Chelsea now have 37 points in the Premier League 2021-22 table, three points behind second-placed Liverpool and four behind leaders Manchester City. Chelsea has won two of their last five Premier League matches.
Chelsea dropped more points in the Premier League 2021-22 title race on Thursday, drawing 1-1 with Everton after conceding a 77th-minute equaliser. (Learn More About Football)
Chelsea struggled to break down Everton’s packed, makeshift defence without all of its strikers due to the coronavirus or illness until Reece James led a 70th-minute counterattack and fed Mason Mount to score for the fourth straight league game.
Chelsea’s recent defensive weakness was exposed once more when Jarrad Branthwaite, a 19-year-old defender who was only playing due to Everton’s injury crisis, poked in a free kick at the far post.
Chelsea has dropped out of first place after winning only two of its last five league games. After 17 games, the team is four points behind Manchester City in first place.
In that five-game span, Thomas Tuchel’s side drew at home to Manchester United and lost at West Ham, and only beat Leeds last weekend thanks to a stoppage-time penalty. Tuchel, on the other hand, described the latest setback as a “freak result.”
“I’d be more concerned if we were completely out of form, constantly conceding the first goal and struggling to recover,” Tuchel said. “Perhaps that would be simpler to analyse.” I don’t believe analysing our situation is simple.”
“We could be talking about a 3-0 win, which would be fantastic because of the players we missed,” he added, “but mistakes have cost us again.”
Chelsea’s strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, as well as winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, were all ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19. Kai Havertz, who could have stepped in as a striker, was also absent after claiming to be ill.
When asked if Chelsea wanted the game postponed because of the COVID-19 cases, Tuchel replied, “No, we didn’t talk about it for a second.”
“I don’t know the rules and have no desire to learn them; all I do is prepare my team.” At 12 o’clock, we knew who was ready to play and who was not. And the players are always the centre of attention.”
Richarlison, Andros Townsend, and Seamus Coleman joined an already-long injury and illness list of 12 players for Everton this week, making the situation even worse. Rafa Benitez, a former Chelsea interim manager, was forced to start youngsters Branthwaite, Anthony Gordon, and Ellis Simms up front, who made his first-team debut.
“You can say that because we have so many issues, with injuries, with illness,” Benitez said when asked if this was his most important result at Everton so far.
“The team’s character was demonstrated by the way they played and reacted when we conceded.” It’s a fantastic point, not just the point, but the manner in which we made it. After that, everyone realised how important it was and how difficult it was.” Before kickoff, Everton’s travelling fans unfurled a “Rafa out” banner, but by the end of the game, they were cheering him on.