Chelsea and Brighton lock horns for the first time in the top flight.
Chris Hughton’s men are the last of the promoted sides to provide opposition this season. The two debutants among that trio – Huddersfield and Brighton – are coping well in mid-table, with up-and-downers Newcastle the most perilously placed, two points above a relegation berth.
The pair are the 26th and 27th new clubs to join the Premier League since 1993/94. Thirteen of the previous arrivals survived the drop; 12 were relegated. Fifteenth is the average finishing position of all the newcomers.
Brighton manager Hughton has experienced mixed fortunes in survival battles with previous club Norwich. Under him, the Canaries clawed their way to safety on the last day of the 2012/13 season, but he lost his job in April 2014 with the club 17th and on their way to the Championship – Neil Adams was in charge when Norwich lost at the Bridge in May that year.
The Blues have a fine record against promoted sides. When Bournemouth grabbed the points in December 2015 it was the first home loss to top-flight newcomers in 43 matches, since Charlton the same month in 2001, and there has been no recurrence since.
On Saturday, Chelsea became the first Premier League visitors to Goodison Park since December 2011 to prevent Everton having a single shot on target. The Toffees also failed to register an accurate effort in the reverse fixture.
There was fog before Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, though nothing like that witnessed on Christmas Day 1937 at the Bridge. Back then, the game against Charlton was abandoned after 61 minutes with the score 1-1 (George Mills on target for Chelsea) because swirling smog restricted visibility to a few yards.
The referee blew his whistle and took the players off and the 40,000 spectators slowly snaked their way to the exits. Around 10 minutes later laughter broke out on the terraces.
Charlton goalkeeper Sam Bartram (left) shakes hands with his Chelsea counterpart Vic Woodley
The fog had briefly cleared sufficiently for supporters to see the bright red hair of Charlton goalkeeper Sam Bartram in his goalmouth, still diligently standing guard against Chelsea attacks – none of his team-mates had told him the game had been called off.
February’s fixture changes for live TV are still unconfirmed in their entirety for Chelsea as the trip to Old Trafford, now set at 2.05pm on Sunday 25, falls on the same weekend as the Carabao Cup final. Man United were knocked out by Bristol City, but should the Blues beat Arsenal in the January semi-finals the league fixture would be moved.
Two rearrangements pitch Antonio Conte’s side into the realm of Monday Night Football for the first time this season. They are the visit to Vicarage Road on 5 February and the hosting of West Brom the following week. Last season there were six Monday evening matches.