Date: Saturday 2nd April 2022
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
After another dull international break, with the press column-inches filled with the latest updates on Raine’s version of Bruce’s Price is Right and the Ricketts daily declarations of their apparent new-found moral excellence, it’s back to some semblance of normality this afternoon with a 3pm kick-off at home to Brentford in the Premier League.
We could have done without the international break to be honest, because we’d hit a good run of form with six wins on the bounce in all competitions, including our last five in the Premier League. After beating Newcastle in the and Lille in the Champions League, we went into the break with a win over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, to the obvious disappointment of everyone outside of Chelsea. Next up, it’s a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid on Wednesday night, but with just a five-point gap over fourth-placed Arsenal, we’re not in a comfortable enough position to take let that cloud our focus today.
15th placed Brentford, had wins against Norwich and Burnley, before losing to Leicester ahead of the break. The Bees struggle to keep clean sheets away from home and have won just one from their last 11 on their travels. They’ve also lost against us twice this season, in the league and the EFL Cup, so Frank will undoubtedly have taken some lessons from those games. They’ll be focused on keeping away from the drop-zone, although they do have an eight-point buffer from the relegation places. They’ve also got themselves a really good signing in Christian Eriksen and it’s genuinely heartwarming to see him back playing again, although I might not feel so fuzzy and warm about that later!
Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel, says “Maybe it is also normal (struggling) as a newcomer in the toughest league in the world. They expected maybe to not fly through the season like they started. When we played them in the first match, it was maybe one of the worst moments to play them because they were absolutely flying. They were full of positivity and belief, we played a very good match and struggled in the last 18 minutes like crazy and we needed to defend and a lot of luck to escape with three points. Then we had another match at Brentford in the Carabao Cup, we played very very well and learned from our first match. That’s the challenge for tomorrow. They played for a long period of the season in a back five, 5-3-2, but they change in the last matches to a 4-3-3. Let’s see what they do tomorrow. They are still a very physical team, a very direct team. They still are a team that rely heavily on set pieces so we know about it and need to be ready. We expect a tough one again.”
Brentford manager, Thomas Frank, meanwhile, says “Everyone came back fresh and available. We are ready to go and are looking forward to the game. I hope we perform well and get a result because we have been close against the top six clubs. It will be unbelievably difficult going to Stamford Bridge against a top Chelsea side. Thomas Tuchel and his staff have done an unbelievable job under very tough circumstances. We haven’t had the margins with us in these bigger games so, hopefully, we can get some points in games where all the bookmakers say we have no chance.
They are a team of World Class players. They are a team, with a coach, who won the Champions League last year and who have a chance to win it again this year. If we can go there and win, it will be the result of the season for us. We will go there and do everything we can. We know they are massive favourites and nine out of ten times they will win.”
For Chelsea, Ben Chilwell (knee), remains our long-term absentee, and Callum Hudson-Odoi (Achilles) also remains out. Reece James (muscular) returns and Andreas Christensen, Saul Niguez and Kepa Arrizabalaga are also available.
For Brentford, Julian Jeanvier is a long-term absentee, but there are no new fitness concerns and Josh Dasilva returns after a three-match ban.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Kovacic; Ziyech, Mount, Werner; Havertz
BRENTFORD (Possible line-up): Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Norgaard, Jensen; Mbeumo, Eriksen, Wissa; Toney
CURRENT FORM (ALL)
- Chelsea are unbeaten in eight meetings with Brentford in all competitions since 1939.
- Brentford have failed to score in six of their last seven competitive games against Chelsea.
- Chelsea have their last 6 in all competitions and their last five in the Premier League.
- Chelsea haven’t won three in a row at home in the league since the end of the 2019-20 season
- Chelsea have won six of their seven London derbies in the league this season.
- Brentford conceded just once in their opening three Premier League away games but have done so in each of the subsequent 12 such games.
- Brentford have lost six of their last seven Premier League away games.
- Brentford have lost nine games in all competitions this calendar year.
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-0 Brentford