Stuttering Chelsea denied by late Brighton equaliser


Danny Welbeck’s stoppage-time equaliser earned Brighton a deserved point on a difficult night for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues lost Reece James and Andreas Christensen to injury and struggled badly in the second half, but looked set to take the points courtesy of Romelu Lukaku’s goal.

But Welbeck, on as a substitute, sneaked between Antonio Rudiger and Trevoh Chalobah to head home Marc Cucurella’s cross.

Chelsea struggled to create chances but went close to taking an early lead when Cesar Azpilicueta’s shot hit the post after Brighton failed to deal with James’ corner

James, filling in at left wing-back, where Chelsea’s options are limited with Ben Chilwell sidelined, was in obvious pain as he was helped from the pitch.

However, within seconds of James being replaced by Marcos Alonso, the fit-again Lukaku – back in the starting line-up – scored with a glancing near-post header from Mason Mount’s corner.

Christensen, in for the injured Thiago Silva, picked up a back injury before James’ exit and played on but then did not appear after half-time.

Brighton dominated large spells of the second half – Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy had to make a number of saves and Seagulls striker Neal Maupay’s shot grazed the post.

With his team under sustained pressure, N’Golo Kante was sent on to stem the flow – and did so. Chelsea were much more comfortable after the Frenchman’s introduction.

But they were undone in the final moments and are eight points behind leaders Manchester City, who won at Brentford.

Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen (Chalobah 45), Rudiger, Pulisic, Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount, James (Alonso 27), Hudson-Odoi (Kante 67), Lukaku.
Subs not used: Kepa, Saul, Barkley, Ziyech, Havertz, Sarr.