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PREMIER LEAGUE

Disappointing Chelsea lucky to escape with draw against Nottingham Forest

Chelsea began their 2023 by dropping points to struggling Nottingham Forest in a disappointing 1-1 draw

Raheem Sterling's goal was not enough for Chelsea as they dropped points against Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest produced a gutsy display to hold Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at the City Ground, with the Blues now failing to win their opening league fixture of a calendar year since 2016.

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Nottingham Forest began the game on the front foot and it became clear that they had a plan to absorb the Chelsea pressure and hit them on the counter-attack.

Morgan Gibbs-White threaded a pass towards Brennan Johnson, who saw both his efforts saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga. Johnson then turned provider for Gibbs-White, whose strike was blocked by Cesar Azpilicueta.

However, it was the away side that broke the deadlock in fortuitous fashion, as Willy Boly inadvertently diverted a Christian Pulisic cross onto the crossbar with his attempted back-heeled clearance, and Raheem Sterling fired in the rebound to put Chelsa 1-0 up.

Forest looked more than up for the fight against their more accomplished visitors, and backed by a vociferous crowd, they went into the halftime break hopeful of a comeback.

The Blues looked nervous following the restart, and Kepa was forced to deny Taiwo Awoniyi after the Nigerian was played through on goal by Remo Freuler. Gibbs-White then picked out Johnson, and Kepa was called into action once again to keep out his angled drive.

Forest continued to push and Morgan Gibbs-White rattled the crossbar with a stinging effort to rouse the home fans.

A deserved equaliser came just past the hour mark from a Gibbs-White corner courtesy of Serge Aurier, who was composed in the box to chest the ball down and power a brilliant volley past Kepa.

Both teams tried to go for the winner but Chelsea will be relieved to leave with a point after such a poor showing and they remain eighth in the Premier League table.

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