X reacts as Chelsea survive red card & VAR chaos to beat Brighton

  • Chelsea roared to an early 2-0 lead through Fernandez & Colwill
  • Buonanotte pulled one back before Gallagher's red card
  • Fernandez's controversial penalty sealed the win for Chelsea

Fernandez was the star of the show
Fernandez was the star of the show / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages
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Has anyone told Chelsea they can win football matches without making life hard for themselves on the pitch?

Having capitulated last time out against Newcastle United, Chelsea threatened to do the same this weekend when new foes Brighton & Hove Albion came to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, conceding a goal and seeing their captain sent off inside the final minutes of the first half of the 3-2 victory.

We should have seen the chaos coming, really. Suspensions to Reece James and Marc Cucurella, coupled with an injury to Malo Gusto, left Chelsea without a natural right-back and Mauricio Pochettino would respond by naming four centre-backs across his entire defence.

Things actually started fairly well for Chelsea and there were few complaints when Pochettino's men squeezed themselves ahead after 17 minutes.

With their skyscraper defenders all up in the Brighton box, a corner was acrobatically recycled by Benoit Badiashile and perfectly on to the head of Enzo Fernandez, who leapt highest to score his first Premier League goal.

Just four minutes later and Chelsea would have their second. Levi Colwill, the former Brighton loanee, headed home at the back post and immediately started celebrating his first Chelsea goal before remembering he wanted to show respect to his former employers.

It wasn't always simple for Chelsea, who appeared to be doing their utmost to invite Brighton back into the game with some poor play at the back.

First, goalkeeper Robert Sanchez let a pass slip under his studs and had to race to stop the ball crossing his line, before the Blues defence were pressed into oblivion and could have easily ceded possession three or four times.

Then the chaos began.

Facundo Buonanotte weaved his way through the Chelsea defence and curled home an excellent goal.

Then Conor Gallagher, wearing the captain's armband as a result of Reece James' suspension for two yellow cards, picked up a second yellow of his own and slumped over to the tunnel shortly before half-time.

Moises Caicedo seemed determined to join Gallagher in the dressing room. Having already picked up a yellow earlier in the game, the Ecuador international was flying into challenges and definitely unleashed at least one which was worthy of an early bath.

But against the run of play, Chelsea were handed a lifeline.

Mykhailo Mudryk led a counter attack and went racing into the box, with the ageing James Milner in pursuit. Milner appeared to simply overpower the Ukraine international but may have caught him with a dangling foot as Mudryk was already heading to ground.

No penalty was awarded initially but a VAR review ultimately prompted the official to award a spot-kick.

Up stepped Fernandez to restore Chelsea's breathing room.

It wouldn't be Chelsea if things ended smoothly, however.

Joao Pedro headed home from a corner in the second minute of ten added on at the end of things, setting up a nervy finale.

As the clocked ticked over to 100, Brighton were awarded their own penalty when Colwill was accused of handball, but an on-field review was suggested as the ball clearly struck the Chelsea's defender's head.

There was some uncertainty about the final decision as the crowd felt the referee had once again awarded a penalty, but ultimately, things were sorted out and Chelsea were allowed to see out the game.


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