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Chelsea vs. Brighton result: Lukaku scores, but Seagulls net late equalizer



Despite the emphatic return of Romelu Lukaku to the starting lineup, Chelsea lost further ground to Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after conceding a stoppage-time equalizer in a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Brighton Hove & Albion.

Lukaku scored to put Chelsea in front, but the Blues were matched toe-to-toe by the visitors up and down the pitch. Eventually, substitute Danny Welbeck headed Brighton level in the 91st minute and the Seagulls earned a deserved share of the points.

The result means Chelsea now finds itself eight points behind league-leading Man City, which won its 10th straight league match. And the road doesn’t get any easier with a match against third-place Liverpool on tap for Sunday, Jan. 2.

Chelsea looked tired against Brighton, a result of all the injuries that have plagued the Blues. It only made matters worse when they lost Andreas Christensen and Reece James to injuries during the course of the 90 minutes, and by full-time, the exhaustion showed.

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Manager Thomas Tuchel pointed to the tired legs in his post-game comments, but he was also critical of the referee for not calling a penalty kick for an alleged foul suffered by American Christian Pulisic.

Brighton, spry throughout the match, performed admirably as the Seagulls sat back at the appropriate times, absorbing Chelsea pressure, while also commanding several quality spells of attacking possession. They were somewhat sloppy on the counter, but in the final third Brighton managed to trouble Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy until the late equalizer provided a deserved reward for the hard work.

It’s a familiar story for Brighton, who picked up its fourth equalizer of the league season in the 89th minute or later. It was the team’s league-leading ninth draw, bumping it up to 10th place in the standings.

Chelsea vs. Brighton final score

  1H 2H Final
Chelsea   1   0  1
Brighton   0   1  1

28th minute: Chelsea – Romelu Lukaku
91st minute: Brighton – Danny Welbeck

(All times Eastern)

Final: Chelsea 1, Brighton 1

What a finish. That was fun. Chelsea players are absolutely exhausted…Mateo Kovacic sitting on the pitch wondering what happened. Brighton was fantastic throughout, and deserved the point, although it eventually came against the run of play down the stretch as Chelsea looked like they would see it out.

Liverpool and Chelsea both pegged back by lesser sides in the last two days, and Manchester City are the big festive fixture winners. City winning away against Brentford, and extending the lead to a whopping eight points as we head into the new year.

91st min.: GOAL! Brighton! SCENES AT STAMFORD BRIDGE! Brighton is level! It’s the substitute Danny Welbeck, only on 10 minutes prior. A brilliant bit of ball movement at the top of the box from Brighton, and Welbeck rises high to meet a looped delivery into the box, putting it side-netting where Mendy has no chance. What a moment! Chelsea pegged back.

86th min.: For all Brighton’s chances throughout this match, it seems the Seagulls will have to just survive through the final stages of this match. Chelsea is building chances that Brighton’s defense is snuffing out at the last moment. Lukaku denied twice in the last few minutes.

81st min.: Yellow cards to Mason Mount and Yves Bissouma for an off-ball scuffle on the near touchline well away from the action. Replay shows they continued a 50/50 challenge after the ball had left their feet, and Bissouma was the aggressor, but no further action from VAR. It did look like there might have been more to it on Bissouma’s part, but the camera angle was wide and it’s hard to see for sure. An odd one, that.

79th min.: Now both teams looking tired. It’s getting sloppy in midfield. Mason Mount unleashes his left foot on a bobbling ball at the top of the box, but the shot is blocked for a corner. Corner comes to nothing but possession stays with the Blues.

Christian Pulisic had a spell of involvement after halftime but has gone quiet again.

74th min.: A shot for Chelsea! Chalobah heads one right at Sanchez in goal. As stated below, it’s the first save since before the half-hour mark. Can they find another to put the game away? Brighton appears to be tiring slightly and Chelsea is building pressure.

