Chelsea reaffirmed their top four ambitions with a comfortable 3-0 victory over relegation-threatened Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
The Blues dominated possession throughout the opening 45 minutes with Arrizabalaga relegated to a spectator role, although chances remained at a premium until Callum Hudson-Odoi tore past his marker and crossed for Olivier Giroud to flick past Maty Ryan for the game's opening goal seven minutes from the half-time interval.
Giroud's goal opened the floodgates as Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek wrapped up the match with two terrific curling efforts in the space of three second-half minutes.
Key Talking Point
Throughout a frustrating campaign, patience has been the keyword associated with the stupendously talented Hudson-Odoi. The youngster, himself, has had to be incredibly patient, while the Chelsea supporters clamouring for his inclusion have had to be equally patient.
Giroud! From...— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) April 3, 2019
This 18 year old make so much happen. Too good.
Finally, after making his England debut last week, the 18-year old received his maiden Premier League start, occupying Chelsea's right flank opposite to Eden Hazard on the left.
The galvanised Chelsea team was buoyed by the energetic Hudson-Odoi, with his desire to take on anyone who dare cross his path leading to a terrific assist for Giroud's opening goal.
Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (6); Azpilicueta (7), David Luiz (7), Christensen (7), Emerson (6); Kante (7), Jorginho (7), Loftus-Cheek (7); Hudson-Odoi (8), Hazard (9), Giroud (7).
Substitutes: Zappacosta (6), Kovacic (6), Willian (6).
STAR MAN - Eden Hazard
While much of the post-match reaction will focus on Hudson-Odoi, Hazard continued to showcase why Chelsea supporters should be so fearful of his impending departure to Real Madrid.
Hazard is incredible.— TweetChelseaUK (@TweetChelseaUK) April 3, 2019
Hazard is sensational. One of the best, if not the best, N'Golo has ever shared a dressing room with. Orchestrating this game masterfully— N’Golo Stuff (@NGoloStuff) April 3, 2019
The winger was at the heart of every Chelsea attack, with his ability to open space through sublime dribbling and cross field passes key to his side eventually breaking down a stubborn Brighton defence.
A constant menace, the Belgian got his deserved goal on the hour-mark after leaving Lewis Dunk on the turf with a sublime touch inside before curling an exquisite finish into the far corner.
Key Talking Point
Heading into Wednesday's clash with Chelsea, Brighton have been the antithesis of Wolves' big match heroics, picking up zero points against the big six, while scoring just one goal on their travels against the Premier League's elite sides.
DID YOU KNOW...— WeLoveBetting (@WeLoveBettingUK) April 3, 2019
Since promotion, Brighton have W0-D0-L9 away at Big Six teams with 7/9 losses arriving 'to nil'.
Under Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea have W14-D2-L1 against bottom-half teams, scoring 2+ in 13/17 and keeping 9/17 clean sheets.#CHEBHA #CFC #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/lJ5A39cRyz
That negative statistic did not get any better at Stamford Bridge as Brighton were thoroughly outclassed in another scoreless outing.
The Seagulls' record will have to improve rapidly if they are to reach a fairytale FA Cup final, as a Manchester City side that has won 20 out of their last 21 matches, the daunting semi-final task.
Starting XI: Ryan (5); Bruno (6), Duffy (6), Dunk (5), Bong (6); Stephens (6), Propper (5), Bissouma (5); March (6), Andone (5), Jahanbakhsh (6)
Substitutes: Knockaert (4), Murray (6), Bernardo (6)
STAR MAN - Shane Duffy
Brighton defended bravely for the majority of the first half with Duffy the crucial component in an organised display.
Unfortunately, for the centre-back, his side collapsed after Giroud's opening goal with a tame second-half performance leading to the seismic deficit.
While no one in the green away strip put in a memorable performance, Duffy was the best of a mediocre bunch and can hardly be faulted for any of the goals conceded.
Chelsea host West Ham next in a pivotal London derby on Monday night, before traveling to the Czech Republic to face Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final clash.
Chris Hughton's side will be returning to London on Saturday to play Manchester City in a monumental FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The Seagulls will then turn their attention back to the Premier League relegation battle with a south coast derby against Bournemouth.