Match report and free highlights as Danny Welbeck’s dramatic equalizer secures a 1-1 draw for Brighton against Chelsea; Romelu Lukaku put the Blues in front at Stamford Bridge but the draw dents their hopes of catching leaders Manchester City.
Brighton inflicted a major blow on Chelsea’s Premier League title hopes as substitute Danny Welbeck’s stoppage-time header secured a 1-1 draw for the Seagulls in a pulsating encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea was on the brink of victory having survived a barrage of Brighton pressure following Romelu Lukaku’s first-half opener (26), but Welbeck’s dramatic leveler, nodded in from Marc Cucurella’s cross (90+1), left them stunned and secured a deserved point for Graham Potter’s side.
The result is a major setback for Chelsea, who were below their best and now sit eight points behind leaders Manchester City has only won one of their last four Premier League games.
It appeared they had weathered the storm after N’Golo Kante’s introduction from the bench midway through the second half helped to tilt the momentum in their favor following a lengthy period of Brighton dominance during which they created a series of chances.
But Thomas Tuchel’s side, who also lost Reece James and Andreas Christensen to hamstring and back injuries respectively, missed several opportunities to extend their lead in the closing stages before Welbeck’s towering header prompted wild Brighton celebrations, handing a major boost to Manchester City and placing added emphasis on Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool, live on Sky Sports on Sunday.
Chelsea: Mendy (7), James (6), Rudiger (7), Christensen (6), Azpilicueta (6), Jorginho (6), Kovacic (6), Mount (7), Pulisic (6), Hudson-Odoi (5), Lukaku (7).
Subs: Chalobah (6), Alonso (6), Kante (7).
Brighton: Sanchez (6), Lamptey (8), Veltman (8), Burn (7), Cucurella (8), Bissouma (8), Lallana (7), Moder (7), Mac Allister (7), March (7), Maupay (7).
Subs: Welbeck (7), Mwepu (6), Alzate (6).
Man of the match: Yves Bissouma
How Brighton stunned Chelsea
Chelsea was boosted by Lukaku’s return to the starting line-up for the first time in the Premier League since October but, with Marcos Alonso benched and Ben Chilwell out for the season, there was also the more unfamiliar sight of James lining up at left wing-back, with Christian Pulisic filling in on the right.
The 22-year-old endured some uncomfortable moments up against his former Chelsea team-mate Tariq Lamptey, who had an early penalty appeal turned down, then cut inside James and fired a left-footed shot a few yards wide.
- Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel made four changes from the 3-1 win over Aston Villa, with Romelu Lukaku coming into the starting line-up. Also, along with Mateo Kovacic, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta.
- Leandro Trossard missed out for Brighton as Graham Potter brought Solly March, Joel Veltman and Yves Bissouma back into his team.