73rd min.: Veltman saves the day, clearing a Chelsea free kick off the line in front of Marcos Alonso. Cucurella then slides in at the goalmouth to clear before Mount can reach a Kante cross. Stats are fun.

66th min.: Brighton with a substitution as Enock Mwepu comes on for Lamptey, seeing Moder move back to right wing-back and Mwepu taking the midfield slot.

Chelsea replies with a substitution of its own, the last one available to Thomas Tuchel. N’Golo Kante comes on for Hudson-Odoi, taking a more advanced No. 8 role next to Mason Mount with Jorginho and Kovacic behind him. Pulisic charges forward and wins a free-kick in midfield, which temporarily relieves pressure.

60th min.: Brighton knocking on the door as we reach the hour mark, with lots of chances. Mendy comes well out of his net to snuff a chance, which requires Antonio Rudiger to make a huge block on a shot with the goalkeeper retreating back to his position. Chelsea survives again. There’s another goal in this.

57th min.: Chelsea very nearly made to pay immediately for the missed chance, but Neil Maupay fires a low cutting effort that beats Mendy but JUST misses the far post. Inches wide.

Mateo Kovacic booked for a nasty challenge in midfield. Easy decision for Mike Dean.

56th min.: Oh my. It should be 2-0, but Hudson-Odoi botched it. On a two-on-one breakaway, Hudson-Odoi went for the pass rather than the wide-open shot, and his squared layoff to Mount is cut out. Massive missed opportunity. Shoot it yourself!

52nd min.: Game beginning to stretch. Good spell of attacking pressure for Brighton with a free-kick included, but nothing comes of it. Callum Hudson-Odoi springs a counter, but Pulisic is beaten by Marc Cucurella. Back down the other end, Bissouma strikes a straight-on volley that forces another Mendy save. Brighton troubling the Chelsea attacking third enough that the Blues’ Twitter account gives it a nod.

49th min.: Christian Pulisic’s first attacking involvement of the match sees him go down in the box, and there’s no call from Mike Dean initially. Replay does show some contact, but the VAR check is complete with no further action, as it doesn’t appear the contact was enough to send Pulisic to the turf.

46th min.: We’re under way in the second half, and as we thought may happen, Andreas Christensen’s been replaced by Chalobah in central defense, with the Danish international picking up an injury earlier in the first half. Chelsea loses another player to injury, which makes two in this game and four over the last two games. It’s concerning for the Blues.

In the opening seconds, Moder nearly flicks one over the head of Mendy to bring Brighton level, but it just beats the crossbar as well.

Halftime: Chelsea 1, Brighton 0

Romelu Lukaku’s goal has Chelsea ahead somewhat comfortably, but the hosts have plenty to discuss at halftime. Antonio Rudiger has been the best Chelsea player thus far, but his daft yellow card will trouble Thomas Tuchel. The injuries are also mounting for the Blues, and it bears watching how Andreas Christensen progresses into the second half – if he’s even allowed to continue. Trevoh Chalobah was quality against Aston Villa before being sacrificed as part of a tactics switch by Tuchel, and he could be an option.

Brighton will be relatively happy with the first half overall, troubling the Chelsea goal on occasion and defending well. The midfield has been up to the task, matching Jorginho and Kovacic and building into the game as the half progressed. Still, the Seagulls trail due to a momentary switch-off after an injury break for Reece James, and it’ll be on Graham Potter to brew up a comeback at a ground the club has never scored.

As former Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie points out, having Romelu Lukaku can mask a lot of other problems.

45th min.: Into four added minutes of first-half stoppage time, the Blues are looking to shield the 1-0 lead into the break, and Brighton has made a push for a late equalizer. Mendy saves from another long-distance MacAllister shot, and then Chelsea snuffs out another half-chance.

40th min.: Rudiger now into the book for a heavy challenge on Lamptey along the touchline. He’s appealing the decision hard – he did get the ball – but it was a full-throated two-footed lunge. Clear caution. Free kick earns Brighton a corner.

