Eden Hazard produced a brilliant equaliser in stoppage time to salvage a point for Chelsea but it could not disguise the feeling that this was a glorious chance squandered in the quest for a top-four finish. After Tottenham were beaten at Southampton on Saturday and as Arsenal and Manchester United duelled in North London, a home win against a team which has not won at Stamford Bridge since 1979 would have lifted Maurizio Sarri’s team to within two points of Spurs, with a game in hand.
But they misfired again, slipped behind when Raul Jimenez struck on the break with his team’s only shot of the entire game and then struggled to respond until Hazard struck late in the 1-1 draw.
“When you have only 10 matches to play, every match you are not able to win is a missed opportunity,’’ sighed Chelsea coach Mauricio Sarri, having seen his side dominate possession to the tune of 76 percent, force 13 corners and pepper Rui Patricio’s goal with 22 shots.
‘We made a lot of mistakes but we deserved to win. On the other hand, we need to improve with our attacking. We needed to move the ball faster, we needed more movements without the ball, more movements into space, behind the line.”
Chelsea were at times ponderous and unimaginative in their approach play, unable to pierce a well-organised defence which was protected by a deep midfield, until Sarri cut loose from his tactical shackles for the first time.