Mateo Kovacic was the only positive, while Antonio Rudiger went from hero to zero as Chelsea went down 3-1 to Brentford on Saturday.

Chelsea saw more of the ball in the game’s opening quarter, but Brentford conjured the better chances in the period. The Blues’ first shot on goal came in the 22nd minute, by when Brentford had already mustered six efforts. Chelsea improved as the minutes wore on but lacked the quality to trouble David Raya before half-time.

The start of the second half was the polar opposite of the opening period, with Chelsea breaking the deadlock just three minutes in through Antonio Rudiger, whose long-range effort beat David Raya. But Brentford hit back with two quickfire goals to capture the lead, with Bryan Mbuemo setting up Vitaly Janelt and Christian Eriksen.

Janelt doubled his tally at the hour mark, putting Brentford 3-1 up thanks to some schoolboy defending by Chelsea. The Bees continued to pose a threat on the break, with Chelsea in all sorts of trouble, even as the west Londoners looked to charge forward purposefully.

The visitors duly put the game to bed in the 88th minute, as Yoane Wissa scored from close range. Brentford, in turn, secured well-deserved three points, while Chelsea will now be looking over their shoulders, with Arsenal closing in on them. The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Edouard Mendy: 5/10

Mendy had an eventful first half, as he comically gifted the ball to Ivan Toney before getting through unscathed due to the Brentford striker’s overhit effort. He made amends with a superb stop to deny Toney before having an injury scare. Mendy could not have done anything to keep out Brentford’s first two goals but should have done better to deny Vitaly Janelt for his brace.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 4.5/10

Azpilicueta endured a second half out of his nightmares as Janelt ran rings around him. The Chelsea captain could not get to grips with the pace that Brentford looked to play the game with and was far from his reliable self. Azpilicueta barely posed a threat going forward, with his passes being hopeful rather than precise.

Thiago Silva: 5/10

Thiago Silva was a calming figure at the back when Brentford took the game to the hosts. But while he ensured the first half ended goalless, Silva could do nothing about Brentford’s blitzkrieg in the second half while being directly responsible for getting out of position for the visitors’ second and third.

Antonio Rudiger: 5/10

Rudiger was an immovable object at times at the heart of the Chelsea defence, negating Toney’s influence to a great effect in the opening period. The German international started the second half with a bang, scoring from range to break the deadlock. But Rudiger and the rest of the Chelsea backline crumbled after that, with Bryan Mbuemo playing all around him.

Marcos Alonso: 4/10

Alonso was dreadful as he posed no threat in the final third while being a liability off the ball. The Spanish international has lost his creative instincts in the final third, and the only solace was that he did not lose the ball as carelessly as some of his other teammates. He was rightly taken off for Reece James, even though the substitution did not make a difference.

N’Golo Kante: 6/10

Kane endured a rare indifferent outing in a Chelsea shirt as Brentford found a way to bypass him in the middle of the park. And while the Frenchman was not sloppy with the ball at his feet, he lacked the imagination to make things happen on his forays down the pitch.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 5/10

Ziyech was tasked with being Chelsea’s anchor in the middle of the park, but the Englishman did not reprise the role well. Brentford overran him in the midfield, and he could not get a hold over the proceedings at any point of the game. The only saving grace for Loftus-Cheek was his precision on the ball, but he should have set a quicker tempo when he had possession.

Mason Mount: 6/10

Mount was the only player who looked like he could make the difference in the first half. But after a decent opening period, the English international became anonymous, barely finding any chances to carve out the opportunities when he went into advanced positions. Chelsea needed Mateo Kovacic in the place from the get-go.

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Hakim Ziyech: 6/10

With Mason Mount operating from a deeper role, Ziyech was Chelsea’s creative supremo higher up the pitch against Brentford. But the Moroccan playmaker failed to pose a sustained threat from the right flank. Ziyech came the closest to scoring for Chelsea in the first half, but David Raya denied him superbly. In the second half, there were hardly any moments to write home about.

Kai Havertz: 5/10

Havertz was the in-form player for Chelsea heading into the game, but he left his scoring boots at home for the game against Brentford. The German international fed off scraps at times, but his finishing left a lot to be desired when Kovacic set him up for a chance in the second half. He will need to do better in the UEFA Champions League clash versus Real Madrid next week.

Timo Werner: 4/10

Werner got a chance to impress because Christian Pulisic was not fit enough to be involved against Brentford. But while the German forward’s movement looked dangerous, his touches were sloppy. And he never looked like he could score on Saturday, which is why it is hardly surprising that Chelsea could sell him in the summer.


Reece James: 6/10

James replaced Alonso early in the second half and was more solid than the Spaniard. But while the English international won nearly all his duels, he did not carry the kind of threat that Chelsea fans have grown accustomed to seeing from him.

Mateo Kovacic: 7/10

Kovacic was the only positive in the game for Chelsea, as he pushed his side forward purposefully and carved out two of the best chances for them in the match. But that did not make a difference in the end, with Brentford beating Chelsea handsomely.

Romelu Lukaku: 6/10

Lukaku added an imposing presence in the final third, but that was about it when it came to his performance in the game’s last quarter. The Belgian striker did not muster a single shot and needs some inspiration.

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