Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s cracking strike sealed a resounding win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where he and Callum Hudson-Odoi took their chances to shine. Here’s how we rated each Blues player in the 3-0 victory over Brighton.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6
One of the quietest nights’ work for the keeper against a shot-shy Brighton, who were clearly looking to reserve efforts for their FA Cup semi-final appearance on Saturday. Only one genuine save to make, from a zipping effort by Brighton substitute Bernardo.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6
Could have possibly done better with a 30th-minute header which sailed over the bar after good work from Hudson-Odoi. A competent display before being replaced by Davide Zappacosta.
Andreas Christensen: 6
Another returnee to the team, the defender diligently monitored Brighton striker Florin Andone. A virtual spectator once Chelsea made things comfortable.
David Luiz: 6
Didn’t have too much to do in terms of defending against the visitors, who rarely threatened. Got forward more in the second half with some trademark dribbling.
A pretty comfortable night for the Italian, which gave him licence to push up once the outcome was confirmed. Delivered a dangerous cross at one stage, which N’Golo Kante should have made it 4-0 from.
Kept Chelsea in rhythm during the first half and was a regular supplier to Hudson-Odoi for the youngster’s burgeoning runs on the right. Always looking to create against a packed defence.
N’Golo Kante: 6
Back in the starting line-up, the Blues midfielder had a quiet evening by his normal industrious standards. Missed a glaring chance in the second half when he marauded, unmarked, into the Seagulls’ six-yard box.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 8
Following his vital goal against Cardiff City, the midfielder was calm and distributed well. Took inspiration from Eden Hazard with an almost copycat goal, leaving Brighton keeper Mat Ryan with no chance. Wonderful technique. Given a deserved standing ovation when substituted late on.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 8
The Blues’ man of the match. Finally made his full Premier League debut, the 18-year-old England international went close in the 11th minute when his shot was deflected over by Brighton defender Shane Duffy after cutting in from the right. A fine run and cross thereafter, which was met by Giroud to break the Seagull’s resistance. Otherwise, plenty of nice touches and was unfazed by the pre-match hype over his inclusion.
Eden Hazard: 8
Recalled to the starting line-up following his surprise omission at Cardiff City and part of a completely fresh offensive trio with Giroud and Hudson-Odoi, the Belgian initially troubled Brighton with darting runs. However, a blazing shot over in the first half was rather out of character. But a sublime, curling finish on the hour mark was tangible comfort to Chelsea yet again when it really mattered.
Olivier Giroud: 7
The centrepiece of the attack in what was a rare Premier League start as boss Mauirizio Sarri made seven changes, Giroud was initially well policed by Duffy before eluding his marker to prod home the first goal.
David Zappacosta: 6
Came on for Azpilicueta in the second half with the game already won, giving the skipper a rest from the action.