Chelsea suffered their fifth consecutive defeat under interim manager Frank Lampard, as the Blues were beaten 2-0 by Brentford. Remarkably, Chelsea have now lost four London derbies in a Premier League (PL) season for the first time since 2001/02.
A bizarre atmosphere befell the usually raucous Stamford Bridge, as the Blues looked to put points on the board in a bid to avoid a first bottom-half finish since 1996. With empty seats galore, there was a tension in the air and it was certainly translating onto the Chelsea players, who were struggling to string passes together, let alone create a goalscoring threat.
Precious little quality was on display in a dreary first half in West London, with a Bees outfit that were winless in six games themselves also struggling to find their rhythm. With neither side able to carve out a decent opportunity, a slice of luck handed the visitors the lead as HT approached. A dangerous corner was whipped into a loaded 18-yard box, and César Azpilicueta inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net to silence an already muted home crowd.
The introductions of Mykhailo Mudryk and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brought about a change in system for the hosts at the break, and there was certainly a greater intent to their play, although an end product was still lacking. Aubameyang and Silva both saw headers come close to breaching the Bees’ rearguard, but David Raya remained largely unchallenged despite Chelsea’s absolute dominance of possession.
Wasted chances would come back to haunt the hosts, who were punished on the break in devastating fashion by Bryan Mbeumo. Cutting in from the right past a hapless Wesley Fofana, Mbeumo rifled a deflected effort past Kepa Arrizabalaga to secure the Bees’ first win since mid-March. Thomas Frank’s men leapfrog Fulham to take the lead in the West London mini-league unfolding in the middle of the PL table, while condemning Chelsea to a sixth consecutive league outing without a victory.
Man of the Match: David Raya Martin – Brentford