After winning promotion via the Championship play-offs last season, Brentford have shown no fear against their new opponents.
The Premier League is often a daunting place for those coming up from the second tier. Identities and managers are often abandoned in a desperate bid to maintain top-flight status. More often than not, it ends in instant relegation.
But just over a 90-minute walk along the Thames from Stamford Bridge, brings you to the Bees’ glistening new Community Stadium – a place that is quickly becoming every club’s least favourite day trip.
Thomas Frank’s men have taken to the Premier League with a confidence rarely seen. The opening day victory against Arsenal announced their return, an Ivan Toney-inspired performance leaving a flimsy back-line dazed and shaken.
Pablo Mari and Ben White were victims of Brentford’s high-energy, relentless display. Toney and Bryan Mbeumo gave the duo no rest at all while Sergi Canos and Rico Henry bombed on from their wing-back roles to overwhelm Mikel Arteta’s back four further.
Even Liverpool, recent Premier League and Champions League winners and many a pundits’ tip for the title in 2021/22, could not handle the heat. A back-four made up of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Andy Robertson may be one of the most star-studded in England, but still they succumbed to Frank’s system.
A late win against West Ham means they sit in seventh with seven games played.
So, Chelsea have every reason to worry ahead of their short trip to Brentford this weekend, the hosts no doubt relishing the chance to take on the reigning European Champions in front of their vociferous home support.
But the travelling Blues fans can take confidence from one thing – Thomas Tuchel’s own system.
The 3-4-2-1 he favours will match the Bees, ensuring that Mbeumo and Toney cannot overwhelm their centre-backs while his own wing-backs can provide the much-needed cover against Canos and Henry.
This is a trap that both Liverpool and Arsenal fell into. All too often, Toney was able to beat Matip, Van Dijk, White or Mari to the first ball. Suddenly, there is a gaping hole in the heart of defence and inevitably chances are given away and goals are shipped.
We saw the success Brighton had against the Bees in west London by using their trusted three at the back. Robert Sanchez was forced to make just one save all game, three fewer than Bernd Leno made and two fewer than Alisson.
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Antonio Rudiger could miss the match after picking up a knock while on international duty with Germany and it will also likely return too soon for Thiago Silva who remains on international duty with Brazil.
But with the likes of Trevoh Chalobah, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta all available and able to play in that back-three, it is a method Tuchel would be wise to stick to. Ben Chilwell’s superior pace may also be retained to help handle Brentford’s wing-backs.
Continuing to employ his strongly preferred formation may seem like a simple choice on the surface, but it could prove essential to coming home with all three points.
Source by Football London