Chelsea could only draw 0-0 at home to relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion, as Graham Potter’s strugglers made their point against the backdrop of the controversial European Super League crumbling just 48 hours after it was announced.
The build-up to Tuesday’s game was completely overshadowed by off-field events, with protesting Chelsea fans blocking the Blues’ team bus from getting to Stamford Bridge – resulting in a 15-minute kick-off delay – before reports began to emerge of owner Roman Abramovich instigating a Super League U-turn.
With the players perhaps affected by a turbulent couple of days, the on-pitch action throughout the match certainly did not match up to the boardroom drama that has consumed the world of football since Sunday.
Goal-mouth entertainment was at a premium for much of the game as Super League’s meltdown ramped up in the background, and by the end Chelsea were fortunate to even hang on to a point as Brighton finished well before having Ben White sent off in stoppage time.
Great point on the pitch, and seemingly good news off it.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) April 20, 2021
Chelsea’s first-half performance showed little evidence of the world-leading quality their Super League association suggested, with clear-cut chances something of a rarity.
Their only genuine opportunity came in the 20th minute as Robert Sanchez made a point-blank save from Hakim Ziyech after a Adam Webster error in a dangerous area.
The match remained at largely monotonous pace for much of the next hour until Brighton seemed to spark the game into life near the end.
First, with 78 minutes on the clock, substitute Adam Lallana shot agonisingly wide from 20 yards, and soon after Danny Welbeck struck the right-hand post with a deflected effort from a similar distance.
Brighton’s chances took a major blow in stoppage time as Ben White earned his marching orders for a second booking when catching Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Although Chelsea could not steal a late win, the point takes them up to fourth in the Premier League – not that it will be anyone’s focus after the fact.