A good old fashioned, hard-fought win will be more than welcome for Frank Lampard.
His first couple of months in charge has been full of ups, downs. What had been missing is a clean sheet and a Premier League home win. He can tick those two milestones off now after Chelsea ground their way to a routine victory against Brighton thanks to second-half goals from Jorginho and Willian.
In the circumstances Brighton were ideal opponents for Chelsea, toothless and low on confidence. That continued at Stamford Bridge and their fans ended the game sarcastically singing ‘we’ve had a shot’ after a late effort dribbled into Kepa Arrizabalaga’s arms. It was not hard to see why they have not won a league game since the opening day of the season.
There were wholesale changes from both managers following Carabao Cup ties on Wednesday. Chelsea made eight and Brighton 11, though for Lampard the worry would have been about a player he could not call on.
N’Golo Kante missed out again through injury once again. The Frenchman has had problems finding full fitness all season with his issues moving from the knee injury he carried over from last season to his ankle and now his hamstring. Kurt Zouma was another absentee due to illness. In terms of creating chances, Chelsea picked up from where they left off during their midweek mauling of Grimsby. The cutting edge in front of goal though, was missing.
Both teams – Brighton’s in particular – insistence on playing out from the back was causing more nervous moments than it was probably worth. And the visitors needed record signing Adam Webster to do his best impression of a one-man wall, repelling a sequence of shots and crosses in quick succession, to keep Chelsea at bay.
Mount pounced and Webster’s tackle, as he attempted to recover the situation was a split second too late. After a quick VAR check, referee Christopher Kavanagh’s decision to point to the spot was backed up and Jorginho, this time, did the honours from 12 yards.
This was Chelsea’s second penalty since Barkley missed against Valencia, amid apparent competition from his teammates, but was defended by Lampard who insisted the England midfielder was his penalty taker. Pedro scored against Grimsby from the spot and Jorginho did the same, both times with Barkley on the pitch. There will be minimal fuss about them taking penalties as the best way to end any discussion about penalty takers is to simply score them.
But heading into the final 20 minutes it, Brighton had managed to grab control of the game and were on top. Steven Alzate poked just their second attempt of the game into the side netting via a deflection and from the resulting corner Dan Burn header bounced down into the ground and up onto the bar. But their hopes were snuffed out when popular substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi drove across the pitch from left to right and played in Willian whose shot deflected past Ryan off Burn.