AND just like that, it matters after all.
The dropped points in the race for the top four. The fear and anxiety of not qualifying for next year’s Champions League.
Chelsea’s Champions League hopes took a hit with a 0-0 draw against BrightonCredit: Reuters
Thomas Tuchel’s men looked tired and flustered after a chaotic build-upCredit: Andy Hooper-The Daily Mail
The drab goalless home draw against a dogged Brighton side not worthy of gracing a ‘Super League’ according to several disgraced and deluded owners.
But clubs across the country and the continent will just be glad to see competitive action doing what it does best.
Messing with the emotions. Creating narratives. Providing drama.
All of those things were on offer before a ball was even kicked at Stamford Bridge as news filtered through that Roman Abramovich had caved in and listened to his passionate fanbase.
Blues supporters armed with hand-drawn banners and expletive chants to fill even the loftiest of arenas surrounded the stadium hours before last night’s contest.
It meant Tuchel and his players were sat on their team coach for 45 minutes unable to access the ground with crowds covering every spare inch of road.
Both sets of players only came out on to the pitch 20 minutes before kick-off, which was subsequently delayed by 15 minutes.
Chelsea fans turned up at Stamford Bridge to protest the European Super League
The protestors blocked the Fulham road and stopped Chelsea’s bus from entering Stamford Bridge
MORE ON SUPER LEAGUE OUTRAGE
But what is a quarter of an hour in return for the very fabric of English football?
Despite the historic nature of the evening, Chelsea boss Tuchel admitted to being frustrated.
Not because the visiting Seagulls warmed up in the controversial “Earn It” T-shirts, rather the unavoidable distractions for his players.
A furious Petr Cech pleaded with the fans to move, resulting in a delayed kick-off
Chelsea fans were rejoicing when news broke that the club was leaving the ESL
His skipper Cesar Azpilicueta was part of the Premier League captains’ emergency meeting earlier in the day — perhaps why Tuchel decided to leave him on the bench.
In fact, the German coach made six changes with one eye on top-four rivals West Ham and Champions League semi-final opponents Real Madrid in the coming days.
Competitive fixtures. Imagine?
Despite the joy outside, inside the stadium it was another storyCredit: Andy Hooper-The Daily Mail
Chelsea were short on ideas as they failed to find a breakthrough against BrightonCredit: Andy Hooper-The Daily Mail
One of the biggest decisions was leaving out Timo Werner, despite his FA Cup semi-final influence, for Kai Havertz in a false nine role.
It appeared to pay off as Havertz found space in behind Brighton’s ambitious high line, but the Chelsea man lacked cutting edge.
Danny Welbeck went closest after smacking a curling effort off the post late on before Ben White’s second yellow in injury time.
Hakim Ziyech was one of those who put in an uninspiring displayCredit: Getty
Brighton looked closest to winning it with a couple of chances late onCredit: PA
This is arguably the best XI of players who as it stands would play in the European Super League
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