Chelsea were forced to begin 2020 with a point as Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s stunning late overhead kick earned Brighton a 1-1 draw. Here’s how we rated each Blues player at the Amex Stadium.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 7
He looked to command his area but was not always convincing, with one or two rash attempts to punch the ball clear. But Kepa made several excellent saves, mainly after the break, with a superb sprawling one-handed effort to thwart Aaron Connolly and a stunning block with his feet to keep out Neal Maupay fizzing shot. He had no chance with the sublime leveller.
Reece James: 8
Effortlessly commanding in defence and equally dominant at the other end of the pitch, James was Chelsea’s standout player. He was imposing, calm and showed great awareness.
Antonio Rudiger: 6
The German looked more comfortable playing in a back four with less pressure on his ability to bring the ball out, particularly with James proving a constant and reliable outlet on the right. Rudiger was able to fully focus on his defending and never looked unduly troubled.
Kurt Zouma: 7
He was involved in Azpilicueta’s goal and made some timely interventions as Brighton threatened just before and just after the break. His positional play seems to have improved markedly.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6
Chelsea’s captain showed great anticipation for the goal and is another who looked more suited to playing in a defensive four. Solid, but still needs to make more of an impact in attack.
Back in the starting line-up after coming on a substitute in the fine win over Arsenal, Jorginho dictated play for long spells before the break and it was to his credit that Brighton boss Graham Potter had to change the shape to try to stop him doing so. But the change in tactics nullified his influence after the interval.
N’Golo Kante: 6
The Frenchman was a relentless presence at both ends of the pitch, but was more effective backtracking than he was in the final third.
Mason Mount: 6
Mount’s ability to mimic his manager Frank Lampard and make countless runs into dangerous areas continues. And but for a better final pass from his team-mates, he would probably have had a couple of goals to reward his workrate and selfless play. He was replaced by the more defensively minded Mateo Kovacic with just under 20 minutes left and was given a great send-off by the appreciative travelling Blues supporters.
Christian Pulisic: 6
The American winger was steady rather than spectacular on his return to the side but became more of a goal threat as the game wore on. He twice went close with decent shots on goal after the break before being replaced with 25 minutes remaining.
The Brazilian has been far more composed in possession in recent weeks while his effort levels have never dipped. But Willian was unable to exploit the gaps left by Brighton’s more adventurous second-half display.
Tammy Abraham: 7
A great striker’s instinct saw his early effort on goal lead to Azpilicueta’s opener and his confidence shone through, perhaps too much when he should have slipped in Willian for a simple second goal rather than opt to shoot when bearing down on goal. On this form, Abraham’s hold-up play is as good as anyone’s in the league – a skill that owes a great deal to his improved concentration.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 6
He is slowly regaining sharpness and confidence, showing good trickery and seeing a couple of strikes on goal well blocked, but the young winger should have done better with a glorious chance when his curling effort went just over.
Mateo Kovacic: 5
The Croatian, one of Chelsea’s star men this season, was brought on to try to see out the win but struggled to get to the pace of the match, getting booked and conceding several free-kicks.