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Chelsea’s Boxing Day success at Villa came at quite the cost, with Thomas Tuchel joining his fellow top-flight managers in bemoaning the hectic schedule as two of his experienced stalwarts once again entered the treatment room.
Two penalties from Jorginho either side of Romelu Lukaku‘s header ultimately cancelled out Reece James‘s own goal to propel Chelsea to a vital three points at Villa Park, but witnessing Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante being forced off was not a pleasant sight for the Blues boss.
However, having returned to winning ways in the Premier League, Chelsea have moved level on points with second-placed Liverpool – who have played a game fewer – but Man City are still riding off into the sunset at the top of the pile.
Even with their enviable squad depth, it has been a struggle for this depleted Chelsea side to truly assert their dominance in the top flight – winning just two of their last five in the division – while three of their last four home encounters have ended with the spoils shared.
Furthermore, not since the 7-0 thumping of Norwich City back in October have Chelsea kept a Premier League clean sheet on home soil, and a reinvigorated Brighton outfit ought to feel confident of prolonging that streak in midweek.
Chelsea duo Silva and Kante are sure to miss out on Wednesday following their Boxing Day injuries, with the pair joining long-term absentee Ben Chilwell on the sidelines.
There is slight hope that Ruben Loftus-Cheek may make a timely return to the squad, but COVID-affected pair Kai Havertz and Timo Werner both remain doubtful.
In brighter news, Mateo Kovacic came through another substitute outing unscathed at the weekend, and the Croatian midfielder could now be deemed ready for a start.
As for Brighton, Leandro Trossard was hooked at half time in the Brentford win after opening the scoring in style, with Potter admitting that the Belgian had felt tightness in his hamstring.
The visitors are already without Jeremy Sarmiento, Lewis Dunk and Steven Alzate for the Chelsea contest, while Joel Veltman is also a doubt, but Yves Bissouma is back from a ban.
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The Mali international will expect to come straight back into the engine room this week, but it would be harsh to see Enock Mwepu dropped, so Jakub Moder could make way instead.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Ziyech, Mount; Lukaku
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Sanchez; Lamptey, Webster, Burn, Cucurella; Bissouma, Lallana, Mwepu; Mac Allister; Welbeck, Maupay