Oddschecker football writer Ryan Elliott sounds a Hazard warning as Albion head to Stamford Bridge

The Result

Chelsea did Albion an almighty favour on Sunday, somehow (and by somehow, I mean scoring a blatantly offside goal) beating Cardiff City at the death despite a woeful performance.

The steam coming from Neil Warnock’s ears would’ve no doubt pleased a number of Seagulls fans – who won’t have forgotten his blasé response to Cardiff’s offside winner against Albion back in November – though it’s tough not to appreciate the injustice of the whole episode.

The gap between the Bluebirds and Albion remains five points, and a similarly abject Chelsea performance tonight would give the Seagulls an opportunity to rectify the truly abhorrent display they dished up against Southampton on Saturday. Did the FA Cup distract them? Perhaps, but the Saints defeat – and Cardiff’s late slip-up – will act as staunch reminders to the players.

Maurizio Sarri bizarrely rested N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard for their trip to the Welsh capital – though the latter was introduced early in the second-half – suggesting they will be fit and firing for Albion’s arrival.

Unfortunately, I cannot see Chelsea performing that poorly again, and Albion’s away record doesn’t suggest they’re capable of upsetting a side who have lost just once at Stamford Bridge all season.

If you’re looking for value, backing Chelsea to win to nil at 4/5 looks the best bet.

Sarri’s side have kept seven clean sheets at home this season, and it doesn’t look like Albion possess enough cutting edge to disrupt this record.


The Banker

Sarri’s Chelsea are hardly the most swashbuckling of sides, and while I still see them ultimately emerging victorious against Albion, it may not be pretty.

My banker is for under 1.5 goals in the first-half, priced at 8/15.

The Blues have scored just 12 first-half goals at home this season (41% of their total haul), and just four of their 15 home games have seen over one goal at the break.

Like the Cardiff match, this could be a slow burner, and I do see 8/15 as decent value for this banker.


The Longshot

Eden Hazard terrorises Brighton and Hove Albion – that’s what he does. The Belgian is a special player, and one of those who Albion defenders simply cannot deal with.

With three goals in his last two matches against the Seagulls, backing Hazard to score first – priced at 10/3 - simply must be seen as a good value bet, particularly considering his limited involvement on Sunday.