Victor Moses was on for the entire duration as Premier League champions Chelsea won their sixth Premier League game in a row at Stamford Bridge, edging past Brighton 2-0 on Boxing Day.
After failing to break down Everton on Saturday, Chelsea regained their killer-instinct with second-half goals from Alvaro Morata (46) and Marcos Alonso (59).
The result keeps Chelsea in third, but they are still 13 points behind runaway league leaders Manchester City while Brighton sit 12th, four points above the drop.
Brighton had not won in the fixture since an FA Cup triumph in 1933 and that record was never under threat as Eden Hazard expertly pulled the strings to cement third place for Antonio Conte’s men.
Moses was drifting into dangerous positions around the right post but if the final pass was accurate then his first touch or finishing was found wanting. Fabregas and Rudiger each pulled the trigger just outside of the area but neither shot troubled Ryan, who then positioned his body behind a strong attempt by Hazard despite the acute angle.
The second half had barely begun when Chelsea broke the deadlock, Azpilicueta and Morata linking up for the striker to nod home his 12th goal of the season. Azpilicueta forced a brilliant save from Ryan as his free-kick powered towards the top right corner, but there was nothing the keeper could do to stop the champions’ second in the 61st minute.
Fabregas curled in a corner that was met by Alonso with a glancing header and with no one defending the far post, the ball careered into the net. Having weaved Brighton’s defence into a knot, Hazard saw a shot cleared off the line by Lewis Dunk before the Belgian playmaker teed-up Bakayoko, whose accuracy was poor once more.