Antonio Conte’s men were held to a 0-0 stalemate away at Everton yesterday.
Despite having 25 shots in the match, the champions could not find a way past Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford – meaning they now trail Manchester City by 16 points in the Premier League after the latter’s 4-0 victory over Bournemouth.
They are back in action in just two days, nevertheless, with Chris Hughton’s Brighton visiting Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.
Win, lose or draw, Chelsea can not move from third place in the standings but further dropped points will hand the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal a chance to overtake in the New Year.
But who will start for the Blues?
Conte will be without the injured David Luiz, while Charly Musonda is doubtful.
Chelsea will welcome Alvaro Morata back to their squad for the visit of Brighton.
The Spaniard, the Blues’ top scorer in the Premier League with nine goals, served a one-game ban against Everton having accrued five yellow cards and he will be expected to slot straight back into the team.
Cesc Fabregas and Davide Zappacosta could feature if Antonio Conte opts to make changes but David Luiz (knee) and Charly Musonda (groin) are still absent.
Provisional squad: Courtois, Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Fabregas, Drinkwater, Kante, Hazard, Morata, Pedro, Bakayoko, Moses, Kenedy, Zappacosta, Willian, Batshuayi, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Clarke-Salter, Sterling, Eduardo, Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi.
Brighton will welcome back defender Shane Duffy from suspension for their Premier League trip to champions Chelsea.
The Republic of Ireland international has completed a one-game ban after collecting five yellow cards and could return in place of Connor Goldson, who deputised for him during Saturday’s victory over Watford.
On-loan forward Izzy Brown will be unavailable to feature against his parent club, while midfielder Steve Sidwell (back) remains out.
Provisional squad: Ryan, Krul, Bong, Bruno, Hunemeier, Dunk, Rosenior, Goldson, Schelotto, Suttner, Kayal, Propper, Knockaert, Stephens, March, Izquierdo, Gross, Murray, Hemed, Baldock.
Chelsea starting XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Hazard; Morata
Brighton starting XI: Ryan; Bruno, Goldson, Dunk, Suttner; Knockhaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross; Hemed