Chelsea 0-2 Brentford: Progress for Pochettino’s Blues halted by Thomas Frank masterclass

The Blues welcomed the Bees to Stamford Bridge for this Gameweek 10 fixture in the Premier League. Both teams would be looking for victory in this game to continue their positive progress up the league table.

In recent seasons, Chelsea have had their struggles against Brentford – with the away side having been victorious in their last two visits to their West London rivals. Pochettino would be hoping for a statement performance from his side, having played superbly last weekend in their match against Arsenal – only for an individual error and a lapse in concentration to allow the Gunners back into the match.

CHE: Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Colwill, Cucurella; Gallagher, Caicedo; Madueke, Palmer, Sterling; Jackson

BRE: Flekken; Ajer, Pinnock, Collins; Roerslev, Jensen, Norgaard, Janelt, Hickey; Mbeumo, Wissa

The home side lined up without the influential Enzo Fernandez in midfield or Mykhailo Mudryk on the wing, with both players not involved in the matchday squad due to minor muscular injuries. The absence of Mudryk allowed Noni Madueke to make his first start of the campaign for Chelsea, on the right-hand side, with Cole Palmer operating in the number 10 slot in place of Enzo.

From the offset, the home side was clearly in the ascendancy, looking to counter Brentford with pace and energy – and doing so effectively on a number of occasions. However, Brentford’s defense stood firm and they looked to mount their own attacks whenever the ball broke their way, looking to play Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbuemo in behind at the earliest opportunity.

The first half played out into a stalemate with Chelsea in particular unable to find the cutting edge in front of goal, even after having a host of clear-cut opportunities to open the scoring. Palmer was the shining light in the centre of the park, always looking to move the ball quickly and playing the decisive pass in behind at any opportunity.

Brentford would start the second half the strongest with Vitaly Janelt leathering a shot from inside the penalty area straight at Robert Sanchez in the Chelsea net, who was able to save well. It wouldn’t take much longer for the next big chance to come and in the 58th minute, the away side would take the lead.

A swift break down the right-hand side would see Mbuemo played down to the byline, with the Cameroonian forward picking out the on-rushing Ethan Pinnock at the back post to fire a thumping header beyond Sanchez and put Brentford into the lead against the run-of-play.

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Thomas Frank’s side continued to defend resolutely, and buoyed by taking the lead, managed to hold their shape with an even greater level of composure and resilience. As the half wore on, Chelsea were becoming more and more frustrated and found it harder to create any clear opportunities in front of goal, down mainly to Brentford’s excellent defensive structure.

The Blues would attempt to wrestle something back from the match by making a host of changes in the final 15 minutes, but it would be a final-minute gamble from Mauricio Pochettino to send Sanchez up for a corner that would define the final result.

Following a looping cross into the box, which Brentford were able to clear comfortably, Neal Maupay and Mbuemo were through on goal with only green grass in front of them – and the Frenchman simply laid the ball off to his centre-forward partner to score into an empty net, handing Brentford their hat-trick of wins away at Stamford Bridge in a matter of three years.

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It was a perfect away performance for Brentford, orchestrated brilliantly by their Danish head coach, who has really compounded the Bees’ presence in the top flight – a place they well and truly deserve. For Chelsea, it’s a difficult result to take, bringing an end to a stretch of four games unbeaten. They will be hoping for a victory in the Carabao Cup next week against Blackburn Rovers in order to regain some momentum for the upcoming matches.