Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy were pivotal figures as Chelsea eked out a narrow 1-0 win over a resolute Brentford on Saturday.
Chelsea were unsurprisingly the more dominant of the two sides, although the chances came few and far between as Brentford absorbed the pressure created for the most part in the opening period. In addition, the hosts took the game to the Blues on the break, particularly threatening from the wide areas.
However, Chelsea did make their dominance count at the stroke of half-time, as Ben Chilwell smashed home a volley into the back of the net. Post the interval, it was more of the same for the most part until Brentford took charge of the proceedings in the final quarter of the game.
This is when the visitors needed Edouard Mendy at his absolute best, as he was critical in ending wave after wave of Brentford attacks with world class saves. In the end, Chelsea just about held on to grab the 1-0 win to get back on top of the Premier League table, toppling Liverpool, who had beaten Watford 5-0 earlier in the day. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Edouard Mendy: 9/10
Games taken to keep 30 clean sheets for Chelsea:
🧤 51 – Petr Cech
🧤 54 – Edouard Mendy
They need to sign more goalkeepers from Stade Rennais. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Q5JKPfQo5C
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) October 16, 2021
A quiet evening for the most part for Mendy, who was barely called into action in the first three quarters of the game. However, the Chelsea no. 1 was critical in not just preserving the clean sheet but also earning even one point, as he made a string of saves to keep Brentford at bay. Alert when he had sweeping duties to undertake and all in all, this was a top class showing by Mendy.
Trevoh Chalobah: 7/10
With Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva unavailable, Chalobah, the Player to Watch in out preview, got another chance to impress, this time from the right side of the back three. A block on the goal-line stood out and he did well enough to frustrate Ivan Toney, even when the Brentford striker posed a threat in the Chelsea box.
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
The senior centre-back in the three-man central defensive setup, Christensen provided quite a few promising signs for the future for Chelsea fans here. Given a run for his money by the Brentford attackers, but the Dane rose to the challenge admirably bar a couple of hiccups.
Malang Sarr: 7/10
Malang Sarr’s game by numbers vs. Brentford:
86 total touches
86% pass accuracy
75% aerials won
4 attempted tackles
3 successful tackles
A really solid performance. 🔒 pic.twitter.com/i0QsuFVUok
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 16, 2021
A surprise starter, Sarr justified his selection with a dogged performance at the back. Yes, his nerves were on full display during the Brentford onslaught, but he got the job done in the end, making it a Premier League debut to remember. Could well be the catalyst for a Chelsea turnaround for Sarr.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
With Reece James not fit enough to start, Azpilicueta was the right wing-back for Chelsea. And the Blues’ skipper did a decent enough job, even if he did not provide as big an outlet in the final third. His defensive acumen, though, came to the fore when Brentford charged forward, with Rico Henry not having a great time on his flank.
N’Golo Kante: 7/10
Having recovering from COVID-19, Kante was back in the side and produced a typically industrious performance to throw Brentford off their game in the first half. As the minutes grew, the French international started to get a little leggy. However, he did not stop putting in the efforts and made some big clearances. Hardly ever lost the ball either.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 8/10
Preferred over Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek set a quick tempo to the game while once again impressing in the deeper role. He might not have been able to get a hold of things late on, but Loftus-Cheek still ensured that he did not lose the ball cheaply whenever he was in possession. In addition, he won a whopping 12 duels while making three interceptions. Continues to grow in stature again.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Chelsea vs. Brentford:
◉ Most touches (100)
◉ Most duels contested (22)
◉ Most ball recoveries (13)
◉ Most fouls won (5)
◉ Most take-ons (4)
He also made four clearances and three tackles. 💪 pic.twitter.com/FUZ6PXW7sj
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 16, 2021
Mateo Kovacic: 8/10
Kovacic was perhaps, the most critical outfield player in this game for Chelsea. Till the time he was on the pitch, the Croat played a leading role in asserting the Blues’ control on the proceedings. However, Brentford grew into the game significantly following his substitution, with Chelsea losing that extra body in the middle. Just too crucial for Thomas Tuchel.
Ben Chilwell: 8/10
Chilwell might have made a slow start to the season but he has been sure to make up for lost time in the last couple of weeks or so. This time around, he scored a goal in a third successive game for club and country, and the finish was the goal was simply sumptuous. Defended diligently from his flank, but also allowed a few too many crosses in. Did win eight duels while completing eight clearances.
Romelu Lukaku: 5/10
A game to forget for Lukaku, who got progressively worse with every passing minute. While the Belgian powerhouse made a strong start to the game, holding the ball smartly and playing some deft passes, he strayed offside a bit too many times. Got increasingly isolated in the second half before being taken off in the 77th minute.
Timo Werner: 6/10
Not the best of performances but not the worst either from the German international. The two-man setup in the final third should have suited the German international’s strengths but he once again left his scoring boots at home, failing to convert a couple of decent half chances. Linked up smartly with Lukaku, though, showing some impressive movement.
Mason Mount: 6/10
On for Kovacic, Mount never really got the chance to express himself, with Brentford dominating the proceedings for much of his stint. Did add to the numbers behind the ball, which ultimately helped matters for Chelsea.
Kai Havertz: N/A
On for Lukaku, Havertz barely got a chance to make an impression late on.
Reece James: N/A
A late introduction, James helped see the game out.