With the footballing world burning around them, Chelsea and Brighton played out a forgettable 0-0 draw on Tuesday night.
Set against the backdrop of the implosion of the Super League, the Blues looked a long way off being one of the best teams in Europe. They never really got going with Brighton having the better chances over the 90 minutes.
The most dramatic moment of the contest came more than an hour before kick off when a protest against the proposed breakaway competition prevented the Chelsea team bus entering the ground.
This led to kick off being delayed by 15 minutes, and the game got off to a slow start when it did eventually get underway. Kai Havertz spurned a decent opportunity with 20 minutes played in the only real action of the first half. Prior to the game, manager Thomas Tuchel conceded that off-field events had affected his players’ preparations and it showed.
Things did not get much better after the break either. First Kurt Zouma was nearly punished for dawdling on the ball when Neal Maupay picked his pocket before laying it off to Adam Lallana, who fired narrowly wide.
Soon after Chelsea had another narrow escape when Danny Welbeck hit the bar seconds after an error by Jorginho. Brighton’s lack of cutting edge showed once more before the end with Lallana firing straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga from the edge of the box after a neat turn.
While Chelsea remain fourth for now they are level on points with fifth-placed West Ham, who they play on Saturday, while Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton are also breathing down their necks.