Chelsea started the game on the back foot and were never really able to establish ourselves in the first half, distinctly second best in just about every area of the pitch and phase of the game.
Repeated giveaways in our defensive third also didn’t help, and only some incredibly wasteful finishing from João Pedro and Ansu Fati prevented the game from getting well out of hand in the opening 45. That luck held as Ugochukwu got away with a yellow card-worthy tackle just a minute after collecting his first for another mistimed challenge.
Things didn’t change much at the start of the second half, with Brighton pouring on the pressure, but then the high press from Chelsea generated a chance and this time we actually finished it very nicely: Cole Palmer serving it up on a plate for Jackson with a nutmeg pass.
Chelsea’s newfound confidence led to a bit more of an even contest, and Jackson had a second goal (with a second Palmer assist), only to be ruled out by a (probably) erroneous offside flag. Alas, no VAR in this game — though VAR probably would’ve sent off Ugochukwu earlier so...
Brighton looked for an equalizer, but Chelsea’s defense held on and Sánchez made a couple crucial stops, making up for his earlier errors in distribution ... even as we finished the game with 10 men once again, with Chilwell going off injured in added-on time.
- Cucurella on the right side of the back-three was very surprising, but he did well enough to contain Mitoma, outside of a couple opportunities
- Chilwell and Maatsen the two wing-backs. Gallagher then wide right after replacing Maatsen (Ugochukwu, Caicedo, Enzo all on for the final 15).
- Hopefully Jackson’s wrist injury nothing serious. Same goes for Chilwell’s knock which left us with 10 men at the end having used up all of our substitution windows. Gallagher at right back for the final few minutes, Cucurella at left.
- The draw for the fourth round will follow shortly
- Next up: Fulham away on ... Monday night