Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion slideshow

'Chelsea do not need a big target man - keep the ball on the floor,' says Eden Hazard

Perhaps it is time to call off the search. As Chelsea’s increasingly curious hunt for a target man continued this week, with attentions turning from Andy Carroll to Christian Benteke to Peter Crouch, it was the little men, and Eden Hazard in particular, who showed there may be no need to convert Stamford Bridge into the land of the giants. This victory over Brighton was, by some distance, Chelsea’s best attacking performance of the year. And as Hazard and Willian jinked and danced around the petrified Brighton defence, there was no argument to be made for sticking a lumbering target man in their way. Hazard, the scorer of the first and third goals, certainly did not think so. “Football is simple,” he said. “Keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did.” In the absence of the suspended Alvaro Morata, it was the lesser-spotted Michy Batshuayi, heavily linked with a move away, who impressed as the third member of an electric front three that produced one of the finest goals of the season. Willian’s strike, Chelsea’s second, was a triumph of speed: the speed of thought, the speed of the passing and the speed of the shot that eventually seared into the corner of the Mathew Ryan’s net. “I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy,” said Hazard. “If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another striker]. “Because we are missing chances, people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals we are the best attack in the league and no one can say we need a striker. It depends on the form of the team and I think we are happy with the team we have. Michy Batshuayi was handed his first start by Antonio Conte in the league since Oct 14  “Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big. It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy.” The Brighton rearguard had been resoundingly savaged by these small guys long before Victor Moses added a late fourth for the visitors. At times, Brighton manager Chris Hughton looked as bewildered as his three central defenders. “We were not sure what they would do up front,” said Hughton. “They have players in Pedro, Hazard and Willian who, if they are not playing a classic number nine, can do wonderful jobs and be as effective because it is a different type of game. In some ways those type of players are more difficult to mark than your classic number nines.” Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, was unsurprisingly delighted with his forward players, even if he did not give the impression that he was desperate to ensure Batshuayi remains part of his squad. The Belgian striker was in a typically boisterous mood on social media afterwards, but the rumours of an imminent transfer will not go away. “In my idea of football, we need a striker who must be a point of reference,” said Conte. “Batshuayi played a really good game. He did not score, but he worked well for the team. January 2018 transfer window “For me, Michy is a Chelsea player and in my mind there is the will to continue to work with him and try to improve. Then I don’t know if the player decides to take other solution or if he wants to play with regularity. You don’t know, it can happen.” Despite the twinkling performances of Hazard and Willian, the scoreline felt harsh on a Brighton side who had caused problems for Chelsea and were unfortunate to be denied a penalty. Their struggles in front of goal continue, though, and only Swansea have scored fewer than Brighton’s 17 goals this season. The pressure will therefore be on £14m signing Jurgen Locadia, who joined last week from PSV Eindhoven, to quickly adjust to life on the south coast. “What Jurgen will give us is hopefully that ability to stretch teams,” said Hughton. “He’s been in good form this season. The levels will be completely different but hopefully he can take some of that good form into what he sees here.”

