Nottingham Forest drew 1-1 with Chelsea at the City Ground but might have taken all three points after dominating the second half of an absorbing game.
Chelsea took the lead after 16 minutes when Willy Boly unfortunately deflected Christian Pulisic’s cross over Dean Henderson and against the crossbar, with Raheem Sterling smashing home a half-volley from the rebound.
It looked likely to be a straight-forward victory for Chelsea but Forest came out with a vigour the visitors couldn’t match in the second half.
Morgan Gibbs-White was very unlucky not to equalise when he volleyed Ryan Yates’ pull back against the bar from the edge of the penalty area.
But the leveller eventually came from an unusual source when Serge Aurier latched onto Boly’s header from a corner and chested then volleyed under Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Both teams rise a position with the draw. Chelsea are up to eighth, while Forest are now third-bottom.
Forest have the quality to stay up – It has taken time for them to settle in the Premier League but Nottingham Forest now look a side capable of challenging any in the division. The defence now looks settled with Willy Boly and Joe Worrall at centre back, while the combination of Morgan Gibbs-White’s creativity behind Taiwo Akiniyi and Brennan Johnson’s pace and dynamism is a nightmare for defenders. A ball-controlling central midfielder in the transfer window would be ideal but even with the current playing squad, Steve Cooper will feel he has enough to save the team from relegation back to the Championship.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Morgan Gibbs-White (Nottingham Forest) – It was enough to raise the eyebrows of Denis Healey when Forest brought him from Wolves for a fee which could raise to over £40 million but performances like this suggest it may turn out to be a shrewd move. Despite the attacking talent in the opposition including Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, it was Gibbs-White who shone most driving into the Chelsea half and finding team-mates in dangerous positions. The technique for his volley against the bar was exquisite and deserved more luck.
Nottingham Forest: Henderson 6; Aurier 7, Worrall 7, Boly 7, Renan Lodi 7; Freuler 6, Mangala 6, Yates 6; Gibbs-White 8*, Johnson 7, Awoniyi 7.
Subs: Colback 6, Surridge 6, Williams 6.
Chelsea: Kepa 7; Cesar Azpilicueta 6, Koulibaly 6, Thiago Silva 8, Cucurella 6; Zakaria 6, Jorginho 6, Mount 6; Sterling 6, Pulisic, Havertz 6.
Subs: Kovacic 5, Gallagher 5, Aubameyang 5, Ziyech 7, Chukwuemeka 6.
16′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA! What a strange goal. Pulisic’s cross deflected off the heel of Boly and looped over Henderson and came back off the bar and Sterling volleyed home the rebound.
50′ JOHNSON SHOULD HAVE SQUARED IT! He races through on goal down the right flank but with Awoniyi free in the middle he instead decides to shoot and Kepa parries his shot to safety.
55′ OFF THE BAR! A great effort on the volley from Gibbs-White after Yates pulled a ball back to him on the edge of the penalty area.
63′ GOAL FOR FOREST! Aurier pokes home after Boly heads a corner to him on the edge of the six-yard box. He controls the ball on his chest and then steers it low past Kepa.