Chelsea receives another setback after a humbling from Manchester City over the weekend, in a 1-1 draw against a well organised Brighton team away from home in a miserable and gloom performance. Chelsea needed to respond with a positive result and performance if they were to show hope of regaining form after 1 win in their last 6 Premier League games but instead extended their run to 1 win in the last 7 Premier League matches.
The first half was lacklustre to say the least with Chelsea being very fortunate to have ended the half 1-0 up after a goal from Ziyech that came completely against the run of play. The goal scorer himself, Ziyech, had a poor game despite the goal with body language that does not inspire confidence in his attitude towards the manager. When the players were going down the tunnel there was visible frustration between Ziyech and Lukaku who struggled to link up with each other in the first half and for the rest of the game.
Chelsea did not improve in the second half, unlike Brighton who were able to find an equalizer through Adam Webster after scoring from a rare instance where Chelsea were 2nd best from a corner. The rest of the second half played out where Brighton was able to comfortably defend against a slumped Chelsea side while creating a few dangerous chances of their own.
The main critique of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side is how inefficient they are in front of goal with this game being yet another example of their weaknesses going forward. In an attempt to fix this problem, Tuchel played a 4-2-2-2 that had previously been successful against Spurs in the Carabao Cup however this formation also proved to have no positive influence on Chelsea’s attack as they were only able to get 3 shots on target, which in all fairness was a significant improvement from their 1 shot on target against Man City. On the other hand, while it is a fair criticism of Tuchel that his system can sometimes stifle Chelsea’s frontline, the personnel must also improve with Chelsea having a healthy 15 shots against Brighton but only 3 of those shots going on target.
The impact of this result now puts Chelsea in a troubling position in the league as rivals such as Arsenal can go level after games in hand and Spurs can even go above Chelsea if they win their games in hand. From now on every game for Chelsea is a must win if they want to avoid the annual top 4 battle that they have put themselves in since the 16/17 season.
The media will also use this extended poor form to put pressure on Chelsea, in particular Thomas Tuchel. If the club want to pull themselves out of this situation, they must back the manager with at least one wingback after both of Chelsea’s starting wingbacks, Chilwell and James, have been made unavailable through injury. With at the time of writing this, 20 days gone in January and little to no progress made on a signing to help Tuchel, the board must be questioned on what they have been doing during a window that can salvage this season.