Paul Lambert can bring a bright new era to Stoke City, says Ryan Shawcross

Paul Lambert admitted he barely slept last week, after making his surprise return to the Premier League. But his appointment has clearly jump-started Stoke City, the equivalent of a sharp jolt to the senses which has revived a club that was in danger of drifting into the Championship under Mark Hughes. Their victory over Huddersfield on Saturday felt like a return to the heady days of Stoke’s first season back in the top-flight, when trips to the bet365 Stadium filled even the most decorated managers with dread. And while Lambert’s arrival initially polarised opinion with supporters, and left many neutrals dumbfounded, captain Ryan Shawcross believes the Scot’s arrival could point to a brighter future in the Potteries. “If you look back, Tony Pulis probably wasn't the fans' first choice when he arrived and Mark Hughes definitely wasn't,” he said. “It's up to the bosses to decide on the best man, and obviously Paul Lambert gave a fantastic interview and we've seen last week what a great manager he is. Victory was Stoke City's first in six matches Credit: Reuters “People look at his track record and say it was tarnished by what happened at Villa, just as Mark Hughes' record was tarnished by his time at QPR, but sometimes managers need to be given chances. “Hopefully Paul will snatch his chance and it looks like he's going to do that. He's got fire in his belly, he wants to do well and there's no way he's going to let this team slip.” Stoke’s comfortable win, achieved in front of the bet365’s biggest ever crowd, lifted them out of the relegation zone and leaves them only three points behind tenth-placed Watford. The next three games against Watford, Bournemouth and Brighton are likely to prove crucial in Lambert’s bid to ensure he avoids a first relegation on his CV. He insists that Peter Crouch, a surprise target for Chelsea, will not be leaving this month. “I don’t want anybody leaving, we need everyone. January 2018 transfer window “This has given us a little chance and it’s the closest the table has been in a long time. The situation is not as bad as everyone thinks.” Lambert’s first Premier League win since December 2014 was earned after second-half goals from the excellent Joe Allen and Mame Diouf. Huddersfield were desperately poor and appear on course for a nail-biting final weeks to the season on this evidence, yet manager David Wagner insisted a fight for survival was inevitable. “Since the start of the season we know our aim is to survive and relegation is always around us even if maybe other people in England have thought different,” he said. “We have thought in a different way and this is why we can handle as relaxed as necessary this situation. It is a situation that we didn’t like but nothing to surprise us. We will stay cool, try to recover, focus on ourselves and know how humble we must be to collect further points.”

'Chelsea do not need a big target man - keep the ball on the floor,' says Eden Hazard

Perhaps it is time to call off the search. As Chelsea’s increasingly curious hunt for a target man continued this week, with attentions turning from Andy Carroll to Christian Benteke to Peter Crouch, it was the little men, and Eden Hazard in particular, who showed there may be no need to convert Stamford Bridge into the land of the giants. This victory over Brighton was, by some distance, Chelsea’s best attacking performance of the year. And as Hazard and Willian jinked and danced around the petrified Brighton defence, there was no argument to be made for sticking a lumbering target man in their way. Hazard, the scorer of the first and third goals, certainly did not think so. “Football is simple,” he said. “Keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did.” In the absence of the suspended Alvaro Morata, it was the lesser-spotted Michy Batshuayi, heavily linked with a move away, who impressed as the third member of an electric front three that produced one of the finest goals of the season. Willian’s strike, Chelsea’s second, was a triumph of speed: the speed of thought, the speed of the passing and the speed of the shot that eventually seared into the corner of the Mathew Ryan’s net. “I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy,” said Hazard. “If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another striker]. “Because we are missing chances, people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals we are the best attack in the league and no one can say we need a striker. It depends on the form of the team and I think we are happy with the team we have. Michy Batshuayi was handed his first start by Antonio Conte in the league since Oct 14  “Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big. It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy.” The Brighton rearguard had been resoundingly savaged by these small guys long before Victor Moses added a late fourth for the visitors. At times, Brighton manager Chris Hughton looked as bewildered as his three central defenders. “We were not sure what they would do up front,” said Hughton. “They have players in Pedro, Hazard and Willian who, if they are not playing a classic number nine, can do wonderful jobs and be as effective because it is a different type of game. In some ways those type of players are more difficult to mark than your classic number nines.” Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, was unsurprisingly delighted with his forward players, even if he did not give the impression that he was desperate to ensure Batshuayi remains part of his squad. The Belgian striker was in a typically boisterous mood on social media afterwards, but the rumours of an imminent transfer will not go away. “In my idea of football, we need a striker who must be a point of reference,” said Conte. “Batshuayi played a really good game. He did not score, but he worked well for the team. January 2018 transfer window “For me, Michy is a Chelsea player and in my mind there is the will to continue to work with him and try to improve. Then I don’t know if the player decides to take other solution or if he wants to play with regularity. You don’t know, it can happen.” Despite the twinkling performances of Hazard and Willian, the scoreline felt harsh on a Brighton side who had caused problems for Chelsea and were unfortunate to be denied a penalty. Their struggles in front of goal continue, though, and only Swansea have scored fewer than Brighton’s 17 goals this season. The pressure will therefore be on £14m signing Jurgen Locadia, who joined last week from PSV Eindhoven, to quickly adjust to life on the south coast. “What Jurgen will give us is hopefully that ability to stretch teams,” said Hughton. “He’s been in good form this season. The levels will be completely different but hopefully he can take some of that good form into what he sees here.”

