An astonishing counter-attack performance from Brentford saw the come back from a goal behind to stun Chelsea 4-1 at Stamford Bridge. A flat opening 45 minutes gave way to an incredible start to the second half which saw Thomas Tuchel’s side take the lead via a sensational 35-yard effort from Antonio Rudiger.
The German defender received a pass 45-yards from goal, before taking it upon himself to surge forward and thump a 35-yard effort past David Raya and off the inside of the post. Unfortunately for the Blues, their lead dissipated almost straight away as Bryan Mbeumo laid the ball of for Vitaly Janelt to smash home an equally fierce first-time effort past Mendy and into the roof of the net.
As Stamford Bridge was still catching their breath, Brentford surged into a shock lead, as Christian Eriksen, so often the Blues’ nemesis while at Tottenham Hotspur, finished another wonderful cut back from Mbuemo to slot the Bees into a shock lead. The Blues’ composure departed them after the Bees took the lead, but Thomas Frank’s side did anything but rest on their laurels.
An excellent threaded pass from Ivan Toney, who missed a glorious chance in the first-half to give Brentford the lead, fed Janelt in-behind the Blues defence and the German striker excellently scooped the ball over Mendy. Tuchel introduced Romelu Lukaku from the bench, but the subtitutes made no difference, as Yoane Wissa added an exclamatory fourth goal with a wonderful first time finish from inside the box – Daily Express Sport considers four things we learned.
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Ivan Toney is an England outsider
Only Harry Kane has scored more Premier League goals than the Bees’ hitman. While the former Newcastle United ace will not want to see his first half miss from Mendy’s poor pass, he more than made up for it with a wonderful assist for Brentford’s third goal.
Toney slid a wonderful slide-rule like pass beyond Thiago Silva for Janelt to score his second goal of the contest. Gareth Southgate does not have too many target men within his ranks; even if he did, they would struggle to be more dangerous in the box than Toney.
The 26-year-old has a wonderful propensity to always be on the end of every single cross that is put in the box. If England are ever trailing a contest and Southgate looks to James Ward-Prowse and Trent Alexander-Arnold to rain down fire from the wide areas, then Toney could be the perfect person to tuck those deliveries away.
Chelsea counter attack woes
Brentford ripped the contest away from the Blues with three excellent counterattacks on the Blues, However, the Bees’ second goal perfectly encapsulated how the Champions League holders lost grip of the contest.
Within seconds, Tuchel went from watching his side almost regain the lead from a corner kick to N’Golo Kante defending a two-on-one situation against Mbuemo and Eriksen. The lack of organisation and the ease in which Brentford lured the Blues in and countered them is something which has not been seen very often since Tuchel took charge – there is plenty of work for the German yet to do.
Edouard Mendy’s biggest weakness
Edouard Mendy’s £28million move could arguably be considered as one of Chelsea’s best pieces of business. The Africa Cup of Nations champion has been a rock-solid presence in the Blues’ goal ever since he made his move to Stamford Bridge.
However, Mendy’s problems with his distribution was very close to gifting Brentford a priceless lead in west London. Toney latched onto a very loose pass from the goalkeeper while he was on the edge of the box.
Fortunately for the Senegalese shot-stopper, Toney’s composure departed him when he needed it most and his first-time effort sailed harmlessly over the bar. Of course, this issue should not prompt the Blues to find a new No.1 goalkeeper, but it may be something Tuchel and his goalkeeping staff should keep a serious eye on.
Chelsea need more development on the back four
Injuries to Ben Chilwell and Reece James perhaps forced Tuchel to overhaul his preferred 3-4-3 formation in place of a 4-3-3. But while the two England internationals have been an extraordinary miss, the Blues had initially adapted very well to the four man back-line.
The new formation means Tuchel can lose one defender and add another central midfielder to his frontline. Unfortunately, Brentford were able to outnumber the Blues in the middle of the park with their 3-5-2 formation and the west Londoners simply could not handle their press.
If the four man backline is to become a permanent fixture at Stamford Bridge, then Tuchel will have to ensure his side can navigate any and all issues that come with a change of shape.
Chelsea’s Premier League triumphs have mainly been built upon their excellent form at Stamford Bridge. However, their tendancy to come unstuck in their home fixtures has continuously blighted their seasons.
Manchester City and Liverpool very rarely givre points away at home, but many teams evidently feel they can travel to Stamford Bridge and take something from the game. While the Blues will always be heavily respected amongst the division, the fear factor and solidity appears to be missing on the blue side of west London.