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Cole Palmer and Christopher Nkunku steer Chelsea past Brighton

Cole Palmer helped steer Chelsea a step closer to European qualification by claiming his 22nd Premier League goal of the season in a pulsating 2-1 win at Brighton.

The in-form England forward, who was targeted by the Seagulls before joining the Blues from Manchester City last summer, headed home a delightful 34th-minute opener at the Amex Stadium.

Substitute Christopher Nkunku secured the west London club's fourth consecutive league victory to dent Brighton’s bid for a top-half finish.

A positive evening for the visitors was dampened slightly by fellow replacement Reece James receiving a late red card for kicking out at Joao Pedro, before Danny Welbeck claimed an added-time consolation.

Brighton, who substituted captain Lewis Dunk at half-time, also hit the crossbar through Pedro, while Simon Adingra struck a post before Welbeck’s goal and felt aggrieved to have a strong penalty claim waved away with the score 1-0.

Mauricio Pochettino’s visitors had earlier seen a spot-kick award overturned following VAR intervention in an incident-packed contest.

Following a difficult start to his tenure, the Argentinian coach has now seen his resurgent side collect 32 points in 2024 to bring continental football within touching distance going into the final day.

Chelsea’s last trip to Sussex was a humbling 4-1 defeat in October 2022 when former boss Graham Potter was cast as the pantomime villain on his first return to Brighton.

Ex-Seagulls pair Marc Cucurella and Moises Caicedo shared that role on this occasion in a fixture which has gained an extra edge due to the succession of staff and players swapping the south coast for Stamford Bridge.

Left-back Cucurella attracted further ire from the stands by committing three early fouls without being

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