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Welbeck Leveller dents Chelsea’s title hopes


Brighton inflicted a major blow on Chelsea’s Premier League title hopes as substitute Danny Welbeck’s stoppage-time header secured a 1-1 draw for the Seagulls in a pulsating encounter at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea were on the brink of victory having survived a barrage of Brighton pressure following Romelu Lukaku’s first-half opener (26), but Welbeck’s dramatic leveller, nodded in from Marc Cucurella’s cross (90+1), left them stunned and secured a deserved point for Graham Potter’s side.

The result is a major setback for Chelsea, who were below their best and now risk losing further ground on leaders Manchester City having only won one of their last four Premier League games.

It appeared they had weathered the storm after N’Golo Kante’s introduction from the bench midway through the second half helped to tilt the momentum in their favour following a lengthy period of Brighton dominance during which they created a series of chances.

But Thomas Tuchel’s side, who also lost Reece James and Andreas Christensen to hamstring and back injuries respectively, missed several opportunities to extend their lead in the closing stages before Welbeck’s towering header prompted wild Brighton celebrations, handing a major boost to Manchester City and placing added emphasis on Chelsea’s meeting with Liverpool, live on Sky Sports on Sunday.

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