Chelsea bounced back from their poor run of form to beat Brighton 4-0 in the Premier League, with their intricate attacking play proving too much to handle for the hosts.
The Blues made the perfect start to the game, with Eden Hazard powering home a stunning finish early on. Soon after, Willian doubled the lead following some stunning interplay between the Chelsea attackers. Hazard scored Chelsea’s third late on, before Victor Moses added a fourth with a cooly taken finish.
The visitors looked to dominate possession from the off – moving the ball smoothly around midfield as Brighton sat back to frustrate their opposition.
Chelsea’s attacking persistence paid off, as the Blues took the lead in the third minute. Hazard surged up the field, before moving the ball out wide. He found space on the penalty spot, before taking a smart touch from Moses’ deflected cross before rifling a powerful shot into the top left corner of the net.
In just the fifth minute the visitors doubled their lead, as a superb team move culminated n a goal. Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Hazard superbly passed their way through the Brighton defence with a series of deft touches, before Willian’s clean strike flew beyond a well-beaten Ryan. The game was electric, as Brighton left huge gaps in their defence as they looked to strike back.
Less than ten minutes later, a moment of madness from Chelsea stopper Willy Caballero nearly proved costly – The second choice keeper charged out of goal to parry away a cross, but deflected the ball straight to the onrushing Ezequiel Schelotto. The keeper collided with attacker, causing the home fans anguish as the referee deemed the challenge to have been fair.
Chelsea soon came close to scoring a third, with Tiémoué Bakayoko drawing a fine save from Ryan after powering a low shot at the keeper’s near post from close range.
Caballero, however, almost gifted the visitor’s a goal in the 19th minute after failing to deal with a Brighton corner, and was fortunate to see the offside flag raised as his weak punch caused a penalty box scramble.
In the 25th minute Chelsea’s attackers tore Brighton apart again, culminating in Hazard sliding Willian through on goal – who forced Ryan to push his fizzing shot around the post for a corner.
Caballero redeemed his previous indecision with a sensational save to deny Tomer Hemed from close-range, before the half hour mark. The Argentine keeper got down low to keep the shot out, shooting out his left hand to claw the headed effort away from goal. Brighton began to grow in confidence, as Chelsea’s defensive line began to show signs of frailty against pressure.
The hosts were up in arms again in the 34th minute, as Bakayoko bundled Schelotto over in the penalty area. The referee was unmoved, despite the indignant protests of the Italian international.
After the early stages of the second half were delayed by a head injury to Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen, the hosts struck the crossbar in the 49th minute. With the Blues defender waiting to come back onto the field, Schelotto tore down the left wing before expertly finding Davy Pröpper in the box. His powerful header beat the keeper but was denied by the woodwork.
A stunning save from Ryan denied Willian his second of the afternoon, as he sprawled to push Willian’s curling free-kick onto the post and out to safety.
With less than 15 minutes left on the clock, the Blues put the game to bed with their third goal of the match. Willian found Hazard with a deft through-ball to start a counter-attack, before Batshuayi’s smart run allowed him the space to slot home from 12 yards. Hazard’s dribbling skills showed a real touch of class, as Brighton’s defence simply crumbled against his dancing feet.
With injury time approaching, Chelsea were in again, as Charles Musonda’s through ball was controlled delicately by Moses, who was surged through on goal before cooly slotting the ball past Ryan to added the icing on the cake.
Conte’s side cruised to a comfortable victory, having produced the kind of attacking display that they had been crying out for in recent weeks.