Paul Lambert can bring a bright new era to Stoke City, says Ryan Shawcross

Paul Lambert admitted he barely slept last week, after making his surprise return to the Premier League. But his appointment has clearly jump-started Stoke City, the equivalent of a sharp jolt to the senses which has revived a club that was in danger of drifting into the Championship under Mark Hughes. Their victory over Huddersfield on Saturday felt like a return to the heady days of Stoke’s first season back in the top-flight, when trips to the bet365 Stadium filled even the most decorated managers with dread. And while Lambert’s arrival initially polarised opinion with supporters, and left many neutrals dumbfounded, captain Ryan Shawcross believes the Scot’s arrival could point to a brighter future in the Potteries. “If you look back, Tony Pulis probably wasn't the fans' first choice when he arrived and Mark Hughes definitely wasn't,” he said. “It's up to the bosses to decide on the best man, and obviously Paul Lambert gave a fantastic interview and we've seen last week what a great manager he is. Victory was Stoke City's first in six matches Credit: Reuters “People look at his track record and say it was tarnished by what happened at Villa, just as Mark Hughes' record was tarnished by his time at QPR, but sometimes managers need to be given chances. “Hopefully Paul will snatch his chance and it looks like he's going to do that. He's got fire in his belly, he wants to do well and there's no way he's going to let this team slip.” Stoke’s comfortable win, achieved in front of the bet365’s biggest ever crowd, lifted them out of the relegation zone and leaves them only three points behind tenth-placed Watford. The next three games against Watford, Bournemouth and Brighton are likely to prove crucial in Lambert’s bid to ensure he avoids a first relegation on his CV. He insists that Peter Crouch, a surprise target for Chelsea, will not be leaving this month. “I don’t want anybody leaving, we need everyone. January 2018 transfer window “This has given us a little chance and it’s the closest the table has been in a long time. The situation is not as bad as everyone thinks.” Lambert’s first Premier League win since December 2014 was earned after second-half goals from the excellent Joe Allen and Mame Diouf. Huddersfield were desperately poor and appear on course for a nail-biting final weeks to the season on this evidence, yet manager David Wagner insisted a fight for survival was inevitable. “Since the start of the season we know our aim is to survive and relegation is always around us even if maybe other people in England have thought different,” he said. “We have thought in a different way and this is why we can handle as relaxed as necessary this situation. It is a situation that we didn’t like but nothing to surprise us. We will stay cool, try to recover, focus on ourselves and know how humble we must be to collect further points.”

Victor Moses salutes teammates after Brighton and Hove Albion thrashing

The Nigeria international has praised the Blues following their emphatic victory over the Seagulls at Falmer Stadium

VIDEO: You're Doing it Wrong! Hazard & Willian Troll Chelsea Boss Antonio Conte After Brighton Win

Win Chelsea stars Eden Hazard and Willian could find themselves in a world of trouble with Antonio Conte after jokingly calling the manager out, following their 4-0 win against Brighton on Saturday. The duo were quite impressive against their most recent opposition, linking up immaculately and both getting on the scoresheet, with Hazard netting a brace to help the Blues to their first win of 2018 (in 90 minutes). FT: Brighton 0 - 4 Chelsea Eden Hazard's brace along with goals from Willian and...

VIDEO: You're Doing it Wrong! Hazard & Willian Troll Chelsea Boss Antonio Conte After Brighton Win

Win Chelsea stars Eden Hazard and Willian could find themselves in a world of trouble with Antonio Conte after jokingly calling the manager out, following their 4-0 win against Brighton on Saturday. The duo were quite impressive against their most recent opposition, linking up immaculately and both getting on the scoresheet, with Hazard netting a brace to help the Blues to their first win of 2018 (in 90 minutes). FT: Brighton 0 - 4 Chelsea Eden Hazard's brace along with goals from Willian and...

Conte hopeful over Christensen fitness for Arsenal match

Antonio Conte says the referee pressured him into substituting Andreas Christensen during Chelsea win over Brighton, but believes the defender will be fit for Wednesday's match against Arsenal.

