Chelsea’s Premier League dismal record extended to four matches on Tuesday, as a 1-1 draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion further harmed their modest championship aspirations.
Hakim Ziyech’s opportunist score against the run of play gave Thomas Tuchel’s team the lead in the 28th minute, but they lacked energy and had no reason to complain.
A pleasing appearance Brighton were rewarded for their efforts on the hour as Adam Webster thundered a header past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea had control late on but was unable to force a winner as Brighton fought hard to earn a point.
Chelsea, who were championship contenders only a few weeks ago, have picked up just three points from their last 12 available and remain in the third position with 44 points, 12 points behind leaders Manchester City, who have played one more game.
They are also one point behind Liverpool despite having played two more games, and unless they quickly regain their winning ways, their top-four status might be jeopardized.
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Ninth-placed Brighton has drawn 11 games this season, and Webster expressed disappointment at failing to secure all three points against the European champions.
Despite their early brilliance, Brighton failed to hit a decisive blow and was surprised when Ziyech took aim from 25 yards and rifled a low shot that keeper Robert Sanchez might have done better with.
Brighton opened the second half on the front foot, and Pascal Gross put Danny Welbeck in, but the striker misjudged his angles and fired wide.
Alexis Mac Allister was picked out by the energetic Marc Cucurella just before the hour mark, but his deflected attempt was clawed away by Arrizabalaga.
Webster thundered a header into the goal from the subsequent corner after finding space in the area.
Romelu Lukaku, who was chastised by Tuchel after Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Manchester City at the weekend, had an opportunity to restore Chelsea’s lead following a beautiful lobbed ball by Antonio Rudiger but was unable to beat Sanchez, and the Belgian was replaced shortly afterwards.
Tuchel introduced Kai Havertz and Timo Werner off the bench in an attempt to reshape his front line, and Brighton clung on in the closing stages, although a Chelsea victory would have been unjustified after another dismal performance.