Since praising him early in here, Kovacic has slowed, and Jorginho has never really been a factor in this first-half. Chelsea midfield struggling. Brighton hasn’t been able to capitalize – at least, not yet.

38th min.: Wild spell of play in the Chelsea penalty area with bodies falling all over. Yves Bissouma goes to ground in the middle of a one-two, while Jorginho goes down easily as well in the defensive effort. In the end, there’s no call either way, and Edouard Mendy is forced into a parried save to stop an Adam Lallana shot. Nothing comes of two Brighton corners.

35th min.: Antonio Rudiger, who may be off to Real Madrid at the end of the season, has been massive for Chelsea so far. The German throws himself in the line of an Alexis MacAllister shot and Brighton is still without a goal at Stamford Bridge.

Notable to mention as well that Pulisic has moved to left wingback since the Reece James injury, while substitute Marcos Alonso slots in on the right.

28th min.: GOAL! Chelsea! Romelu Lukaku is back in full force. The injury pause seems to have lulled Brighton to sleep, and with a corner swung in, Lukaku at the near post beats Neil Maupay and redirects a header across the face of goal, tucked inside the far post. Maupay is down and VAR is checking for a possible foul, but the check concludes with no change. Chelsea is in front and in charge at Stamford Bridge.

25th min.: Sanchez forced into another save. Romelu Lukaku is free down the right, and instead of cutting onto his left and having a go, he feeds Mount at an even tighter angle and his shot is no trouble for the Brighton keeper.

Now Reece James is down, and it’s not looking good there either. The Chelsea man has his arm over his eyes while receiving treatment. This time, a substitution will be necessary, and James comes off for Marcos Alonso. James is limping off and looks to be favoring his knee. He gets a nice check-in from his former youth teammate Lamptey. It may have been Lamptey who caused the injury.

21st min.: Callum Hudson-Odoi fires a cross into…er…over the penalty area. He’s been real poor so far, you have to wonder if Pulisic would do better in that role. If you’re just tuning in, you haven’t missed much.

Andreas Christensen is struggling with what appears to be a muscle injury. Chelsea is already down Thiago Silva at center back. Trevoh Chalobah is ready on the sideline and it looked like he would enter the match, but instead Christensen comes back on to give it another go.

17th min.: A big double chance for Chelsea goes begging. With the ball pinging around in the penalty area, Cesar Azpilicueta got his foot to it, but his weak effort slides through and hits the post. On the follow-up, Rudiger tried a header from a very tight angle but saw his effort parried by Robert Sanchez in goal.

15th min.: Chelsea doesn’t have much to hang its hat on here early, but Mateo Kovacic, in his first start since late October, looks to be back at 100 percent. Making runs through the Brighton midfield and delivering a few cutting passes, the Croatian will be critical to Chelsea’s midfield depth and the Blues will be happy to see he is possibly back to his best.

11th min.: The game has started quietly, and former Chelsea man Tariq Lamptey attempted to change that. The Brighton wide man cut inside against Reece James and charged laterally into the top of the penalty area, firing a shot wide left while falling down. Neither side has started terribly dangerously.

3rd min.: Brighton started with the early minute or so of possession, but Chelsea with the first attacking move as Mason Mount charged forward but took too long to feed teammate Hudson-Odoi and the chance is snuffed by Brighton’s retreating defense.

1st min.: We are underway! Reece James is at left wingback, and Pulisic at right wingback.

2:10 p.m.: Brighton has never scored at Stamford Bridge. Is that about to change today? Chelsea’s lineup sees two changes among the three center backs.

1:40 p.m.: Lineups are in! Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has deployed Christian Pulisic at wingback, with Marcos Alonso the man replaced. Brighton sees Leandro Trossard miss out, with Yves Bissouma returning from suspension.

1:00 p.m.: Brighton will be wearing Turquoise away kits today, an interesting choice up against the blue of Chelsea.

