Chelsea vs Brentford: Four goals scored in 15 whirlwind minutes at the start of the second half saw the Blues go 1-0 up, before quickly surrendering in an eventual 4-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
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Antonio Rudiger opened the scoring with an incredible strike from 30 yards out, but Vitaly Janelt scored two in the ensuing 12 minutes, to go with another from Christian Eriksen (his first club goal since returning after suffering a cardiac arrest last summer at EURO 2020), and Yoane Wissa added a fourth for good measure just before full-time.
The victory could see Chelsea (59 points) slip to within two points of 4th-place Arsenal (54 points), who are now hot on their heels in what appears to be an avoidable battle for 3rd. The Gunners will pull level on games played (29) when they visit Crystal Palace on Monday, at which point they can reduce the gap from five to two.
Brentford (33 points), meanwhile, are up to 14th in the Premie League table, now 11 points clear of the relegation zone.
Chelsea vs Brentford final score, stats, results
Final score: Chelsea 1, Brentford 4
Goal scorers: Chelsea (Rudiger 48′), Brentford (Janelt 50′, 60′, Eriksen 54′, Wissa 87′)
Shots: Chelsea 21, Brentford 17
Shots on target: Chelsea 8, Brentford 6
Possession: Chelsea 70%, Brentford 30%
3 things we learned – Chelsea vs Brentford
1. Chelsea can’t cope with Brentford press: Thomas Tuchel revealed before the game that he selected Ruben Loftus-Cheek instead of Jorginho because he anticipated a rough and tumble battle with the “physical” Bees. That decision proved a disastrous one for much of the first half, as Chelsea were frequently unable to pass out of their own end after Edouard Mendy took a short goal kick. Some of the errors weren’t even forced by actual pressure, but perceived pressure once the Blues backline and midfield had been rattled. Without Jorginho on the field, Chelsea were without their safety blanket and easy escape plan. Anytime you’re under pressure and in trouble, just look for Jorginho. He’ll create a pocket of space to receive the ball and, somehow, turn out of the same danger you couldn’t handle, and all is typically well. Now, imagine facing one of the most aggressive presses you’ve seen all season, without Jorginho’s services.
2. Brentford get healthy, good again: The Bees enjoyed a brilliant start to life in the Premier League, before a rash of injuries to key players left them short on warm bodies and confidence from October to March. That’s a fairly significant portion of a Premier League season, and it nearly put Brentford in the relegation battle, but Kristoffer Ajer, David Raya and Christian Norgaard are back from injuries, as is Ivan Toney (also back in form – 7 goals, 1 assist in his last 7 PL games), and the January signing of Christian Eriksen hasn’t hurt either. With the benefit of hindsight, signing Eriksen has proven a masterstroke for Thomas Frank’s side, adding a player of elite quality to an already talented side just as it returns to health and fitness, and he’s now reaping an abundance of rewards.
3. Job not done for Chelsea: The Blues were supposed to be cruising to a sleepy 3rd-place finish by this point of the season, yet they suddenly find themselves in very real danger of falling out of the top-three. Tottenham are currently eight points back in 5th, but Antonio Conte has Spurs in their best form of the season, just as Chelsea are potentially running out of gas.
Man of the Match: Bryan Mbeumo – The 22-year-old Frenchman assisted Brentford’s first two goals, and his hold-up play was a massive key when the Bees needed to get the ball out of their own end and relieve some pressure. Turning those desperate moments into scoring chances is the mark of a hugely improved player.
Chelsea vs Brentford highlights
Antonio Rudiger launches a rocket to give Chelsea the lead (goal video)
Vitaly Janelt pulls Brentford level two minutes later (goal video)
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