Chelsea extended their stay at the top of the Premier League table on Saturday evening as they edged past Brentford 1-0 in west London.
Ben Chilwell’s first-half strike was enough for Thomas Tuchel’s men to secure three points at the Brentford Community Stadium – their sixth victory in their opening eight league games of the season.
The goal – and in fact the scoreline – did not really do the game justice though. Chelsea were regularly under assault by the home side and only a stubborn performance from the Blues’ backline, as well as inspirational goalkeeper Edouard Mendy kept the Bees at bay.
The victory though means that Chelsea sit atop the Premier League table once more, their lead sitting at a solitary point after Liverpool thumped Watford at Vicarage Road earlier in the day.
football.london takes a look at how the national media reacted to the Blues’ win against Brentford on Saturday evening.
As Edouard Mendy produced the latest in his series of quite remarkable saves, Thomas Frank turned to the home crowd, stretched out his arms and widened his eyes in disbelief. The Brentford head coach was expressing the same emotions that his supporters were feeling: incredulity at how the ball had not entered the Chelsea net, how they had not found a way to beat the brilliant Mendy.
“It was hell on earth,” was Ben Chilwell’s description of the Brentford siege, which neatly summarised the pain that Chelsea were forced to endure here. In the final moments of the game it was relentless for their defenders, as if the heavens had opened and it had started to rain footballs on their heads.
They could not get out, they could not clear and for a while it looked as if they could hardly even breathe. It was difficult to recall Thomas Tuchel’s side ever appearing more rattled or out of control a Brentford attacked with everything they had, over and over again, in pursuit of an equaliser they emphatically deserved.
The Ballon d’Or 30-man shortlist came out during the international break and, surprisingly to some observers, Edouard Mendy’s name was not on it.
‘Unacceptable’ said his Senegal team-mate Sadio Mane. ‘It’s a real shame,’ added another international colleague, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
As Mendy defied Brentford, at times single-handedly, during an incredible Chelsea rearguard action that left Thomas Frank in disbelief, it was hard to argue with the view he deserved more recognition – with a place on the prestigious list to go with his award for being the best keeper in last season’s Champions League.
Instead, after leading the Chelsea second-half resistance in the face of intense pressure during this increasingly breathless west London derby, Mendy had to settle for man-of-the-match honours and the gratitude of everyone connected with the Blues.
It was no exaggeration to describe it as a siege. Chelsea had led through Ben Chilwell’s lovely finish on the stroke of half-time but it was Brentford who asked all the questions – with increasing urgency – as a pulsating game entered its closing stages.
How did Thomas Frank’s team not find an equaliser to celebrate his third anniversary as the club’s manager? They absolutely deserved one. The answer lay somewhere between bad luck, poor finishing and the excellence of Édouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal, who simply refused to be beaten.
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When Ivan Toney was denied by Mendy on 73 minutes, it was the prompt for a slow-burning game to ignite. Brentford pushed, loading numbers into the Chelsea box and throwing everything at them. The visitors gasped for breath. “It was pretty much hell on earth the last 20 minutes,” Chilwell said.
Chelsea survived a second half onslaught as Ben Chilwell’s goal sent them back to the top of the table.
Chilwell gave the visitors a first-half lead but Edouard Mendy kept the Bees at bay to earn Thomas Tuchel’s side a hard-fought victory.
Brentford came close to opening the scoring on 21 minutes when Bryan Mbeumo hit the post, and Chelsea raced up the other end and had the ball in the net 11 seconds later.
Fortunately for the Bees, Romelu Lukaku had strayed offside before converting from eight yards.
However, Chelsea took the lead on the stroke of half time when the ball dropped kindly to Chilwell at the edge of the box and he made no mistake with a thumping strike.
Source by Football London