Winning the Premier League title is looking more unlikely for Chelsea each passing week as their winless run stretched to four games with their 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.
European champions Chelsea soon might have to start looking over their shoulder in the race for Champions League qualification.
The Blues’ winless run in the league was extended after Brighton defender Adam Webster’s powerful header from a corner in the 60th minute cancelled out the opening goal of the game by Hakim Ziyech in the 29th.
Brighton also came from behind to draw 1-1 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge three weeks ago.
Chelsea stayed in third place and are 12 points behind leader Manchester City, having played one game more.
Given the form of City, who have won their past 12 games — most recently against Chelsea on Saturday — the champions will take some stopping in the quest to defend their title.
The teams behind Chelsea might be getting renewed hope.
Such as fifth-place Arsenal, who are nine points behind their London rivals with three games in hand.
Or another London club in Tottenham, who are in sixth place and 11 points behind Chelsea but now have played five games fewer than Thomas Tuchel’s side.
An 11th draw in 21 matches this season has Brighton sitting ninth.
Just like in the reverse fixture last month, Brighton caused Chelsea problems with their intricate passing in midfield but again lacked a cutting edge with Danny Welbeck playing as the lone striker.
Ziyech’s goal came from Chelsea’s first shot on target and goalkeeper Robert Sanchez was slow to get down to a low effort from just outside the area that crept inside the post, having maybe taken a slight deflection off the knee of Alexis Mac Allister.
Chelsea manager Tuchel will be unhappy at the manner of the equaliser, with Seagulls defender Webster left unmarked to head in a left-wing corner from Mac Allister.
“We looked tired… We need our full strength to overcome these obstacles, so no blame for the team,” Tuchel said on BT Sport.
“We tried everything, but you could see we were mentally and physically tired.”
Next up for the Blues is a meeting with Spurs.
“We need some days off, we have now two days off then two days to prepare for the next match at home against Tottenham,” Tuchel said.