12:27 p.m.: This is the level of domination Chelsea has exercised over Brighton in the Premier League. It will be tough for Chelsea not to look past the Seagulls ahead of the matchup against Liverpool on Sunday.

Chelsea vs. Brighton lineups

The Blues have serious issues among their squad, with both N’Golo Kante (knee) and Thiago Silva (hamstring) coming off injured on Boxing Day, and the congested festive fixtures providing no opportunity to heal up. Kante made the bench, but Silva is missing altogether, with both Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr among the substitutes.

Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has yet to return from his ankle injury, while Kai Havertz is back from his bout with COVID-19, although Timo Werner is still missing.

Christian Pulisic deputized up front in the first half against Aston Villa, and was moved to wingback after halftime to make room for Lukaku. The American impressed enough in the second half to earn another out-of-position start at right wingback. Callum Hudson-Odoi plays next to Mason Mount tucked behind talisman Romelu Lukaku who returns from his injury to make the starting lineup.

Chelsea projected starting lineup (3-5-2-1): Mendy (GK) — Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta— Pulisic, Kovacic, Jorginho, James — Hudson-Odoi, Mount — Lukaku.

Chelsea subs (9):  Arrizabalaga (GK), Alonso, Chalobah, Sarr, Kante, Saul, Barkley, Havertz, Ziyech.

Brighton is still missing a number of key players, an injury list that contributed to its long winless run. Lewis Dunk is out until late January, while Jurgen Locadia is still down with COVID-19.

Joel Veltman was a game-time decision due to fatigue but he makes the starting lineup, while Shane Duffy is struggling with post-COVID-19 symptoms. Leandro Trossard, who scored the opener in the Boxing Day win, was also iffy due to a hamstring problem, and was left out altogether by manager Graham Potter.

Midfielder Yves Bissouma returns from a suspension and slides back into the starting lineup, with Potter choosing to withdraw Enock Mwepu to make room.

Brighton projected starting lineup (4-5-1) : Sanchez (GK) — Cucurella, Burn, Veltman, Lamptey — March, Moder, Lallana, Bissouma, MacAllister — Maupay.

Brighton subs (9): Steele (GK), Webster, Mwepu, Gross, Alzate, Duffy, Richards, Ferguson, Welbeck.

How to watch Chelsea vs. Brighton

  • Date: Wednesday, Dec. 29
  • Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: —None—
  • Spanish-language TV: —None—
  • Streaming:  Peacock

The match will not be televised, but it will be streamed exclusively on NBC’s streaming platform Peacock.

Chelsea-Brighton betting tip, pick & prediction

Odds courtesy of DraftKings

Lukaku would be expected to start after coming off the bench on Boxing Day, when he transformed Chelsea with his halftime introduction. He gives the team a true target to play through, and the players around him thrive. Against a Brighton team that doesn’t typically park the bus, Chelsea should get its chances.

And the Blues also have a strong history against Brighton, going 7W-0L-3D in 10 matches across all competitions. With that track record, Lukaku’s return, and an urgency not to lose further ground to Manchester City in the title race, Chelsea should not let a home win slip them here. Parlaying that likelihood with a Lukaku anytime goal is available for plus odds.

Pick: Lukaku to score & Chelsea to win (+125)

Prediction: Chelsea 2, Brighton 0

  • Moneyline: Chelsea -280 / Draw +425 / Brighton +800
  • Spread: Chelsea -1.5 (+100) / Brighton +1.5 (-115)
  • O/U 2.5 total goals:  Over -130 / Under +105
  • Both teams to score: Yes +120 / No -155

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Chelsea and Liverpool prove Premier League excitement, even if title is a foregone conclusion



LONDON — Manchester City have shown themselves to be in a league of their own, so the Premier League should be thankful that Chelsea and Liverpool are still able to keep us all entertained. Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge helped neither team and only consolidated City’s vice-like grip on the top spot, but football is about jeopardy, risk and overcoming flaws, and when it all comes together, you get an unforgettable game like this one.

