Below-par Chelsea draw at Forest

Nottingham Forest 1 Chelsea 1

Chelsea held on for a barely deserved point to move up to eighth after a dismal second-half display.

Raheem Sterling’s composed close-range strike put the Blues ahead when the ball fell kindly after coming back off the bar.

But although Chelsea dominated possession they created precious little and Forest were the better side for the majority of the match, with Serge Aurier’s strike after the break earning a draw.

Graham Potter’s side can have no complaints, having been outfought for long periods and rarely threatening to grab a second goal.

The early signs had been encouraging with Mount smashing a shot over the bar and Christian Pulisic looking lively, while at the other end Kepa made a double save from Brennan Johnson on the break.

Opportunities dried up after a frenetic start, with Forest dropping off and allowing the Blues plenty of time on the ball.

The tactic backfired as Chelsea took the lead after working the ball to Pulisic, who played a neat one-two on the left and crossed towards Havertz. The German’s presence forced Wily Boly to thrust his left leg at the ball and it looped up in the air and back off the bar for Sterling to gleefully smash home.

Havertz then had a shot blocked, but Forest settled and were the better side before and after the interval.

Forest regularly threatened on the counter, notably when Kepa had to make a decent stop to keep out Johnson’s fierce strike, while the hosts came even closer when Gibbs-White smashed a shot against the underside of the bar from the edge of the box.

The dismal Blues start to the second half resulted in an inevitable equaliser, when a half-cleared corner fell to Aurier, who fired the ball home from close range.

The introduction of Mateo Kovacic, Conor Gallagher, Hakim Ziyech and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang improved the Blues but they could not force a winner, with an Aubameyang header as close as they got.

Chelsea: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Cucurella, Silva, Koulibaly; Jorginho [Ziyech, 72] Zakaria [Kovacic, 61], Mount [Aubameyang, 72]; Sterling [Gallagher, 72], Pulisic, Havertz.
Subs not used: Bettinelli, Chalobah, Hall, Hutchinson, Chukwuemeka.