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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Blues blow vital points as Seagulls snatch last-gasp equaliser in 1-1 draw at the Bridge

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 1 v Brighton 1

Daniel Welbeck dented Chelsea’s title credentials with a 90th minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge tonight.

The substitute got between Toni Rudiger and Trevoh Chalobah to send his header wide of Mendy to send their fans and dugout crazy with delight.

The South Coast outfit fully deserved their point which takes them up to the dizzy heights of 10th in the Premier League, while the west Londoners move to second, but those two extra points would have given them a bit of extra daylight between them and Liverpool.

Romelu Lukaku thought his first half glancing header would be enough for the win, but in truth quite a few Chelsea players were running on fumes and on another day against a more clinical side they could have been beaten.

That’s not to say they did not have chances, but mostly they were half chances and Brighton’s defence dealt with the counter-attacking threat from Chelsea well.

Poor decision-making as well,contributed to the failure to score more, and with Liverpool up next at the Bridge on Sunday, they will have to recover well and hope to halt the slide that has seen them draw four of the past five league games at the Bridge.

Those eight dropped points has seen the Blues drop out of top spot to a point where they will be looking worryingly at staying in the top four should their home form not improve.

It was an unsurprising very open in the early set of exchanges, with so many players adept at playing quick one twos.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel opted to play right-sided Reece James as a left wingback. The electric pace of former Chelsea academy star Tariq Lamptey a serious concern for the Chelsea boss.

Tuchel dropped Marcos Alonso to the bench and did not want to risk Cesar Azpilicueta getting beaten for pace on the left, so James was drafted across.

However the home side quickly got into their rhythm,and they almost took the lead on 16 minutes when a Azpilicueta soft toe-poke beat Robert Sanchez. The ball dribbled slowly, seemingly towards the goal, but instead tickled the post and was cleared.

Chelsea suffered two defensive injures in quick succession - Andreas Christensen looked like he would have to come off on 22 minutes, but he stayed on after treatment, then James hit the deck.

two minutes later complaining of a left leg problem.

James was gingerly helped off the pitch by a medic and was replaced by Alonso.

Within seconds the Blues took the lead through Romelu Lukaku whose glancing header from a Mason Mount outswinging corner zipped past Sanchez.

Lukaku appeared to elbow Neal Maupay in the search for the ball, but VAR did not overrule referee Michael Dean’s decision and the goal stood.

Brighton’s Adam Lallana forced Mendy into a good save on 38 minutes. The ex-Liverpool midfielder saw his powerful left-footer from the edge of the Chelsea penalty area, beaten away by Mendy for a corner.

Christensen predictablyfailed to appear for the second half. Trevoh Chalobah replaced him.

Brighton had the first chance of the restart when Lallana clipped in a deft ball which fell to Jakub Moder. His clipped half-volley inched over Mendy’s crossbar.

Brighton’s star player Yves Bissouma tried his luck from 20 yards and he stung the gloves of Mendy who parried the goal-bound effort over his crossbar on 53 minutes.

The Blues had a glorious chance to double their led seconds later as Hudson-Odoi ran clear from his own half into the Brighton area. But he opted to pass to his left, to Mount, but the only Brighton player who managed to track him, Joel Veltman intercepted the pass.

Had he taken a shot himself, only a goal would have satisfied the crowd who criticised his decision to pass.

Mendy and Rudiger made goal-saving interceptions as Maupay twice went close as the visitors moved the ball around quickly, making the Chelsea midfield and defence dizzy.

With Chelsea’s midfield getting overrun, Tuchel replaced winger Hudson-Odoi with N’Golo Kante on 67 minutes.

Despite Brighton’s threat, the Blues continued to look dangerous when on a counter-attack.

But right at the start of four minutes of added time, up popped Welbeck to level the match and leave the majority of the 40,088 crowd frustrated.

Teams: Chelsea Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christiansen, Rudiger, James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Pulisic, Lukaku

Subs: Kepa, Alonso, Kante, Chalobah, Saul, Barkley, Ziyech, Havertz, Sarr

Brighton: Sanchez, Lamptey, Cucurella, Bissouma, Maupassant, MacAllister, Lallana, Mader, March, Burn, Veltman

Subs: Steele, Webster, Mwepu, Grob, Alzate, Welbeck, Duffy, Richards, Ferguson

Referee: Michael Dean

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