Brentford 0-1 Chelsea – Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Brentford on Saturday, thanks to a stunning shot from Ben Chilwell and a great performance from Edouard Mendy.
Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Watford had knocked Thomas Tuchel’s team out of first place just hours before.
But Chelsea had the perfect response with a gritty victory in their first league meeting with their west London neighbours for 74 years.
Chilwell’s fiercely-struck goal in first half stoppage-time was enough to give Chelsea their sixth win in eight league games.
But Chelsea had to rely on a series of fine saves from Mendy in the closing stages before they could move one point clear of second placed Liverpool.
At the start of a five-game run of winnable league fixtures, Tuchel had warned his players not to expect an easy ride from Brentford and the Chelsea boss was proved right.
Just five months ago, the gulf between the clubs appeared huge as Chelsea won the Champions League on the day Brentford earned promotion to the top-flight for the first time since 1947.
However, Brentford had already bloodied the noses of two supposedly superior opponents this term, with Arsenal beaten at the Community Stadium and Liverpool held to a draw.
They pushed Chelsea to the brink as well with a spirited showing that suggested they won’t have to worry about a relegation battle.
Romelu Lukaku was without a club goal in his last five games and the Belgium striker misfired with Chelsea’s first shot of the game, bending a free-kick well off target.
Brentford nearly snatched the lead when a set-piece caused havoc in the Chelsea defence and Bryan Mbeumo slammed his shot against the post.
Tuchel’s men weren’t at their most fluent as Brentford worked tirelessly to deny them time and space.
GET IN THERE! 💪
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 16, 2021