Chelsea vs Brighton: Three lessons learnt in another disappointing draw

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea celebrates after scoring 1st goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on December 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea celebrates after scoring 1st goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on December 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) /

It was another disappointing result for Chelsea with more injuries and poor performances all around. The Blues were never in control of the game against Brighton on Wednesday evening, even after the team took the lead in the first half. Furthermore, Thomas Tuchel was forced to make two substitutions due to injury, which only adds frustration and worries for upcoming games. The Seagulls’ late equalizer was the final nail in the coffin as the hosts all but dropped out of the title race for the season following an embarrassing December showing.

Here are three lessons we learnt in Chelsea’s disappointing draw versus Brighton:

1. Chelsea must go all out in the transfer window

After all the injuries suffered by the team, Chelsea should go all out and spend big in the January transfer window. After the news of Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva’s recent injuries, the squad was left paper thin. Furthermore, against Brighton, Reece James and Andreas Christensen suffered injuries which forced them out of the match. With that said, Chelsea is left with no other option but to shuffle whatever is left of the pack—regardless of how exhausted they are right now. There is also the case of N’Golo Kante, who keeps getting rushed back into games because Chelsea cannot control the midfield. This, in turn, prevents a full recovery, or worse, injures him more.

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Seeing as the Blues cannot find answers from within at the moment, the transfer window is the only solution. The main concern of going on a shopping spree is “what will happen once the full squad is available?” However, Chelsea has problems now and they need to be addressed in order to salvage the season. At the very least, a centerback and left wingback are a must. For example, on Wednesday, Christian Pulisic played a decent game in the right wingback position as James was forced over to the left. This formula isn’t sustainable, and it is a waste of both players’ capabilities. Pulisic did well covering spaces and maintaining possession, but too often he had to restrain himself from attacking in fear of leaving space open. Chelsea needs a player to cover the wide defensive position on a long-term basis, even if James’ injury isn’t serious, as Marcos Alonso looks spent, Cesar Azpilicueta isn’t getting any younger and Chilwell is out for the season.

Ultimately, the Blues will need to spend more than expected if they want to succeed this season. However, given the poor performances and the overwhelming number of injuries, Chelsea must not hold back in the January transfer window.

2. Luk who’s back again

This feeling never gets old, and why should it? Although dropping points was disappointing, seeing Romelu Lukaku score always warms the heart. Lukaku made the difference in the attack once again, plain and simple. While he could have used more help, the Belgium international scored a deserved goal. More importantly, he played to hold defenders and create spaces for his teammates. The Brighton defense did a good job at restraining Lukaku, but he managed to turn players around, open space for himself and others, and look for openings.

Although it is clear he is still missing sharpness on the ball, this is a right step forward. The Blues missed his presence in the attack and he will be of great use in the coming matches against the Premier League’s finest. Now, it up to Tuchel to use other players to create more chances for the striker or be around to capitalize on his hard work on the ball.

3. It’s time to change formations

Playing with a formation that relies on wingbacks has its benefits, until it turns into a liability. Although Brighton failed to pose any great threat going forward, the Seagulls still eventually scored. At times, Brighton got into good positions but failed to convert, largely nearly capitalizing on the hosts mistakes. Would that have been any other team, the score would have been much different as Graham Potter’s men were on the front foot for most of the match.

Chelsea faces too many injuries and has little support to sustain the intensity of the current formation. More importantly, it feels like every team in the Premier League has deciphered the Blues’ weaknesses in the 3-4-3. No matter the changes or the players, Chelsea keeps conceding goals. This is not because the team is not organized; nor is it because the players are committing unwarranted mistakes. It’s rather because other teams have realized what areas to exploit and when to do it. Therefore, considering the upcoming fixtures, Tuchel should take a more conservative approach to the game. For example, a 4-2-3-1, where the creative players could be use and rotated freely and the striker remains the target-man. All the while, keeping a good defensive shape. If Tuchel would have changed to this formation against Brighton, perhaps Chelsea could have kept the three points.

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What are some of the lessons you learnt? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!