Romelu Lukaku scored on his first start Premier League start for two months (Picture: Getty)
£97.5m summer signing Lukaku, making his first Premier League start in two months, put Thomas Tuchel’s side ahead in the 28th minute with a fine header.
But Chelsea wasted chances through Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount and were made to pay for their wastefulness when Danny Welbeck scored an injury-time equaliser to earn Brighton a well-deserved point.
Welbeck’s late goal means Chelsea have now drawn three of their last four Premier League fixtures and drop more ground in the title race.
But the return of Lukaku and his assured performance may provide some solace for Blues fans, with former Chelsea stars Poyet and Eniola Aluko both hailing the Belgium international during the Brighton fixture.
Speaking at half-time, Poyet told Amazon Prime: ‘It’s great to see a striker of that quality.
‘He was winning the ball in the air, the way he linked the play, his first touch. He played for the rest of the team.
Gus Poyet said Blues goalscorer Lukaku was ‘excellent’ against Brighton (Picture: Amazon Prime)
‘If [Mason] Mount and [Callum] Hudson-Odoi were in a better mood today they would be winning 2-0 or 3-0. But because of the other players they are not winning by more.
‘Lukaku was excellent. Holding the ball, playing for the rest, unfortunately his team-mates didn’t do the right thing in those moments.’
Ex-England forward Aluko added: ‘Every single touch he had led to a positive action, a shot at goal or a counter-attack.
‘He’s so influential. Everything has been positive from Lukaku. That’s why they paid the massive fee for him.
‘He was the missing piece from last season and they needed a player like Lukaku. He could be the difference for them to win the league this season.’
Danny Welbeck’s injury-time header earned Brighton a point (Picture: Getty)
European champions Chelsea emerged as the early pacesetters in the Premier League this season but have suffered a dip in form in recent weeks, losing to West Ham and drawing to Everton, Wolves and now Brighton.
With Manchester City winning ten matches in a row and beating Brentford 1-0 on Wednesday, Chelsea now find themselves eight points behind the defending champions.
Chelsea will be desperate to return to winning ways on Sunday against Liverpool, who are one point behind the Blues with a game in hand.
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