Danny Welbeck scored in stoppage time as Brighton and Hove Albion deservedly claimed a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Romelu Lukaku followed up his first Premier League goal since September in Sunday’s 3-1 win at Aston Villa and looked like he would help his side to a second consecutive top-flight win with a fine header shortly before the half-hour mark.
Brighton carved out a host of opportunities in the second period and sealed the point their enterprising display deserved in added time when substitute Welbeck headed past Edouard Mendy.
That goal meant Chelsea moved into second above Liverpool but only by a point, while Brighton went up a place to 10th.
11 – Chelsea have dropped 11 points from leading positions in the Premier League this season – more than they did in the whole of last season (10). Slip. #CHEBHA
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 29, 2021
Robert Sanchez diverted Cesar Azpilicueta’s effort onto the post after a scramble from a corner in the 17th minute, before the Brighton goalkeeper kept out Mason Mount’s strike from a tight angle.
The Blues went ahead in the 28th minute when Lukaku headed home Mount’s corner from six yards, the goal given despite the Belgium international appearing to strike Neal Maupay in the face as he attempted to find space in the area.
Mendy then kept out powerful drives from Adam Lallana and Alexis Mac Allister as the Seagulls ultimately fell short of restoring parity before the interval.
Brighton picked up where they left off at the start of the second period, Yves Bissouma testing Mendy from distance and Maupay dragging an effort just wide.
Just as it looked like they would leave west London empty-handed, Welbeck popped up to head home Marc Cucurella’s left-wing cross to send the visiting supporters into raptures.
What does it mean? Seagulls put on another late show
Given they carved out 18 shots to Chelsea’s 11, Brighton will feel the very least they deserved was a point.
Welbeck’s late intervention means the Seagulls have now won more points thanks to goals secured in or after the 90th minute than any other side in the Premier League this season.
Mount shines again
Mount was one of few bright spots in a disjointed Chelsea display. His corner for Lukaku’s goal means he has been directly involved in 12 Premier League goals this season (seven goals, five assists) – the most of any English player. It is also his joint-highest tally in a single campaign in the competition (also 12 in 2019-20).
Hudson-Odoi’s wastefulness punished
Callum Hudson-Odoi squandered a golden opportunity to double his side’s advantage early in the second half, inexplicably hitting Joel Veltman with only Mount to find at the end of a swift counter-attacking move – profligacy that looked even worse come the full-time whistle.
Key Opta Facts
– Chelsea remain unbeaten against Brighton in the Premier League (P9 W6 D3); only against Portsmouth (14) and Hull City (10) have the Blues played more games in the competition without losing.
– Brighton have only lost one of their nine away Premier League games this season (W2 D6); no team have lost fewer on the road in 2021-22.
– Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku has scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since March 2019, when netting back-to-back braces for Manchester United.
– Danny Welbeck scored his second Premier League goal against Chelsea, 11 years and 45 days since netting on his first appearance against them in the competition in November 2010. Only Peter Crouch (11 years, 210 days) has had a longer gap between Premier League goals against the Blues.
– Cesar Azpilicueta became the fourth player to start 300 Premier League games for Chelsea (John Terry 473, Frank Lampard 404 and Petr Cech 332), and just the second Spaniard to start as many matches in the competition for all clubs, after David de Gea (356).
Both sides are scheduled to be in action on Sunday, with Chelsea hosting Liverpool in a mouth-watering clash and Brighton travelling to Everton.
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