Even before City moved 11 points clear at the top of table with a 2-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday, this second-versus-third clash was always a case of both sides needing to win to maintain faint hopes of catching Pep Guardiola’s winning machine. City’s win at the Emirates was their 11th successive Premier League victory and they have all been won with such monotonous ease, scoring 33 goals and conceding just seven, that every three points is now met with little more than a shrug of inevitability.

Barring an unlikely collapse in the second half of the season, City will win a fourth league title in five years and you will struggle to count on the fingers of one hand the times they have had to dig deep into their reserves to overcome adversity during that period. Guardiola has built one of the all-time great teams in English football history during his six years at the Etihad, but they may simply be too good to contribute to games like this one.

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Chelsea and Liverpool gave us such a pulsating encounter because they both have weaknesses that can be exploited by their opponents. And as a result, they both had to take risks in an attempt to secure a crucial victory.

And they also had to go into the game with unwanted distractions hovering over both clubs.

Chelsea, with three wins from their past eight in the league, were without £97.5 million striker Romelu Lukaku, dropped by coach Thomas Tuchel because of an outspoken interview about his failure to impress so far at Stamford Bridge since returning to the club from Internazionale in the summer. And Liverpool were without manager Jurgen Klopp, goalkeeper Alisson, defender Joel Matip and forward Roberto Firmino — all isolating because of COVID-19.

City, in contrast, have enjoyed a remarkably serene run of successes since losing to Crystal Palace in October, which is why they are free-rolling to another title. But the Premier League is regarded as the most exciting in world football because of games like this, and teams like Chelsea and Liverpool and the drama they create.

From the first minute, when Sadio Mane was fortunate to escape a red card for appearing to strike Cesar Azpilicueta in the face with an elbow after just 14 seconds, the game was incident-packed. Azpilicueta later said it was a “clear red card” when interviewed after the game.

Christian Pulisic, playing centrally in the absence of Lukaku, wasted a golden chance to open the scoring on seven minutes when, with only stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher to beat, he was indecisive and allowed the youngster to smother the ball. It proved a costly miss when, two minutes later, Mane took advantage of his lucky escape from a sending off by pouncing on a mistake by Trevoh Chalobah to score.

Chelsea were in disarray and Liverpool looked like the team that won the title in 2019. When Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 on 26 minutes with a stunning near-post finish after gliding past Marcos Alonso, it seemed as though Liverpool were about to give Chelsea the kind of hammering they inflicted on Manchester United during a 5-0 rout at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Liverpool were unable to score a third, though, and two Chelsea goals in the space of three minutes at the end of the first half turned the game on its head.

When Kelleher punched Alonso’s in-swinging free kick clear on 42 minutes, the keeper looked to have done well to deny the Chelsea defender. But the ball dropped the Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the penalty area and, as he was backpedaling, the midfielder somehow guided a volley beyond Kelleher and into the net. It was a spectacular display of technique by the former Real Madrid player and it gave Chelsea a foothold back into the game.

And it took them just three minutes to score the equaliser when Pulisic atoned for his earlier miss by latching onto N’Golo Kante‘s pass before beating Kelleher with a precise left-foot shot past the Republic of Ireland international. As the chaos continued on the pitch, Mason Mount almost put Chelsea 3-2 up in first-half stoppage time with a scuffed volley that bounced just wide of the post.

When a game is so eventful in the first half, it rarely delivers a second half of the same quality because of coaches plugging the holes that had led to the earlier excitement. But while the goals stopped flowing, the entertainment didn’t.

Salah forced a crucial save from Edouard Mendy with a 25-yard lob on 57 minutes and Mane was also denied by the Chelsea keeper. Kelleher, not to be outdone, then produced a stunning save to prevent Pulisic from scoring his second of the game.

In total, there were 25 chances over the 90 minutes, with both sides registering six on target. Neither could find a winner, though.

“For the outside world it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn’t get them,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said.

