Last year was Brentford’s first ever season in the Premier League, and they marked it with a stellar 13th place finish and two dramatic matches against Chelsea, plus a third in the League Cup for good measure. We won two of those, one by skin of our collective teeth (and Édouard Mendy’s magic gloves) and the other by Academy youngsters stepping up to great effect in the Cup, and then we lost the third in rather humiliating fashion, 4-1, at Stamford Bridge — a game that we had hoped to remember for Antonio Rüdiger’s howitzer but instead had to quickly forget amid all the other off-pitch drama happening.
And Brentford have not stopped punching above their weight this season, currently sitting in ninth and fresh off of a 2-0 win against Graham Potter’s previous charges, Brighton. Ivan Toney already has eight (8!) goals, which would be ridiculous were he not playing in the same league as Erling Haaland (15 goals already).
Chelsea of course are in great form as well — best in the division alongside Arsenal in fact — winners of four in a row in the league, five in a row in all competitions, unbeaten in our last six, and with four straight clean sheets. Let’s keep it going!
Date / Time: Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 19.30 BST; 2:30pm EDT; 12am IST (next day)
Venue: Brentford Community Stadium, London, England
Referee: Jarred Gillet (on pitch); Michael Salisbury (VAR)
Forecast: Mild but chance of rain
On TV: none (UK); USA, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); none? (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Amazon Prime (UK); NBCSports, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); SuperSport GOtv (NGA)
Brentford team news: Brentford have yet to win away from home but have lost just once at home so far, and that to the league-leaders. Toney’s brace over the weekend means he’s scored nearly half (8) of their total goals (18), and six of the last eight.
Summer signings Ben Mee at center back and Aaron Hickey at right wing-back have helped solidify the defense, though they did ship eight combined to Arsenal and Newcastle before the weekend’s clean sheet — and Hickey’s now been ruled out until the World Cup with an ankle injury, alongside center back and club captain Pontus Jansson and defensive midfielder Christian Norgaard. Backup goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha remains out and has yet to feature.
Chelsea team news: The latest injury blow is N’Golo Kanté’s hamstring surgery, though we had been coping without him for the last two months already, so what’s another four months, eh? Ugh.
Still, the more impactful problem at the minute is Reece James’s expected absence until after the World Cup, joining Wesley Fofana in that regard. Plan A to replace James was a minor disaster over the weekend, even if it went unpunished. Plan B involved César Azpilicueta, and that worked better, but Dave will have turn the clock back a few years if it is to keep working.
In better news, Thiago Silva’s hamstring “tightness” is a recovery issue rather than an actual injury, but it is an important reminder that his minutes probably need to be managed a bit more carefully. He and (a suddenly out of form) Raheem Sterling lead the team with 990 minutes played (of 1170 available).
Mason Mount and Kepa Arrizabalaga dragged the team to victory on Sunday with outstanding individual efforts. Others are welcome to join them in carrying the load.
Previously: Speaking of carrying the load: