Updated: Jan 24
Chelsea fumble another lead as Blues and Seagulls can’t be separated.
Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).
After playing out a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge just under three weeks ago, Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea travelled to the coast to take on Graham Potter’s Brighton in a must win Premier League game.
The Blues have endured a tough spell of form in the Premier League recently, winning just two of their previous eight games. The London club have also kept just one clean sheet in the process, which opposes their excellent defensive form from earlier on in the season.
Despite their concerning results, Tuchel’s side are still competing in all available competitions this season – which is a reason for their hectic schedule. Brighton looked to capitalise on Chelsea’s fatigue, building on their five-game unbeaten streak.
Looking to build on their previous performance against The Blues, Brighton started the game strong and on the front foot. Intricate football from the hosts resulted in a half-chance for Jakub Moder, who dragged his shot wide from just outside the penalty area.
On the 14th minute, Chelsea had their first shot on target, with the opportunity falling for Blues skipper César Azpilicueta. The right-back was denied by Robert Sànchez, who palmed the defender’s effort away for a corner.
Although both teams enjoyed relatively good spells in the opening half hour of the game, the opener was scored on the 28th – with Hakim Ziyech’s effort from distance beating a disappointed Sànchez.
As the first half rolled on, it seemed as if the visitors were finding their groove. Chelsea was excelling in wide positions and continued to look dangerous in their attacks.
The best chance of another goal in the half came on the 44th minute, with Callum Hudson-Odoi firing over from a good position in the penalty area.
Chelsea edged the first 45 minutes and had a goal to show for their efforts. However, the visitors nearly blew their lead just seconds in the second half, with an unbalanced Danny Welbeck missing the target on his weaker foot.
The Blues were struggling to bring Romelu Lukaku into the game, but 10 minutes into the second half the Belgian showed a glimpse of what was expected as he helped to create what was a ‘nearly’ moment for the visitors.
On the 60th minute, pressured continued at the other end with Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch to deny Alexis Mac Allister an equalising goal.
The Spaniard could only force a Brighton corner, which resulted in Adam Webster capitalising on a free header to deliver the hosts’ inevitable goal.
Both teams had chances to find a winner, with Lukaku being denied by Sànchez and substitute Neal Maupay fumbling chances at the other end. The majority of play went Brighton’s way, who were unlucky not to find a winner in the remaining 30 minutes of the game.
After the whistle:
After the game, Thomas Tuchel said that he would give his players a two-day rest to recover before playing Tottenham on Sunday. The Blues looked lethargic in their performance, and have done since the beginning of December.
Despite taking the lead in the game, Chelsea never really rose to the occasion and were perhaps even lucky the escape from The AMEX with a single point. The hosts had chances to find a winner – and more – but lacked ruthlessness in the final third.
Regardless, a draw against the European Champions is still a solid result for The Seagulls, who will look to extend their unbeaten run against Leicester on Sunday.
Hoping that they’re rest pays off, Thomas Tuchel will hope to bounce back on Sunday as The Blues hope to collect all three points against Spurs.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Chelsea.
- Ziyech (28’).
- Webster (60‘).
BBC Sports Player of the match:
Adam Webster (Brighton & Hove Albion).
Brighton & Hove Albion (4-1-4-1): Sànchez; Veltman, Webster ©, Burn, Cucurella; Alzate; Lamptey (76’), Groß (62’), Mac Allister, Welbeck (62’); Moder.
- Subs: Maupay (62’), Trossard (62’), March (76’).
Chelsea (4-2-2-2): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta ©, Silva, Rüdiger, Alonso; Kanté, Jorginho (80’); Ziyech (80’), Mount; Lukaku (80’), Hudson-Odoi.
- Subs: Kovačić (80’), Werner (80’), Havertz (80’).
Brighton & Hove Albion (43%) vs Chelsea (57%).
Brighton & Hove Albion (10) vs Chelsea (15).
Shots on target:
Brighton & Hove Albion (2) vs Chelsea (3).
Brighton & Hove Albion (5) vs Chelsea (7).
Brighton & Hove Albion (8) vs Chelsea (5).
- (credit | BBC Sport)
- (credit | Sky Sports Football).