Chelsea and Nottingham Forest shared the points on Saturday afternoon with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.
Braces from Raheem Sterling and Taiwo Awoniyi ensured that the points were shared between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon, with Nottingham Forest still fighting for Premier League survival.
Nottingham Forest started the game brightly and threatened Chelsea with an early Felipe header which flew wide of the goal.
Forest took the lead with their next attempt in the 13th minute, through striker Taiwo Awoniyi. Renan Lodi whipped in a looping cross from the left , with Awoniyi beating a flapping Edouard Mendy to the ball, directing his header beyond the hapless goalkeeper to put Forest ahead at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea dominated possession after falling behind, but struggled to muster up any meaningful chances, with Joao Felix’s tame header at Keylor Navas the pick of the Blues chances before the break.
Nottingham Forest should have doubled their lead at the start of the second half, only for Moussa Niakhate to stab wide from point blank range.
This allowed a lifeline for Chelsea who levelled in the 51st minute through Raheem Sterling. Some good build up play from the Blues set Trevoh Chalobah free down the right, with his cutback met by Sterling, who stroked home from the middle of the box.
Chelsea were buoyed by their equaliser and tested Forest’s goal through Conor Gallagher and Joao Felix, before Sterling put the Blues in front in the 58th minute. Ruben Loftus-Cheek drove through the middle of the pitch, before laying the ball off to Sterling, who cut inside and curled the ball past Navas into the far corner.
Chelsea could not celebrate being in front for long, with Forest equalising four minutes later. Chelsea could only clear a long throw as far as Orel Mangala, who lobbed the ball back into the box and onto the head of Awoniyi who nabbed his second goal of the game.
Chelsea pushed hard for a winner in the closing stages, but neither side could find a decisive third goal, as the points were shared at Stamford Bridge.
Here are five things Absolute Chelsea learned from Saturday’s draw in the capital.
1) Still Struggling for wins
After the victory against Bournemouth last weekend, Chelsea fans could breathe a sigh of relief that they were mathematically safe. But failing to beat a struggling Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge will have sharply brought the Blues back down to reality, as to where the club is presently. Chelsea dominated the ball throughout, but Forest never felt out of the game, showing the general level Frank Lampard’s side are competing at currently. Chelsea will have to improve in all areas, goal scoring, defending and game management next season, if they are to get out of the points rut they still find themselves in.
2) Chelsea lack a focal point
Taiwo Awoniyi’s goals highlighted exactly what Chelsea were missing against Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon – a focal point. Both balls into the box were fairly hopeful, but Awoniyi used his size and instinct to pounce and score goals for his side that no Chelsea player could have. Raheem Sterling was able to show his prowess in front of goal, but the Blues always looked short of numbers in the box, delivering many crosses that failed to trouble Nottingham Forest’s defenders. If they had a player with Awoniyi’s presence in attack, it would allow the likes of Sterling and co to flourish on a more consistent basis and give the Blues a more clinical edge.
3) Mendy struggles
With many Chelsea supporters questioning the form of Kepa Arrizabalaga over recent weeks, Edouard Mendy failed to stake his claim as the Blues number keeper with his performance against Nottingham Forest. Mendy was largely at fault for Forest’s first goal, attempting to claim a ball he was never going to reach, allowing Awoniyi to head home with relative ease. Although Mendy did not make many other glaring errors, he struggled to deal with Forest’s aerial threat, which Kepa has been criticised for previously. It does not seem to matter who the Blues have in goal at present, they are still leaky at the back.
4) Raheem Sterling shows his pedigree
Raheem Sterling has had a mixed start to his Chelsea career. Hampered by injuries, and ever-changing managers, Sterling has struggled to live up to his Manchester City form on a regular basis. However, Sterling came to life against Forest, especially in the second half. Both goals were vintage, one poached in the middle of the box from a cross, the other curled into the far corner from the left. Sterling has always had obvious goal scoring qualities, but he also played important roles in some of Chelsea’s more dangerous moves, showing he may have a growing understanding with his teammates. Chelsea fans will hope Sterling can show this form on a more consistent basis next season, when the side will hopefully be more settled.
5) Trevoh Chalobah staking a claim
In the absence of Reece James, many expected club captain Cesar Azpilicueta to fill in at right back for the remainder of the season, but Trevoh Chalobah has seemingly ousted the veteran Spaniard. Chalobah, who is naturally a centre back, has acquitted himself seamlessly as right back in recent games, showcasing his versatile skill-set which makes him such a useful player in this Chelsea squad. Chalobah showed attacking prowess against Forest, displaying good composure to set up Sterling’s equaliser, as well as an effective engine to get up and down the pitch. Able to play at centre back, right back and defensive midfield effectively, Chalobah is making a strong case to stay at Chelsea for next season.
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5 Things Learned: Chelsea 3-2 Brighton & Hove Albion | Premier League
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