Danny Welbeck came off the bench to score a last-minute equaliser to snatch a deserved draw for Brighton as Chelsea threw away two precious points at Stamford Bridge.
Romelu Lukaku marked his first Premier League start since October with an early goal, shrugging off Neal Maupay to head home and put Chelsea ahead, which eased the blow as Reece James hobbled off injured just minutes before.
But after that, it was Brighton that turned up the heat as the Seagulls pressed the hosts for the entirety of the second half.
Chelsea soaked up the pressure though and found a second wind, but despite multiple efforts from both sides, it was Brighton who came away celebrating.
Welbeck, only on the pitch for a matter of minutes, headed home in the 92nd minute to snatch a point for Graham Potter’s side.
The goal denied Chelsea the chance to leapfrog Liverpool into second to keep chase with Manchester City as their title challenge took a dent.
Here Mirror Football brings you five talking points from Wednesday’s clash at Stamford Bridge…
Seagulls swoop to snatch what they deserve
Brighton left Stamford Bridge with a well deserved point as they stunned Chelsea with minutes to go, handing City another boost in their Premier League title defence.
Welbeck headed Brighton level leaving Chelsea to rue their missed opportunities, but a draw was probably the least that the visitors deserved after a sensational second half.
Mendy was tested throughout the course of the second half as Chelsea struggled to deal with the Brighton pressure, and just when they thought they’d survived a flurry of scares, Welbeck landed a devastating blow.
Chelsea got what they deserved on what turned out to be another disappointing night for Tuchel’s side.
Lukaku starts, Lukaku scores
Lukaku made his first Premier League start since October and fired Chelsea ahead with a thumping header, and was a nuisance for Brighton throughout the course of the game.
The Belgian scored off the bench against Aston Villa before winning a late penalty to wrap up the points last time out, but his influence from the start against the visitors was too much to handle.
The Brighton defence couldn’t deal with Lukaku who’s hold-up play is almost impossible to play against at times, and even Maupay couldn’t stop the Belgian from scoring, despite his best efforts to grab him by the waist.
Lukaku’s presence up top is vital for Tuchel’s side, and if they can continue to keep him fit, they’ll be in the best position to attempt to catch City who are starting to run away with it at the top of the Premier League.
James adds to injury woes
Chelsea were handed yet another injury blow, as Reece James hobbled off after 25 minutes to be replaced by Marcus Alonso.
James originally started the game in the left wing-back position with Christian Pulisic occupying his usual slot on the right, but it appears that Tuchel must now go back to the drawing board as he looks to replace both roles.
Until James picked up the injury he already appeared out of his depth, and Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey gave him a run for his money as the Chelsea star looked nervous cutting in on his right.
But depending on the extent of the injury, Tuchel must now decide who to field on either flank against Liverpool, which is just three-days away.
Rudiger lucky to escape red?
AFP via Getty Images)
After James hobbled off the field midway through the first half, the last thing that Tuchel needed was to lose another defender, but Antonio Rudiger could’ve easily been sent off for a challenge on Lamptey.
Tensions were already running high as Lamptey, a former Chelsea academy star, was finding a lot of success down the right wing, and Rudiger produced a challenge to just humble the Brighton star slightly.
However, it was rash, and mistimed, and after the likes of Granit Xhaka and Harry Kane escaped a red card for challenges of a similar nature, Rudiger became the next star to cause controversy.
Rudiger was brandished a yellow card for his tackle, but as former referee Mark Clattenberg confirmed, it was certainly on the borderline of being a straight red.
Hudson-Odoi still needs work
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Callum Hudson-Odoi is enjoying his best run in Chelsea’s starting line-up for some time, and the 21-year-old is on the verge of becoming a superstar.
The winger has the speed, the agility and the movement, but is just lacking that end product that would take his game to the next level.
Brighton were knocking on the door and Hudson-Odoi could have eased the waves of attack from the opposition with a second goal, but the winger was caught in two minds and squandered a golden chance, and it wasn’t for the first time in the match.
Hudson-Odoi’s indecisiveness continues to hold him back, and he was taken off prematurely as a result of his performance, and Ngolo Kante came on with his side under constant pressure.