Chelsea held by Nottingham Forest in frustrating result for Blues
A lackluster Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day, a result that comes as a blow to Graham Potter’s side in their quest for a UEFA Champions League berth. The Blues have won just one of their last five league games and are currently eighth in the standings, seven points behind Manchester United for a top four finish.
The Blues had most of the possession in the first half and made their superiority count when Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in the 16th minute on the night.
The right-footed winger hit from close range after Willy Boly had bizarrely tapped a Christian Pulisic bet on his own crossbar. This came just a minute after Forest broke through on goal with Morgan Gibbs-White’s fierce 16-yard effort blocked by Cesar Azpilicueta.
Forest manager out-coaches Graham Potter
Despite the setback, the home side never lowered their heads and looked to hit Chelsea at the break. Steve Cooper had come up with a clear game plan, taking the pressure off by defending stoically and then hitting the Blues on the wings.
However, Forest looked much better from the two sides. The home side had a great chance to score just four minutes after the break when Brennan Johnson reeled in a curling effort that was pushed away by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Forest came close again in the 55th minute when Gibbs-White then hit the crossbar with a sensational strike from the edge of the box.
Eight minutes later, the home side finally leveled when Serge Aurier finished off a corner kick with a fine finish. The right-back hit the ball with his chest before twisting his body to come home with a nice volley that went through Kepa’s legs.
Chelsea rue missed opportunities
With both sides pushing for a winner, Chelsea could have returned home with all three points had substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made contact in the 81st minute through a glorious cross from Hakim Ziyech on the right wing.
At the full-time whistle, Forest would be the happier of the two sides as the point meant they now moved up one place to 18th with a point out of safety.
Cooper said after the game, “We should get a lot out of the performance and some internal credit for the work the players are doing. If someone said we would create so many good chances against a side like Chelsea, you would take it.”
Photo: IMAGO / News images
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