Brentford 0-1 Chelsea: Ben Chilwell goal and Edouard Mendy late heroics sends Blues back to top of Premier League

Free match highlights and report as Ben Chilwell's first-half goal, his third in three games for club and country, gives Chelsea all three points at west London neighbours; Edouard Mendy makes three outstanding saves late on to secure win for Blues

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win at Brentford in the Premier League.

Ben Chilwell's first-half strike sent Chelsea back to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Brentford, thanks in large part to Edouard Mendy's late heroics.

Bryan Mbeumo hit the post for Brentford in the first half, while Timo Werner missed two fine chances for the visitors, but Chelsea went into the break ahead through Chilwell's half volley from just inside the area (45), his third goal in three games for club and country.

Mbeumo hit the post again in the second half before Mendy saved brilliantly three times late on, first from sub Saman Ghoddos, then with his face from Pontus Jansson at point-blank range, before tipping over Christian Norgaard's stunning overhead kick in stoppage time.

Ben Chilwell celebrates after scoring the opening goal (Paul Terry/CSM via ZUMA Wire)
Image: Ben Chilwell celebrates after scoring the only goal

After wins for Liverpool and Man City earlier on Saturday, the pressure was on Chelsea to keep up the pace in what promises to be a tight title race, and they returned to the top of the pile with their sixth win of the season.

Brentford lost for just the second time this term, and are seventh after eight games.

Player ratings

Brentford: Raya (6), Henry (6), Pinnock (6), Jansson (6), Zanka (5), Canos (5), Norgaard (7), Onyeka (6), Jensen (6), Mbeumo (7), Toney (6)

Subs: Forss (6), Ghoddos (6)

Chelsea: Mendy (9), Azpilicueta (6), Sarr (7), Christensen (7), Chalobah (6), Chilwell (8), Kovacic (6), Kante (7), Loftus-Cheek (7), Werner (6), Lukaku (5)

Subs: Mount (6), Havertz (NA), James (NA)

Man of the match: Edouard Mendy

Why Chelsea had Mendy to thank for three points...

It was three years to the day since Frank took over at Brentford, and his side had the first big chance of the game midway through the first period.

After receiving Norgaard's header down in the area, Mbeumo snatched at his opportunity eight yards out, hitting into the ground and off the post. Chelsea broke instantly through Werner, who squared for Romelu Lukaku to tap home, only for the Belgian to be ruled offside, but it was a sign of things to come.

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Mbeumo hits the post, Lukaku goal disallowed

Werner, who has now started the last three Premier League games, had a golden chance to put Chelsea ahead, striking high and wide from the edge with plenty of the goal to aim at after Lukaku had held the ball up well.

Nobody could criticise Werner's ability to get into dangerous positions as he was found in behind moments later by Cesar Azpilicueta, but once again Werner's end product was just missing as he opted to square for Lukaku instead of shoot, allowing Pontus Jansson to intercept.

Chelsea did take the lead on the stroke of half-time through a brilliantly controlled Chilwell finish. Battling with Jansson to get a connection on Azpilicueta's cross, Lukaku lost out to the defender, but the ball popped out kindly for Chilwell, who smashed into the net from 15 yards.

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Chilwell slams in Chelsea opener

It marked a fine month to date for Chilwell, who scored his first goal for England against Andorra last Saturday, following what his manager Thomas Tuchel described as a difficult summer period for him having not played a minute at Euro 2020.

Team news

Brentford made one change as Jensen replaced the injured Baptiste, while both Janelt and Wissa missed out on the squad due to injury.

Chelsea made three changes as Sarr made his Premier League bow, coming in alongside Christensen and Kante. Silva, Hudson-Odoi and the injured Rudiger dropped out.

Lukaku blazed over a sitter from eight yards in the second half, though the offside flag did spare his blushes, but Brentford grew into the game as the half wore on.

