Chelsea started bright so bright and early at Brighton to begin the new year, and got the opening goal inside the first 15 minutes — César Azpilicueta finding a loose ball after a corner scramble to score his second goal in a month.
But the Blues couldn’t really build on that early advantage, and Brighton eventually worked their way into the match, putting together a few solid sequences towards the end of the half. Chelsea defended well enough and took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room at the half.
Brighton continued to push in the second half, as the game opened up, but neither they nor Chelsea could find the right final ball. But the longer the game remained 1-0, the more likely it was that the home side would find an equalizer.
And so it was, as Jahanbakhsh produced a ridiculous overhead kick to beat Kepa, who himself had already produced a wonderful save just a few minutes prior, and would need to produce another wonderful save just a few minutes later to keep things level.
Hudson-Odoi had a great chance to win it for Chelsea late, but missed the top corner, while Brighton wasted a late free kick in prime shooting position.
Two points dropped.
- A welcome return of the 4-2-3-1 after the three-game 3-4-3 experiment that twice had to be thrown away mid-match. Azpilicueta back at left back with James surprisingly fit; Pulisic also returning from a hamstring tweak. Kanté-Jorginho pivot; Rüdiger-Zouma center back pairing. Abraham, Willian of course starting. Mount as the non-luxury No.10.
- Hudson-Odoi for Pulisic, Kovačić for Mount (switch to more of a 4-3-3 look)
- Depending on other results, Chelsea’s advantage over fifth place could be back down to just 2 points after today.
- Next up: Nottingham Forest at home in the FA Cup