Conte hopeful over Christensen fitness for Arsenal match

Antonio Conte says the referee pressured him into substituting Andreas Christensen during Chelsea win over Brighton, but believes the defender will be fit for Wednesday's match against Arsenal.

Conte hopeful over Christensen fitness for Arsenal match

Antonio Conte says the referee pressured him into substituting Andreas Christensen during Chelsea win over Brighton, but believes the defender will be fit for Wednesday's match against Arsenal.

Michy Batshuayi Stakes New Claim to Be Twitter King of Banter With Hilarious Post-Brighton Tweet

If there's one thing Michy Batshuayi can't be accused of during his time at Chelsea so far, it's of having no personality. The Belgian has yet to become a regular starter for the Blues since his move from Marseille in the summer of 2016, but the striker is still adored by the Blues faithful for his down to earth personality - especially on Twitter. Just seen it wow ! Some fifa pro club sh*t that was  plus its always player with the big hair scoring  https://t.co/xLSaVB3aKS — Michy...

Michy Batshuayi Stakes New Claim to Be Twitter King of Banter With Hilarious Post-Brighton Tweet

If there's one thing Michy Batshuayi can't be accused of during his time at Chelsea so far, it's of having no personality. The Belgian has yet to become a regular starter for the Blues since his move from Marseille in the summer of 2016, but the striker is still adored by the Blues faithful for his down to earth personality - especially on Twitter. Just seen it wow ! Some fifa pro club sh*t that was  plus its always player with the big hair scoring  https://t.co/xLSaVB3aKS — Michy...

Victor Moses salutes teammates after Brighton and Hove Albion thrashing

The Nigeria international has praised the Blues following their emphatic victory over the Seagulls at Falmer Stadium

Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas Trolls Teammate Victor Moses After Goal in Win Over Brighton

Cesc Fabregas took to Twitter to joke with Chelsea teammate Victor Moses after the Nigerian wing-back was an unlikely goalscorer in  Saturday's 4-0 win over Brighton. His 89th-minute goal was his first since a strike against Arsenal in the Community Shield in August last year. And Fabregas was quick to suggest that Moses should continue to work on his finishing after finding the net at the Amex Stadium. Well done Victa boy. If one day you can finish off one of my passes, that would be great...

Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas Trolls Teammate Victor Moses After Goal in Win Over Brighton

Cesc Fabregas took to Twitter to joke with Chelsea teammate Victor Moses after the Nigerian wing-back was an unlikely goalscorer in  Saturday's 4-0 win over Brighton. His 89th-minute goal was his first since a strike against Arsenal in the Community Shield in August last year. And Fabregas was quick to suggest that Moses should continue to work on his finishing after finding the net at the Amex Stadium. Well done Victa boy. If one day you can finish off one of my passes, that would be great...

Eden Hazard nets 100th league goal with Chelsea opener

The Belgium international reached his century with a neat finish to put Brighton behind, as he looks to beat his personal best of 16 set last season

Chelsea team news: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Brighton

The Blues travel to the relegation-threatened club as they aim to turn around a mediocre run of form that has seen them struggle to score goals

Chelsea team news: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Brighton

The Blues travel to the relegation-threatened club as they aim to turn around a mediocre run of form that has seen them struggle to score goals

Chelsea team news: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Brighton

The Blues travel to the relegation-threatened club as they aim to turn around a mediocre run of form that has seen them struggle to score goals

Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Chelsea

Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Chelsea - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - January 20, 2018 Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi in action REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Chelsea

Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Chelsea - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - January 20, 2018 Chelsea manager Antonio Conte celebrates after the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

VAR would've cleared up Brighton's penalty claims - Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes VAR could be very useful to every team in the Premier League if the officials know how to use it properly.

VAR would've cleared up Brighton's penalty claims - Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes VAR could be very useful to every team in the Premier League if the officials know how to use it properly.

Chelsea players showed 'responsibility' after negative press - Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is pleased with how his players took responsibility during the win away to Brighton but the Italian believes the press only focus on the negatives within his side.

Chelsea players showed 'responsibility' after negative press - Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is pleased with how his players took responsibility during the win away to Brighton but the Italian believes the press only focus on the negatives within his side.

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