Mendy reacted well to beat away Toney's shot into the ground from a Zanka flick on at a throw-in, before Mbeumo hit the woodwork again, shooting low against the right post after sub Marcus Forss had laid it on.

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Mbeumo hits the post again!

The home crowd could smell an equaliser as Brentford bombarded Chelsea's box aerially - the pressure was "relentless", said Gary Neville on co-commentary - as Mendy's heroics kept Chelsea ahead. First, he bravely blocked Ghoddos down low, before stopping Jansson's point-blank effort with his head as Brentford threw everything at goal.

Mendy arguably kept the best for last, tipping over Norgaard's effort after the midfielder had controlled the ball with his back to goal and produced an overhead kick from 10 yards. After the game, Chilwell aptly described the onslaught as "hell on earth".

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Save No 1 - Mendy denies Ghoddos

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Save No 2 - Then again at point-blank range from Jansson

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Save No 3 - Mendy then denies Norgaard's overhead kick in stoppage time

Despite the defeat, the feel-good factor around Brentford was maintained as players did a lap of honour for their appreciative support, while Chelsea showed the hallmark of title-contenders again by winning while nowhere near their best.

Neville: Chelsea showing title credentials

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Gary Neville is confident that Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side can mount a serious title challenge against Manchester City and Liverpool.

Sky Sports' Gary Neville:

"City's performance at Chelsea a few weeks ago was incredible, but I do feel this Chelsea team are resilient and are tough to play against. I can't think that any team in the league would like to play against them.

"I know Brentford have enjoyed the last 10 to 15 minutes, but this was a tough game for them for the first 70-80 minutes. They couldn't get into it, they had to change and they had a bit of joy at the end.

"That was a Chelsea team that had a few players missing as well, and they've got so many to come back. They had so many good players coming off the bench too, so I feel they've got a great shout of winning the title."

What the managers said...

Brentford boss Thomas Frank on Sky Sports: "I'm very proud of our performances. Over the 90 minutes, there can only be one certain winner and that's us by a large margin in terms of how many chances we created. Five big chances. We kept the champions of Europe, the number one in Premier League to five shots in the whole game.

"That's very impressive. I know they dominated the ball a little bit more in the first half but in the end, we were all over them. I'm pleased with that and it's what we need to build on going forward.

"They nicked a win. They got a very, very lucky win here today and that's why it's so impressive. Three months ago, four months ago they won the Champions League and we got promoted through the play-offs. That's why it's very impressive what we're doing out there. If you play this game again, we win nine out of 10. It should be the other way around. I really want to build on this."

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Thomas Frank was proud of Brentford’s performance against Chelsea, saying the European champions were very lucky to escape with the win.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel on Sky Sports: "This clean sheet is down to Edou today. Maybe not the cleanest sheet we ever had but very important to get the three points. In the end, the last 20 minutes was suddenly a cup game! They had nothing to lose, they found some momentum with the crowd and suddenly it seemed like we had one player less on the field.

"They put six, seven guys into the box constantly, we were not clear enough in the challenges, and in the first touches and second touches they had more belief.

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Thomas Tuchel was happy with his side’s performance for most of the match against Brentford but admits the Bees’ late chances made it like a cup final.

"They played like the attitude in a cup game. We focused too much on defending. I was happy with the first 65, 70 minutes. We should have scored one more.

Opta stats

  • Brentford remain winless in seven matches against Chelsea in all competitions (D1 L6), losing each of the last three by an aggregate scoreline of 9-0.
  • Chelsea are the first side from the capital, to win seven consecutive away London derbies in English Football League history.
  • Chelsea have conceded just three goals from their first eight Premier League games this season (5 clean sheets), the fewest they have conceded at this stage of a season since 2010-11 (2).
  • Brentford have hit the woodwork seven times in the Premier League this season (twice in this game), more than any other side.

What's next?

Brentford now host Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday October 24 at 2pm, while Chelsea host Malmo in the Champions League at 8pm on Wednesday October 20 before welcoming Norwich at 12.30pm on Saturday October 23.

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