Brighton player ratings vs Chelsea: Two 8s but one 5 as Albion fall short in entertaining Premier League clash as strange VAR moment lingers

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A late Danny Welbeck strike was not enough as Chelsea came out 2-1 winners after a fiery, entertaining Premier League game at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Cole Palmer’s superb header put Chelsea a goal after 34 minutes. Former Albion man Marc Cucurella was the man to provide the assist after receiving a far from warm welcome back from the home fans.

After being booed with every touch – alongside another former Seagull Moises Caicedo – Cucurella earlier thought he had won a penalty after Facundo Buonanotte’s challenge in the box. However, VAR intervened and showed the Argentine got a touch on the ball.

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VAR was the talking point before kick-off after it was revealed the controversial technology could be scrapped next season.

Simon Adingra struck the post for Brighton against Chelsea. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)Simon Adingra struck the post for Brighton against Chelsea. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Simon Adingra struck the post for Brighton against Chelsea. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Although it proved its worth with the first-half penalty shout, the video assistant referee failed to intervene after the break when Simon Adingra was tripped in the box by Malo Gusto.

Undeterred, Brighton continued to search for an equaliser and they should have done when Tariq Lamptey’s cross found Pascal Gross in front of goal. The German couldn’t find a finish from close range, which was a moment that summed up Albion’s evening.

Brighton were made to pay when Christopher Nkunku doubled the visitors’ lead from Gusto’s cross.

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Brighton looked a beaten side for a while after that goal but were given a bolt of energy when Reece James – with the captain’s armband on – petulantly kicked out at Joao Pedro. VAR got involved this time and ensured the full-back was sent off.

Brighton suddenly were back on the front foot – Adingra struck the post from a tight angle before Welbeck scored from Pedro’s pass on the seventh minute of injury-time.

The full-time whistle ended any hopes of a miraculous come-back, with substitute Valentin Barco falling to the turf in exhaustion after an impressive cameo.

Chelsea’s fourth win in a row leaves them in with a good chance of reaching next season’s Europa League. Brighton, meanwhile, will be playing to finish in the top half when Manchester United visit the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Here’s how we rated the Brighton players:

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Bart Verbruggen – 7: Good save at his near post from Madueke early on. Great save to deny Gusto’s long-range range effort which was dipping over the keeper after taking a deflection off Igor. Nothing he could do about either of the goals. Booked for foul on Jackson as he charged into the box. Very lucky to avoid a red card.

Tariq Lamptey – 8: Always an option on the right flank. Lovely cross for Enciso’s headed chance. Lost his footing when trying to beat Cucurella out wide. Another good cross for Pedro – denied by the crossbar. Inch-perfect cross, yet again, for Pascal Gross who had to be scoring.

Adam Webster – 7: Solid performance. Good defending up against Mudryk but a bit too heavy handed for the referee’s liking. Brilliant last ditch defending from Jackson’s cut back when it looked to be a certain goal – might have been offside anyway.

Lewis Dunk – 6: Substituted at half-time after suffering a knock in the first-half. Hopefully it was nothing too serious.

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Igor Julio – 7: Strong defending in key moments. Composed on the ball.

Billy Gilmour – 5: Quiet performance against his former side. Unable to control the midfield. Replaced by Carlos Baleba.

Facundo Buonanotte – 6: VAR showed he got a touch on the ball after he was initially adjudged to have fouled Cucurella in the box. Lively. Opened up the defence with classy give-and-go before Adingra shot over. Quiet after Chelsea’s second goal and replaced by Danny Welbeck.

Pascal Gross – 6: Poised for a tap-in but Gallagher heroics prevented a goal. Missed a sitter shortly before the hour mark – it looked a certain goal. Just couldn’t get on the end of brilliant Barco ball.

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Joao Pedro – 6: Put himself about on return from injury. Big chance to equalise in first-half injury-time but delayed his shot too long. Headed effort cannoned off the crossbar on stroke of half-time. Thought he was going to score an outstanding solo goal but stopped in his tracks at the last. Nice assist for Welbeck in injury-time.

Julio Enciso – 6: Tried to jeer the home crowd up after steering a header just wide. Dangerous run and Caicedo had to bring him down illegally, earning the former Albion a man a booking. Just lacking the final pass on the night.

Simon Adingra – 7: Went close after lovely team move – great first touch and swivelled effort inches wide. Not far away after another good move instigated by Buonanotte. Flashed one across goal but no one at the back post quick enough. Tripped by Gusto at beginning of the second half but no penalty given. Fired over after weaving run. Hit the post in injury-time. Just not his or Brighton's day.


Valentin Barco – 8: Brilliant when he came on. Impressive piece of defending from Palmer’s cross. Had a dangerous cross of his own cut out. Tame shot on goal from distance after crowd get onto players backs for not shooting. Teasing ball was begging to be put in at the back post at 0-2. Everything was going through him as Brighton searched for a late equaliser.

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Carlos Baleba – 7: Solid performance off the bench. Powerful in the midfield.

Danny Welbeck – 7: Grabbed a consolation goal with a poacher’s finish. Great that we will be seeing more of that next season.

Ansu Fati – N/A

Odeluga Offiah – N/A

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