Brentford piled yet more misery on Chelsea as the Bees inflicted Frank Lampard’s fifth loss in a row since taking charge, winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
All of Chelsea’s positive attacking play came in the second half, but even by then it seemed like a case of too little too late as their struggles to find the net continued over a well-oiled Brentford side.
N’Golo Kanté and Thiago Silva went close with two half-chances in the first-half but nothing that was too troubling for David Raya in the Brentford net- as the visitor’s defence was nerveless in the presence of a toothless attacking display from Chelsea.
It is now just one goal in seven games Lampard’s side.
Cesar Azpilicueta’s return to the side was marred by an own goal just before half-time as Brentford went ahead without even registering a shot on target.
Lampard did tweak his system in the second half and it nearly paid dividends when substitute Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang squandered a hat-trick of chances- further illuminating Chelsea’s need for a striker in the summer market.
Brentford did what they do best and soaked up all the pressure Chelsea had to give and hit their opposition on the counter with a devasting move which substitute Bryan Mbeumo finished off emphatically.
With Mauricio Pochettino tipped to become the next Chelsea manager the mission in front of the Argentine is monumental. If he wasn’t aware of the work that needs to be done with this drastically stagnating Chelsea side, he sure does now.
It is now the club’s worst run in all competitions since 1993.
How Brentford stormed the Bridge once again:
The opening exchanges of the game were as brutal as any game you may have witnessed this season.
Neither side was able to string a succession of passes together and the atmosphere inside the ground did not help Chelsea’s cause at all.
The feeling inside Stamford Bridge reflected Chelsea’s current situation in the league; nothing to play for so nothing to cheer for.
It took 15 minutes for Chelsea’s play to ignite the crowd as Mateo Kovacic combined with Ben Chilwell to send the latter away down the left flank. Chilwell fired in a teasing ball, but Ben Mee was well-positioned to clear the danger.
Chelsea dominated the possession throughout the opening 25 minutes but struggled to conjure up any incision to cut through the robust Brentford backline.
Their best moment of the half came when Enzo Fernández rattled one from outside the area that David Raya tipped over with relative ease.
Brentford didn’t register a shot on target in the first half but snatched the lead late in the first half and how simple it was. Mathias Jensen floated one in from the corner and unopposed in the area, Mathias Jørgensen glanced a header off the arm of César Azpilicueta as the ball trickled past a hapless Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The hosts did start the second half much better with the changes they made at half-time- with a switch to a back four and Mykhailo Mudryk and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s introduction offering more of an offensive threat.
Chelsea have been crying out for a prolific attacker for a while now and it was emphasised even more by the fact that N’Golo Kanté was creating all their best chances. The Frenchman went close minutes into the second half with a left-footed shot that whistled past the post.
Aubameyang did change Chelsea’s fortunes going forward, but he should have scored at least one out of the two massive chances he had in the start of the second half. First, he latched onto Raheem Sterling’s header across the box, but the former Arsenal man could only head onto the roof of the net from close range.
Minutes later he was released inside the box by Kovacic, but his shot was horribly scuffed and easy to claim for Raya.
Chelsea’s attacking impetuous gradually declined towards the hour mark which suited Brentford, who were looking quite content with holding on to what they had.
However, having soaked up the pressure they hit Chelsea with a classic sucker punch. Ivan Toney sent substitute Bryan Mbeumo away and the Cameroonian went it alone- skipping past Wesley Fofana and smashing one past Kepa at his near post via a defelction off Silva.
That was the killer blow for Chelsea who offered no signs of recovery in the remaining ten minutes as Brentford cantered to a comfortable win in the end.
Where do Chelsea go from here? In their remaining six fixtures, they still have to play Arsenal, both Manchester clubs and Newcastle. The Blues remain rooted in 11th whereas Brentford extend their gap over their opposition to eight and move into 9th- albeit with one more game played.