Frank Lampard’s Blues showed that they haven’t recovered from their peaks and valleys as they dropped vital points at the south coast. After a cracking end to 2019 with a 2-1 derby win at Arsenal, Chelsea were expected to come away with all three points given their away form this season. But the team showed no signs of consistency as their slender lead was matched by a wonder goal from Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
Starting a 4-2-3-1 with Christian Pulisic back from injury, both teams had some good chances early on. However, it was the visitors who took the lead courtesy of the Captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who captained the side for the 100th time. Kurt Zouma headed Willian’s corner towards Tammy Abraham whose shot was cleared off the line by Aaron Mooy only to fall to Azpilicueta who tapped it in to get his 3rd goal in his last 11 appearances.
The Blues dominated most of the first half with very little to show from the home side. They did get some chances to shoot when Zouma walked away from Neal Maupay who had the ball near the penalty area, bringing trouble to his side. Kepa did well to parry Leandro Trossard’s shot away and Montoya sent it flying into the stands. There were quite a few occasions where bad decisions by individuals led to fewer chances created which ultimately resulted in no goals being scored.
Chelsea had an early chance in the second half with Mount hesitant to shoot and when N’golo Kante finally did it went straight to the hands of Matt Ryan. At the other end of the pitch, Brighton started to play finally when Aaron Connolly’ neat footwork in the box gave him space to put the ball at the back of the net but a wonderful save from Kepa kept Chelsea’s lead intact.
But that didn’t last long as Chelsea conceded another goal from a set-piece this season when Alireza Jahanbakhsh channeled his inner Cristiano Ronaldo to score a goal from an overhead kick, only the second of his Brighton career, to give the Seagulls a deserved equaliser.
Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot after some Chelsea pressure up the field went narrowly over the Brighton goal which only points out the wastefulness of the team this season. Soon afterwards, Neal Maupay left unmarked in the penalty area took a free shot at goal but Chelsea’s blushes were saved thanks to Kepa who outstretched his left leg to block the shot.
The visitors were fortunate enough to come way with a point thanks to Kepa Arrizabalaga who made two crucial saves. Chelsea keep showing time and again that they are still a work in progress but Lampard needs to sort out this mess soon before they drop more points that puts their top 4 spot in jeopardy. Munich awaits in February and if there isn’t a significant growth by then Bayern will punish.
Next up for the Blues is the FA Cup 3rd round fixture against Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge.