Chances were few as all the action happened before the opening kick of Chelsea and Brighton’s scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Fans congregated outside celebrated wildly as reports surfaced of the club’s possible exit from the much-maligned European Super League, a process later started by fellow Premier League side Manchester City.
Chelsea’s 55th point does move it ahead of fifth-place West Ham on goal differential but fails to send the Blues past third-place Leicester City, which has 56 points.
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Ben White was sent off in the second minute of stoppage time for his chop down of Callum Hudson-Odoi, a second yellow but perhaps a point-saving one as Brighton heads to Sheffield United at the weekend.
Robert Sanchez made four saves for the Seagulls, who move seven points clear of 18th-place Fulham with a match-in-hand.
Three things we learned from Chelsea – Brighton
1. Tired Chelsea cannot conjure goal: Perhaps weary from an exhausting effort to eliminate Man City from the FA Cup, Chelsea was without vigor and sharpness. Kai Havertz had a chance and Christian Pulisic was lively when the ball found him, but Chelsea didn’t supply good service to its front three despite
2. Brighton’s late bright play comes up short: Chelsea got some help from Brighton in beginning to find threat over the final 15 minutes of the match. A terrible giveaway from Chelsea centerback Kurt Zouma provided Adam Lallana with a chance to take three huge points at Stamford Bridge, a ground at which the club has never scored. Danny Welbeck then smashed a ball off the bar and saw his left-footed bid blocked before Kepa Arrizabalaga stopped Lallana.
3. Seagulls show cagey nature: Well-regarded for their free-flowing football, Brighton showed terrific resolve at the back in snaring a point against their top-four chasing hosts. White’s
Man of the Match: Yves Bissouma
This could’ve been a lot of players — any of Chelsea’s back three, Pulisic, Ben White pre-red card, Sanchez — but Bissouma remains the player who allows Brighton to be fearless going forward. Two interceptions, three tackles, barely a pass put askew, and 7-of-10 success in duels.
Chelsea – Brighton recap
It was one-way traffic early, with Christian Pulisic chopping a dangerous 17th-minute chance nowhere near the goal and Kai Havertz stopped by Robert Sanchez point-blank in the 21st minute.
Brighton gets a rare chance as halftime approaches, Jorginho just getting a piece of a Yves Bissouma shot to concede a corner
And while Chelsea was decidedly better and had hold of the ball, Brighton did not back down.
In fact, the Seagulls found their footing in the game with about 20 minutes to go in London. Adam Lallana had a big miss and another shot saved, while Danny Welbeck smashed the crossbar and saw his bid at the rebound blocked by a Brighton back.