Even if one team had done enough to claim all three points, it’s difficult to imagine they would have been able to close the gap on City, who are destined for another title. And the challenge facing both chasing clubs only grows more daunting in the next month, with Salah (Egypt), Mendy and Mane (both Senegal) now heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

But the Premier League still knows how to excite, even if the title is already a foregone conclusion.

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Michael Scudamore has Do Your Job in mind for Doncaster | Racing News



Doncaster’s Lightning Novices’ Chase could be next on the agenda for Do Your Job following his creditable effort in defeat at Kempton over the festive period.

Runner-up to My Drogo and Belfast Banter in Grade Two and Grade One novice hurdles in the spring, Michael Scudamore’s stable star made a successful start to his chasing career at Warwick in November.

The eight-year-old fell at the eighth fence when stepped up in class for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, but bounced back to finish second to Edwardstone in the Wayward Lad last week.

With Scudamore keen to avoid a rematch with the winner, who is seemingly bound for the Kingmaker at Warwick, Do Your Job could instead bid for Grade Two honours at Doncaster on January 29.

Reflecting on his Kempton performance, the trainer said: “I was very pleased. He jumped well and travelled well and did everything right, he was just beaten by a better horse on the day.

“The main objective was a clear round really and maybe if we hadn’t fallen at Sandown we might have pressed on a bit more and made it more of a staying race.

“The most important thing was to get a clear round under his belt and get some more experience over fences for him.

“I think we’ll stick to novice races while we can and we might look to the race at Doncaster. That is what we have pencilled in at the moment, anyway.

“It would certainly be Plan A to try and avoid Edwardstone and I was very pleased to read he was going to go for the Kingmaker. Hopefully they stick to that plan!”

While Do Your Job looks set to remain in novice company on his next start, Scudamore admitted is considering a step into the handicap arena for the Grand Annual at Cheltenham – a race he won with Next Sensation in 2015.

He added: “I’m sure he’ll have an entry in that. He also ran very well at Aintree last year, so there’s that to consider as well.

“He looks like a horse that could have the right sort of profile for a Grand Annual and we’ll see nearer the time.

“In some ways it might make more sense to go for a handicap now, but as we saw at Kempton some of these novice events don’t have a lot of runners in them and there’s some decent prize-money on offer, so it seems silly to pass them over when you’ve only got one chance to run in them really.”

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Adiwang hopes to fight Saruta next



Lito Adiwang was booted out of ONE Championship strawweight rankings after coming up short against Jarred Brooks. ‘The Thunder Kid’ is already itching to step back inside the cage and hopes to fight a ranked fighter next.

Of the fighters in the ONE Championship strawweight division rankings, the 28-year-old Filipino seeks to score a date with No.2-ranked Yosuke Saruta.

“I want a big comeback. I still want a big name. I want to challenge Yosuke Saruta. Maybe if ONE allows it, and he wants it, then I’ll take it. Saruta is someone who I really want to test myself against,” said Adiwang in an interview with ONE Championship.

The 28-year-old admits it is a dangerous fight and a huge risk to take. The high-risk, high-reward scenario is something that Adiwang would like to take as he seeks to put his name back in the rankings again by beating a former champion.

“It’s a big risk for me because I’m coming off a loss, but I want a great comeback and a big name in my return so I don’t fall far off from the rankings.”

Lito Adiwang seeking for a better year in 2022 at ONE Championship

Adiwang now holds a professional record of 13-4 and has been competing in ONE Championship since October 2018. He won his first five fights before receiving his first loss against Koha Minowa via a split decision two years later.

The Benguet-based fighter had three fights in 2021. However, he also suffered his second loss in ONE Championship against Jarred Brooks.

Still in his prime, Adiwang goes back to the drawing board and seeks to polish his MMA skills in 2022.

“I have to check my mistakes inside the Circle, but I also have to check my mistakes outside the Circle. It has to be a balance. Sometimes, I forget other personal obligations and those are the things that I have to work on. I have to balance things out based on last year. I have to correct this in 2022.”

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