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Brentford 0 vs. 1 Chelsea MW 8 Review

Mendy masterclass in the 2nd half!

Chelsea traveled a few miles to play fellow West London team Brentford at their new stadium. Brentford and Frank went with the 3-5-1 and they same lineup they had against the likes of Liverpool. Tuchel opted to match Brentford with Mendy starting in goal and a back three of Chalobah, Christensen and Sarr. A young defence and Sarr making his debut in the Premier League. Azpilicueta, and Chilwell started as the wing backs with Kovacic, Kante, and Loftus-Cheek in midfield. Lukaku and Werner started up front. The tweak from Tuchel was to match Brentford in the midfield by playing that extra central midfielder. Some speculative decisions for sure but a good team none the less.

Chelsea controlled the first half but it was hard to create chances against a very compact Brentford side. Brentford were having chances on the counter and Mbeumo hit the post in the 22nd minute. The ball bounced favourably for Chelsea and we went on a counter but Lukaku’s goal was ruled offside. Lukaku and Werner had been combining well between themselves but the finishing had been off. Kovacic then had a shot that deflected just over the bar in the 27th minute. Werner had a very good chance but volleyed over after some good play by Lukaku and Chilwell in the 37th minute. The game winning goal came in the 45th minute after a ball came in for Lukaku but Jansson deflected it as far as Chilwell who was on the edge of the box and volleyed it home. 3 goals in 3 for club and country for the full back and Chelsea had the lead going into half time. 

The 2nd half saw Chelsea start in similar fashion and we had some good opportunities to break the Brentford line but Kovacic failed to find Lukaku and Werner on those occasions. Mount came on for Kovacic in the 65th minute while Brentford brought off Onyeka for striker Forss.That was the substitution that allowed Brentford to go on the attack and Chelsea sat back. Werner did have a shot saved in the 70th minute before the Brentford onslaught began in the final 20. Mendy saved from Toney’s first time volley in the 72nd minute. Mbeumo hit the post again in the 75th minute, Chalobah saved off the line in the 83rd minute, that clearance came after Mendy had saved a shot on goal with his face. Mendy then made one of the saves of the season after Norgaard attempted a bicycle kick that was heading for goal and Mendy tipped it over the bar. Chelsea had survived 20 minutes of absolute bombardment to leave Brentford with all 3 points. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

It was a brilliant, outstanding and elite performance from Mendy and he does that regularly although rarely has to make so many saves. To go from a first half where he had little to do to make several key saves in 20 minutes to keep Chelsea in the game is elite. The save to deny Norgaard was perhaps the save of the season but the one to deny Mbeumo before the Chalobah clearance was also one that showed courage. Mendy is just such an imposing figure in front of goal and that helps the whole team. It’s a joke that Mendy isn’t mentioned in the same bracket as Ederson or Alisson when he is arguably in better form but regardless of that Chelsea are lucky to have such a brilliant goalkeeper. Man of the match for sure. 

Defenders

When the back three came out the inclusion of Sarr raised a lot of eyebrows. Sarr had not played well against Villa in the cup and that performance did not instil confidence in some parts of the fanbase. I had no qualms because clearly Tuchel trusted him and that is why he started. Let’s start with Sarr then and his performance was quite good. Some very good tackles and he showed pace in areas as well. It was a calm performance and one that will do him a world of good. Christensen and Chalobah were very good as well and Christensen led the back line well. Chalobah’s most important moment came when he anticipated the situation well and ran to defend the goal line and made a clearance in doing so. Azpilicueta and Chilwell were very good in the first half and pushed up high pinning back Canos, and Henry. Chilwell in particular got into some very dangerous positions and was the match winner with a brilliant volley. Reece came on late in the game for Azpilicueta and helped in defending to see out the win. 

Midfielders

Kovacic had a good game in the first half but his passing let him down last night. Too many times were there runs made by Werner, and Lukaku but Kova’s passes fell short. Mount did come on for Kovacic in the 2nd half but that was around the 70 minute mark and it was mostly defending. Kante was elite especially in the first half and similar to Kovacic if he could just improve his passing and finishing he would just get even better. The best midfielder on the pitch was Loftus-Cheek. It is so great to see RLC playing so well again. It was a majestic performance. The first half saw the classic pressure breaking runs and close control. A Hazard like quality to draw the foul as well and just pure dominance. It was a brilliant performance. Havertz did come on for Lukaku in the 2nd half but similar to Mount and Reece James it was all defending. 

Forwards

No goals for Lukaku or Werner today. Werner was a constant menace in the first half and his pace and movement caused problems but he again blazed a shot over the bar and there were moments where the link up play still lacked chemistry. Lukaku was good in the first half and he presence and ability to pin back defenders allowed Chilwell the space to volley. It was a quite performance in the 2nd half as Chelsea were camped deep in their box and there was no out ball for Rom. No goals over the last few games but no on should be panicking. Chelsea need to realise that we have competent strikers up front now and we have to start looking for them and there runs.

Manager

3 points for Tuchel away from home at a tough Brentford side. That is all that would have mattered for Tuchel and the fact that a relatively younger back line showed so much character would have impressed him. The changes also worked in the end and no one was rushed back from injury.

Trust me these will be 3 massive points in the race for the title because most teams will struggle to go and get a result against Brentford. In a season that could be decided by a point or more only time will tell how massive this win will be. 

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