As we return from the two-week international break to begin the final stretch of the season, we gear up for what will be already our 50th match of the season. Few teams have played us better in the preceding 49 than Brentford did in the final 15-minute stretch of the reverse fixture, where only a most heroic goalkeeping performance by Édouard Mendy kept all three points on our side.
Hopefully we remember that as we try to regroup and refocus on the task(s) at hand. Real Madrid and the Champions League quarterfinals loom the next two midweeks, but we cannot forget about keeping up our points collection in the league. It’s a fairly comfortable five-point cushion to Arsenal in fourth at the moment, but there’s still enough games left for things to change drastically if we’re not careful.
Date / Time: Saturday, April 2, 2022, 15.00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Andy Madley (on pitch); David Coote (VAR)
On TV: none (UK); USA Network (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); Canal+ Sport 5 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); NBC Sports Live (USA); HotStar (India); SuperSport GoTV (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic have been ruled out, joining Ben Chilwell on the sidelines. The rest of the team should be good to go, including Thiago Silva, who may have returned later than most from international duty but did not play in Brazil’s last game. Reece James and Andreas Christensen both should be back from injuries as well.
The club’s immediate solvency has been assured with the government allowing access to cash reserves, so the rest of the ownership transition process can continue on with all due process observed. This game may not be sold out however with only season ticket-holders allowed to attend.
The Blues have not lost in the league since the 1-0 reverse to Manchester City in mid-January, and have won 12 of 14 in all competitions since including the last 6 in a row.
Brentford team news: Brentford have fallen off precipitously since their good start, winning just 1 in 12 over the winter before back-to-back wins over Norwich City and Burnley re-stabilized their safe position in the table. They lost to Leicester just before the break, leaving them 15th though well clear of relegation.
Still, as we’ve seen in our two prior meetings this season, they are not to be taken lightly, even if they’ve yet to actually score against us. Our 1-0 win in the league was as narrow as 1-0s get, while our 2-0 win in the League Cup quarterfinals was also a hard-fought affair.
Brentford did add some quality in January by signing Christian Eriksen to a 6-month contract. Evidently he’s none worse for the wear since his heart attack and brief death last summer, which is just mindblowing, really. Oh, and he scored a tremendous goal back with Denmark over the break as well.
Previously: Brentford’s last win over Chelsea remains back in 1939, though we’ve only played seven times since, Chelsea winning six of those. But this will be our third meeting this season already, with a well-rotated and quite young Blues side putting the Bees to the sword, 2-0, in the League Cup quarterfinals back in December.