Chelsea came out of the blocks well once again, and quickly got to work on trying to break down a Brentford side who were interested in little else than keeping all eleven players behind the ball.
Noni Madueke and Cole Palmer tried their level best to break that wall down, with Madueke seeing a wide-angle shot ring off the crossbar and Palmer creating a couple excellent chances that were wasted by Cucurella and Sterling. Cucurella especially should’ve scored, having made an excellent infield run to find himself all alone in the area, eight yards out, central, with the goal at his mercy.
That initial threat, effort, and creativity ebbed away as the first-half wore on, and while Brentford still offered nothing going forward, Chelsea were finding harder and harder to get behind. There was another half-chance for Cucurella (from a Madueke pass) and a fairly credible penalty shout as Sterling got pushed over (on a Palmer ball) — but neither referee felt brave enough to make that call.
The second half was unfortunately a much different story, and not in our favor. Brentford made one of their few chances count; we hardly created a chance.
And there was not much more to report from that half. Can’t win if you don’t take your chances, and especially if you don’t actually create any.
And then, just to complete our misery, Brentford scored a literal empty-netter at the end, as if this were ice hockey.
Started with a roar, ended with a whimper.
- A slight variation on the back-four seen before the break, with Cucurella on the left, Colwill in the middle (with Silva), and Disasi on the right. Cucu the more attacking of the two full backs, but Disasi getting forward plenty as well.
- James & Maatsen on for the right flank halfway through the second half. Maatsen then moving to left back with the arrival of Washington, to play up front with Jackson.
- Brentford have now won three in a row at Stamford Bridge, shockingly enough
- Next up: Blackburn Rovers at home on Wednesday night in the League Cup