In pictures: Chelsea v Brighton
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Chelsea dropped yet more points in their 1-1 draw at home to Brighton on Wednesday after Danny Welbeck’s last-minute header gave Thomas Tuchel much to ponder in the title race. And more pain was inflicted on the German after star man Reece James left Stamford Bridge on crutches to leave the Blues on the cusp of an injury crisis ahead of the visit of Liverpool on Sunday.
Chelsea had previously lost to West Ham earlier in the month, whilst also dropping points at home to Everton and away to Wolves ahead of the fixture against Graham Potter’s side.
And they continued their poor run of form by dropping yet more points, with a stoppage-time equaliser from ex-Arsenal man Welbeck leaving Stamford Bridge stunned.
And to make matters worse, prodigy James was spotted leaving the ground on crutches as Chelsea encountered yet another injury blow.
The right-back was forced off just 27 minutes in with a muscle problem and had to head straight down the tunnel.
He seems set for a spell on the sidelines and to make matter worse Andreas Christensen was also taken off at half-time with an injury.
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And Tuchel was visibly annoyed in his post-match press conference given he already has Ben Chilwell out against Liverpool with Thiago Silva a doubt.
“No prognosis yet [on James],” Tuchel said.
“It’s a hamstring injury. We will not look ahead to Liverpool now. We cannot. We have to try and find players to play. We have no more wingbacks. Everyone is injured.
“Players are coming back from Covid. They are playing playing playing. I will always protect my players. We need to digest this and then we will look ahead.”
The Blues now sit eight points behind leaders Manchester City, with the Citizens having dropped just 10 points all season after 20 games.
Pep Guardiola’s men continue to be clear favourites to win their sixth top-flight title in 11 years.
And Chelsea boss Tuchel appears to have already thrown in the towel in the title race.
“How should we be in it? We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players out for six or more weeks. How should we compete in a title race?” Tuchel continued.
“Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.
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“We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries and just play, and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.”
The Blues take on Liverpool on Sunday afternoon in a bid to make ground in the title race.
Liverpool have failed to win their last two Premier League games, which may give Tuchel hope.
And he will be looking to get back to winning ways before taking on Tottenham over the course of two legs in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
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