BY PAUL LAGAN
A Jorginho penalty and a Willian drive that took a slight deflection on its way to goal were enough to see Chelsea win their first home game of the season as they dispatched a dour Brighton 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Little pressure was coming from the fans to secure the points but it was a tremendous relief for head coach Frank Lampard and his management team who had seen defeat to Liverpool and a couple of draws at SW6.
Chelsea started with early pressure, an early shout for a penalty for mason Mount was justifiably ignored by referee Christopher Kavanagh.
Tammy Abraham and Mount combined well, with the striker flashing the ball high over Mat Ryan’s crossbar on six minutes.
Abraham was desperately unlucky on 15 minutes.
Having won a free-kick on the left, Mount pitched in a beauty of a curling free-kick. The striker rose above the rest and glanced the ball on. Unfortunately the ball took a bounce off the turf and ricocheted off Ryan’s left upright.
Andreas Christensen was rightly yellow-carded on 23 minutes when he pulled back Neal Maupay.
That card came from a sense of frustration as the Blues dropped their pace allowing the Seagull to get a grip on the game.
Marcos Alonso was then given a yellow for a needless foul.
Ac couple of yellow for Maupay and Steven Alzate served the purpose of disrupting Chelsea’s strategy.
A sublime deft cross by Alonso was net perfectly by in-running barkley. But the England midfielder was thwarted by a spectacular diving save by Ryan on 36 minutes.
Ryan then got his body to a Pedro drive after the Spain midfielder burst free to unleash a venomous left-footed half-volley.
Alonso then skied a left-footer from close-range.
Ryan looked unbeatable as the last action of the half saw him snatch a Pedro drive to safety.
Chelsea were given a stroke of luck three minutes into the restart – Adam Webster mistimed a short ball, Mount pounced and Webster, trying to recover, tripped the midfielder.
After a VAR confirmation – a minute later, up stepped Jorginho who slotted home as Ryan opted to stay central.
Brighton’s substitute Gaetan Bong whipped in a crisp left-footer from the left, and the ball was met by Pascal Grob, who flicked his header over Kepa’s crossbar. It was the visitors’ first real attempt on goal.
Frank Lampard brought on Callum Hudson-Odoi for Pedro on 63 minutes.
Brighton boss Graham Potter responded by bringing on Aaron Connolly for Aaron Mooy.
Mateo Kovacic was the next to enter the fray for the Blues on 68 minutes – Barkley made way.
Dan Burn saw his header flick off the crossbar as the Seagulls pushed forward fo the equaliser.
But it was the home side who struck next. A quick break by Hudson-Odoi fed Willian on the right. A simple flick over the ball, a shot and a tickle of a deflection off Burn, saw the ball zip past Ryan on 76 minutes.
Ryan stopped Abraham netting seconds later as the striker tried to clip the ball over his net. Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi replaced Abraham with seven minutes left on the clock.
Next up for Chelsea is a must-win trip to France to face Lille, on Wednesday in the Champions League group stage, before heading down to the South Coast, on Sunday to face Southampton.
Teams: Chelsea, Caballero, Guehi, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Batshuayi, James, Pulisic
Subs: Caballero, Kovacic, Hudson—Odoi, Pulisic, Batshuayi, James, Guehi
Brighton: Ryan Dunk, Stephens, Maupay, Bissouma, Grob, Webster, Mooy, Montoya, Burn, Alzate
Subs: Button, Bong, Schelloto, Baluta, Connolly, Murray, Jahanbakhsh
Referee: Chris Kavanagh