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After Tottenham’s defeat (0-2) against Aston Villa, the 18th day of the Premier League ended with a promising poster between Nottingham Forest, nineteenth in the championship, and Chelsea, ninth. Swept by Manchester United on Boxing Day, the Reds had to raise their heads and could get out of the red zone if successful. Victorious at Stamford Bridge last Tuesday against Bournemouth, the Blues hoped for their chain to get closer to the top 5. Aligned in 4-3-3, Chelsea quickly confiscated the ball at the City Ground but did not manage to surprise the block put in place by Steve Cooper.
Worse still, it was Johnson, taking advantage of a loss of ball from Havertz, who got the first big chance of this meeting but Arrizabalaga, twice, remained vigilant (10th). Jostled, Mount’s teammates remained dangerous despite everything and stung on their first real opportunity. On a cross from Pulisic, Boly deflected the ball on his own crossbar. Opportunistic, Sterling followed and left no chance for Henderson (0-1, 16th). Stunned, the Reds suffered the collective influence of the London formation (80% possession for the Blues during the first act). In control and superior in all areas, Chelsea logically took the lead at the break.
Big blow of blues in the second half!
Upon returning from the locker room, Forest showed other intentions and the danger was quickly felt on Chelsea’s goal. Served by Freuler, Awoniyi crossed his shot from the left but fell on Arrizabalaga (47th). In the process, it was Johnson who stumbled on the last Spanish rampart (51st). Unstoppable, Nottingham Forest insisted but Gibbs-White, served back by Yates, saw his recovery smash the crossbar (55th). Cornered and grouped in its own half of the field, Chelsea suffered a new strike from Aurier (56th). Without consequence. Absent from the debates, Graham Potter’s men ended, however, by cracking. On a corner, Aurier took advantage of a deflection from Boly and adjusted the last bastion of the Blues with a nice volley from a tight angle (1-1, 63rd).
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Unable to get out of the Reds’ pressing, Chelsea then made several changes. Ziyech, Gallagher and Aubameyang came into play for the last quarter of an hour of the game but the face of this game hardly changed. The Londoners retained possession. Nottingham Forest looked threatening. The score did not change. With this draw (1-1), Chelsea lost big in the standings. Eighth before the clash against Manchester City next Thursday, the Blues are now five points behind fifth-placed Tottenham. For its part and before finding Southampton, during the 19th day, Nottingham Forest climbed to eighteenth place.
The official line-ups at kick-off
Nottingham Forest starting XI
Chelsea starting XI