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Graham Potter looks for positives from Chelsea’s ‘fair point’ at Brentford, explains Conor Gallagher substitution

Point earned

Brentford v Chelsea - Premier League - Gtech Community Stadium Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Chelsea have notched a fifth clean sheet in a row with Wednesday night’s scoreless draw at Brentford, and that makes it nearly nine hours (533 minutes to be exact) since we last conceded a goal. But today’s clean sheet owed as much to luck as to quality goalkeeping — and it certainly didn’t owe much to qualify defending, despite Trevoh Chalobah’s best efforts.

Still, a clean sheet is a clean sheet any which way you look at it, and the only unfortunate part is that we weren’t able to take advantage of that luck at the other end, with multiple quality chances going begging either by way of poor decision-making or some desperate last-ditch defending: Brentford blocked six (6!) shots, for example, some rather spectacularly, while both goalkeepers made five saves.

With yet more rotation and yet more wing-back variations, it’s perhaps right to take the point as a positive from Brentford, who stung us for a 4-1 loss last time we met as we might recall.

“I thought over the course of the game, a point was fair. They had chances, and we had chances. We pushed and pushed at the end. Probably, more likely at the end to score, but at the same time, over the course of the game, a point was about right.

“They make it very difficult for you to control. They do what they do really well. Use the front two, set pieces, long throws, balls into the box, and long balls that make it unstable. I have full respect for them, and how they do that, they do it really well. Not easy.

“It’s another clean sheet for us. The positives are a clean sheet and a point. That’s four points from two away matches which is positive. When we did control it, we did it quite well, but it’s a point, and we have to move on.”

Brentford FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

One negative, other than the lack of precision in the final third, was Conor Gallagher’s early substitution, which at the time was assumed to be due to injury, even though no injury was spotted. As it turns out, Gallagher was simply not feeling well, which certainly reflected in his play as well during those 15 minutes that he was on the pitch.

“I haven’t spoken to the doctor, but he just felt ill. He felt like he was going to be sick. You could probably see that in his first 15 minutes, he wasn’t quite himself, so hopefully, it’s just a 24-hour thing, and he will be okay. Obviously, that probably affected him and us a little bit, but hopefully, he recovers quickly.”

-Graham Potter; source: Football.London

With three players out long-term, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell rested due to hamstring and knee loading concerns, respectively, and most everyone else scraping for fitness, hopefully Gallagher’s illness is indeed short (and non-contagious).

Time to rest up for Sunday’s massive showdown with Manchester United, who beat Spurs tonight to close to within just a point behind us in fifth.

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