Brentford played Chelsea very close twice already this season, and they made a much better start to this match than the Blues, dominating the opening 15 minutes. Mistakes and giveaways from us didn’t help, but fortunately the visitors were unable to take advantage, even though they had at least one empty net opportunity, even.
Chelsea eventually grew into the game and started exerting some control over proceedings. We found our first shot after 20 minutes and the first shot on target after 30. Ziyech came closest to breaking a deadlock with one of his magic wand efforts from just outside the area, but Brentford goalkeeper David Raya was equal to it.
It didn’t take long for the second half to burst into life, and at first in spectacular fashion as one of Antonio Rüdiger’s long-range specials actually ended up in the back of the net. But the lead was very short-lived, with Brentford equalizing almost immediately after, then scoring not once but twice more in the next ten minutes to completely turn things around.
Chelsea came close a few times to get back into it on the scoreboard, but Havertz saw one ruled out for handball then missed a couple more by a combined six inches.
Brentford added a fourth late on to complete the echo of last season’s 2-5 defeat to West Brom.
Not great, to say the least.
- Just a few changes from the FA Cup quarterfinal lineup before the break, with Alonso replacing Sarr, Kanté in for Kovačić, and Havertz and Werner coming in for Lukaku and Pulisic.
- James on for Alonso after the equalizer, initially at left back, then switching to right wing-back with Chelsea going to a back-three for the final half hour. Lukaku (for Werner) and Kovačić (for Kanté) in straight swaps.
- Mendy, Kanté both appeared to pick up first-half knocks but were able to play on. Havertz appeared to pick up a concussion late on as well.
- Chelsea lose for the first time since mid-January and lose at home for the first time since late September.
- We remain 5 points ahead of Arsenal in fourth; they play on Monday away to Crystal Palace
- April 3, 2021: 2-5 West Brom; April 2, 2022: 1-4 Brentford. Huh.
- Next up: Champions League quarterfinal first leg v. Real Madrid on Wednesday. We’re definitely winning that thing again though.