Chelsea predicted team vs Brighton: Christian Pulisic to return, Frank Lampard goes four at back

On the back of a dramatic comeback away to Arsenal on Sunday, Chelsea must go again away to Brighton & Hove Albion in the first Premier League game of 2020 (kick-off 12.30pm).

Frank Lampard should welcome Christian Pulisic back into the team after he was left out of the trip to the Emirates for precautionary reasons following a minor hamstring tweak sustained after the 2-0 Boxing Day defeat to Southampton.

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There are also question marks over the availability of full backs Marcos Alonso and Reece James, who both missed the Arsenal game due to injury. If both are ruled out, Emerson is likely to start again despite being hooked after little more than half an hour at the Emirates.

In midfield Jorginho could come back into the starting XI having helped to change the game off the bench against Arsenal, with N’Golo Kante more likely than Mateo Kovacic to partner him in a holding role.

Willian and Tammy Abraham combined well for the latter’s late winner against Arsenal and both are almost certain to start against Graham Potter’s team at the Amex Stadium, while Pulisic might start for the first time in three weeks after declaring himself fit.

Mason Mount is expected to line up in the No10 role. If neither James nor Alonso are fit, Sunday’s debutant Tariq Lamptey is likely to be named on the bench once again.

It will also be interesting to see if Olivier Giroud, who wants to leave the club, is part of the matchday squad on the first day of the January transfer window.

Chelsea predicted XI: Kepa; Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Emerson; N’Golo Kante, Jorginho; Willian, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic; Tammy Abraham.