in the Premier League but will be tough to break down when they visit West London. Winless in his last seven league matches, Chris Hughton will be desperate to see his side’s performances improve over the next couple of weeks.
This will be the first top-flight match between Chelsea and Brighton; the last fixture was won 1-0 by the Blues back in 1989, where Kevin Wilson scored the winner in the second division match. Chelsea are the only team in the Premier League that Brighton are yet to play so the visitors will be looking to come away from the capital with all three points; however, it should be a pretty routine victory for the hosts against inferior opposition.