Chelsea 0 Albion 0

Albion earned a first-ever away point against Chelsea last night - and it could have been all three.

The Seagulls kept Thomas Tuchel’s in-form side in check for most of the evening and were inches from snatching a winner when Danny Welbeck hit the post late on.

Ben White was sent off for a second yellow card in added time.

But even then the Seagulls pushed for a winner.

Adam Webster and Dan Burn were back in the starting XI.

They returned after injuries as Graham Potter made three personnel changes to what had been a settled XI.

Alexis Mac Allister also returned with Neal Maupay, Adam Lallana and Jakub Moder on the bench.

Chelsea made five changes to the side which played Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final.

Albion had a minor scare early on when Chelsea got Kai Havertz in behind White.

Robert Sanchez came out to gather just inside his own box but did not hold on to the ball.

But Havertz was in no position to force the ball home and White tidied up.

These matches at empty stadia still seem like reserve team games, no matter the outstanding quality of the players on the pitch or their surroundings.

Albion’s subs and coaches could be heard roaring their approval as Pascal Gross shrugged Mason Mount off the ball in midfield.

But Chelsea were asking a few questions and Christian Pulisic shot wide on the turn from just inside the box.

Then Sanchez had to parry a first-time Havertz shot after White helped the ball into his path as he ushered it away from Pulisic.

The ball eventually ran to Kurt Zouma, whose optimistic long-range effort was well stuck but comfortably fielded by Sanchez.

The home side’s pressing was forcing Albion into errors at times and White was a little lucky to be bailed out by alert colleagues after losing the ball on the edge of his own box.

The Seagulls too, though, were working hard off the ball.

Yves Bissouma escaped injury and the card Chelsea wanted after a full-blooded challenge with Antonio Rudiger.

Yellow was shown to Jorginho when he slid in and caught Bissouma a few seconds later.

Zouma followed him quickly by fouling Welbeck as the striker, of whom little had been seen, span away cleverly from his marker.

Good work by Welbeck to hold the ball up was part of Albion’s first real threat approaching the break.

As the passes followed, Joel Veltman eventually played the ball back to Bissouma, whose first-time shot flicked off a defender, looped over Kepa but landed on the roof of the net.

Albion duly reached the break on level terms, something they had managed on two of their previous three Prem trips to this venue.

On each of those occasions, they had then conceded in the opening five minutes of the second half.

They managed to pass that next landmark, if they were even aware of it, as play resumed.

There was admirable organisation too and the empty stands allowed appreciation of the communication going on.

The recalled Burn was involved in an ongoing length-of-the-touchline duel with Reece James and Lewis Dunk produced some steely covering work when it seemed Havertz might get to the byline.

Mount injected some pace and excitement for Chelsea with a dart through the middle before looking to thread in Pulisic.

But White got his body in the way and saw the ball back to Sanchez.

With that, Adam Lallana went on for the quiet Leandro Trossard.

There was obviously no home crowd to frustrate but the Chelsea subs were voicing their impatience with proceedings.

Two of them, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi, were sent on for the final quarter.

Bissouma forced and took a free-kick which, from ten yards outside the box, deflected for a corner.

Then good pressing by Albion allowed Bissouma an effort from similar range in open play but he fired off target.

Albion were now fancying their chances of grabbing a win and sent on Neal Maupay for Mac Allister.

The breakthrough should have come on 77 minutes, just after the hosts had sent on Olivier Giroud.

But Lallana guided his shot wide of the far post after Maupay had picked Zouma’s pocket on the edge of the Chelsea box.

Welbeck went even closer to a first Albion goal away to Chelsea when he curled on to the inside of the post after the hosts been forced into an error.

A follow-up by Welbeck was blocked, then Kepa got down to hold a firm Lallana drive.

Chelsea: Kepa; Zouma, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Mount, Alonso (Hudson-Odoi 67); Ziyech (Giroud 77), Pulisic, Havertz (Werner 67). Subs: Mendy, Kante, Chilwell, Gilmour, Azpilicueta, Emerson.

Yellow card: Jorginho (35) foul, Zouma (35) foul.

Albion: Sanchez; White, Dunk, Webster; Veltman, Bissouma, Gross, Burn; Mac Allister (Maupay 74), Trossard (Lallana 60), Welbeck (Moder 86). Subs: Steele, Jahanbakhsh, Alzate, Izquierdo, Propper, Zeqiri.

Yellow card White (73) foul, (90+2) foul.

Referee: Stuart Attwell.