Chelsea 0-0 Brighton
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
- Bonus points: Kepa Arrizabalaga x3 (£4.7m), Antonio Rüdiger x2 (£4.7m), Andreas Christensen x2 (£4.7m), Robert Sánchez x2 (£4.5m)
SITTING ON DEFENCE
Two of the Premier League’s best defences were on show as Chelsea drew with Brighton in Double Gameweek 32.
In a rather uneventful match, largely overshadowed by events off the field, neither side looked particularly threatening thanks to some methodical defensive work.
The Blues and Seagulls came into the most recent round of matches first and second in the division for expected goals conceded (xGC) in their previous six matches, which proved an inevitable recipe for a 0-0 draw.
The clean sheet is a welcome one for Chelsea, in particular, after they six goals against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace.
Still, those goals came from just eight shots in the box, suggesting more defensive returns were likely to come eventually, even if they nearly gifted Adam Lallana (£6.2m) a 77th-minute winner and Danny Welbeck (£5.5m) hit the post.
How long Chelsea and Brighton defenders are worth holding is somewhat up for debate when we consider the two clubs’ fixtures between now and the end of the season.
The next two Gameweeks arguably make for a nice rotation with the Seagulls travelling to goal-shy Sheffield United before Thomas Tuchel’s men host Fulham.
However, as you can see from the Season Ticker above, only Manchester City, Fulham and Southampton have worse schedules for defensive potential for the rest of the campaign.
Chelsea must face Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester and Aston Villa between Gamweeeks 35 and 38 while Brighton face Leeds, Wolves, West Ham, Manchester City and Arsenal after their trip to Bramall Lane.
However, not everyone invested in the Chelsea defence was able to capitalise. Tuchel’s rotation policy continues to stump Fantasy managers with even his usual stalwarts Edouard Mendy (£5.2m) and César Azpilicueta (£5.9m) falling foul of it in Double Gameweek 32.
Gameweek 24 was the last time Chelsea’s manager went without the former in his starting XI, the Senegalese goalkeeper featuring for 90 minutes in 25 of the previous 26 league matches.
However, Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.7m) appears to have worked his way back into favour, perhaps to the detriment of Mendy’s long-term minutes.
He kept a clean sheet as Chelsea beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final and, prior to Double Gameweek 32, had amassed four appearances during the Tuchel reign, each without conceding a goal. As a result, the Blues manager hinted at Kepa’s involvement against Brighton in the aftermath of the Wembley victory.
“I have very rarely seen a guy who has so little minutes and has had to wait for his chances for so long and then give so much impact to a team. On a mental level, he offers so much support and is so professional. He is a big character. I think everybody, including the two other goalkeepers, were wishing for a top performance and a clean sheet from him. I’m very happy for him that he delivered and it is very likely that he has another match against Brighton maybe.” – Thomas Tuchel
Meanwhile, Azpilicueta’s benching ended an impressive run of featuring in every Premier League minute during Tuchel’s reign at Chelsea, Antonio Rüdiger (£4.7m), Kurt Zouma (£5.3m) and Andreas Christensen (£4.7m) the back-three against Brighton.
His place in the team is probably under less threat than Mendy’s, not least because he is competing for three starting berths but also because of his importance to the team as a defender and leader.
His rotation out of the side on Tuesday night seems more likely to have been in the interest of keeping him fresh so soon after an FA Cup semi-final with a big match against West Ham coming up on Saturday.
MAKE YOUR MARC
Marcos Alonso (£5.7m) was another beneficiary of Tuchel’s rotation on Tuesday night as he came in for his third Premier League start from a possible five.
The Spaniard played 66 minutes at left wing-back, banking his clean sheet when Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.7m) replaced him.
Whether Alonso can be trusted for further starts remains unclear, of course, especially as Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) got a full night’s rest on the Chelsea bench.
When Hudson-Odoi came on, he took Reece James‘ (£5.0m) right wing-back berth, the versatile former Wigan loanee moving to the left-hand side of the defence for the remaining half-an-hour.
Meanwhile, those interested in Kai Havertz (£8.2m) would have taken mixed results from Tuesday’s Stamford Bridge encounter.
The German international was afforded a more advanced false-nine role again and came close to opening the scoring in the 21st minute when he pounced on a loose ball from Adam Webster (£4.3m) at close range.
However, it was a quiet night for Havertz after that, replaced by Timo Werner (£9.2m) in the 67th minute, who offered little in his central role.
Chelsea XI: Kepa; Rüdiger, Christensen, Zouma; Alonso (Hudson-Odoi 67′), Mount, Jorginho, R James; Pulisic, Havertz (Werner 67′), Ziyech.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI: Sánchez; Webster, Dunk, White; Burn, Bissouma, Groß, Veltman; Trossard (Lallana 59′), Welbeck (Moder 90′), Mac Allister.
DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 32 SO FAR…
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Source : www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk – https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk%2F2021%2F04%2F20%2Fchelsea-keep-clean-sheet-but-benched-fpl-assets-fail-to-capitalise%2F