Kepa Arrizabalaga, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger were the only positives as Chelsea played out a goalless draw with Brighton on Tuesday.
On a night that spelt the end of European Super League, even if temporarily so, the start of the game was postponed by 15 minutes, as scores of Chelsea fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge to protest against the highly controversial tournament. After Petr Cech pacified the fans in person, news of Chelsea planning to pull out started to filter in.
As for the events on the pitch, Thomas Tuchel’s prediction of his players likely being distracted did turn out to be true, as they struggled to carve open the Brighton defence. Chelsea did create a couple of half-chances, but none that were enough to trouble Robert Sanchez.
As the game progressed, it was Brighton who fashioned the better openings and even came close to scoring twice, only to be thwarted in the end. As full-time approached, Ben White was shown a red card for a second bookable offence, but Chelsea did not have enough time to capitalise on their numerical advantage. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Tuchel’s charges.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 7/10
A surprise selection in goal saw Kepa start ahead of Edouard Mendy. The Spaniard, though, justified his inclusion late on by making a fine save to deny Adam Lallana. Another clean sheet, but more importantly, he seems to be growing in confidence at the end of a display that saw him being more vocal in the Chelsea box.
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
Back in the starting lineup after recovering from a minor injury, Christensen continued with his no-nonsense style of defending, which meant that he was never really troubled. Won 5 duels while also completing 2 interceptions while not fearing stepping into the midfield to link up with those in front of him. A solid effort.
Kurt Zouma: 6/10
With Andreas Christensen in the side, it was surprising to see Zouma at the heart of Chelsea’s back-three. The Frenchman, though, built up play smartly from the back, completing a staggering 117 passes. Also made 4 clearances, largely remaining solid against Danny Welbeck’s threat. However, he did lose the ball to give away a chance to Brighton late on, one he came through unscathed from.
Antonio Rudiger: 7/10
Another game, another performance that showed just how far Rudiger has come under the tutelage of Thomas Tuchel. The German international was extremely efficient while recycling possession, misplacing just 5 of his 105 attempted passes. Most importantly, in the defensive phase, he kept a check on Leandro Trossard smartly, negating his influence completely.
Reece James: 6/10
The better of the two Chelsea wing-backs, although that does not say much. Against Brighton, James was well off his best as he failed to find the target with his crosses while managing just 1 key pass. Did complete 92 percent of his passes, but they were more of low risk efforts than ones that could slice open the Brighton defence.
The man who saw the ball more often than anyone else in midfield, Jorginho did well enough to utilise it with precision. Misplaced just 3 of the 87 passes he attempted while also putting in a shift in the defensive phases, winning 7 duels while completing 4 interceptions and 3 tackles. That being said, he nearly gave away a goal, only for Danny Welbeck to smash the woodwork after pouncing on his error.
Mason Mount: 5/10
Deployed in a deeper role in midfield than the one he usually essays, Mount struggled to provide the creative spark that was needed to galvanize the Chelsea front-men. The English international, in fact, managed just 1 key pass and lost possession 16 times. Worked hard off the ball, however, and won 4 duels.
Marcos Alonso: 5/10
Starting ahead of Ben Chilwell, this was the perfect game for Alonso to make his mark, seeing as Brighton were happy to defend in numbers. However, he hardly sent in a cross into the box, let alone have any quality on it. No use of being an outlet in the final third if it is not backed by the right end product.
Hakim Ziyech: 5/10
Ziyech has been really passive off-the-ball today. Needs to do a lot more to make himself available to receive the ball.
— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) April 20, 2021
Coming into the match on the back of a match-winning display in the FA Cup, Ziyech would have hoped to push on and become more consistent in the final third for Chelsea. However, the Morocco international left a lot to be desired with his final product, losing possession 14 times without really being creative enough to justify such a number. Rightly taken off late on.
Kai Havertz: 5/10
Back in the starting lineup to lead the line for Chelsea, Havertz was rendered isolated for large parts of the proceedings thanks to some superb defending by Brighton. That being said, he did have a decent enough chance falling for him, one that he failed to convert. Other than that one moment, he hardly had any quality service coming his way.
Christian Pulisic: 5/10
Part of the Chelsea attacking trio that lacked the cutting edge in the final third, Pulisic was marginally better than Havertz and Ziyech, but not nearly enough to make a difference. Did see a lot of the ball and misplaced only 7 passes, but he was unable to create a chance or come close to scoring. An opportunity missed, although Tuchel is unlikely to be too harsh on him.
Timo Werner: 5/10
Sent on in place of Havertz, Werner continued pretty much from where his compatriot had left off, by being largely anonymous for the final 20 minutes or so.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 6/10
On for Alonso, Hudson-Odoi was a bundle of energy in the final quarter of the game and even set up a chance for Olivier Giroud, only for it to be directed wide of target. Completed each of his 12 attempted passes, though.
Olivier Giroud: N/A
On for Ziyech, Giroud hardly got a touch on the ball, with Brighton in the ascendancy late on, though he did get a chance coming his way, the effort from which he directed wide.