It was a tale of two Spanish goalkeepers as Brentford and Chelsea played out a thoroughly entertaining goalless draw at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Despite the lack of goals, there were no shortage of chances. Bryan Mbeumo passed up the best of Brentford’s openings, heading straight at Kepa from close range, while Ivan Toney was also twice denied by the Chelsea stopper. 

At the other end, Brentford’s defence stood firm against the Blues’ array of attacking talents to make it four points, and two clean sheets, at home in five days. 

The teams

With Aaron Hickey, like Pontus Jansson, out until after the World Cup break, Mads Roerslev came in at right wing-back for his first start since Manchester United.

Zanka filled the centre-back berth next to him, in place of Kristoffer Ajer.

Chelsea made five changes, with Graham Potter handing Armando Broja a first start up front alongside Kai Havertz, with Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic all waiting to come off the bench. 

Brentford: Raya; Roerslev, Zanka, Mee, Pinnock, Henry; Janelt (Ghoddos 90+2), Jensen (Dasilva 72), Onyeka (Baptiste 59); Mbeumo (Wissa 72), Toney

Subs not used: Cox, Canós, Ajer, Lewis-Potter, Damsgaard

Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Koulibaly, Cucurella (Pulisic 61); Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Gallagher (Kovačić 16); Mount (Chukwuemeka 61), Havertz (Aubameyang 81), Broja (Sterling 61)

Subs not used: Mendy, Silva, Zakaria, Ziyech

Attendance: 17,118

First half

Ivan Toney

Full of confidence from Friday’s victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, Thomas Frank’s Bees enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. 

With license to push on in a back five, Rico Henry was a constant threat down the left-hand side. It was his cross, following a neat exchange with Mathias Jensen and a lung-bursting run from inside his own half, which led to the first chance of the night. 

Initially, Toney found his path to goal blocked by Kepa and then, from Henry’s second ball in, Marc Cucurella was in the perfect position to take it off the toe of Mbeumo on the edge of the six-yard box. 

Brentford’s next threat came from the other flank as Roerslev whipped in a teasing ball, Toney met it with a powerful header but Kepa proved equal to the effort with a smart tip over the bar.  

Referee Jarred Gillett was asked a question shortly after as Mbeumo went down in the box under a challenge from behind by Ruben Loftus-Cheek but the Australian official quickly waved play on.

Kepa made it a hattrick of important interventions moments later by racing to the edge of his box to get in the way of Henry’s ball in, with Toney and Mbeumo waiting in the middle to pounce. 

The move to five at the back also gave Frank Onyeka and Jensen the freedom to push higher in the press, something Chelsea were finding difficult to play through.

To counter it, the Blues looked to go longer, using the pace of Broja up against the Brentford backline. And it worked. 

The Slough-born striker ran the channels well, bringing the supporting runners into play. Zanka had to be alert to cut off his attempted run on to Jorginho’s through ball before he was millimeters away from meeting César Azpilicueta’s wicked centre. 

By now the game had developed into a cracking, end-to-end, derby affair. Trevor Chalobah positioned himself perfectly to cut out Onyeka’s centre, destined for Mbeumo, before Kepa was called into action again, spreading himself well to beat away Toney’s flicked close-range header.

At the other end, Azpilicueta brought a smart save out of Raya with a low, skimming drive from the edge of the box. Broja’s pace had created that opening and he repeated the trick the next time Chelsea came forward. 

On this occasion, Mee managed to do enough to slow the forward’s run with a crucial last-man challenge that forced him wide and allowed Brentford defenders to recover. When the Albanian did get his shot off from a tight angle it was tamely into the side netting.

Henry was the next in red and white to time their challenge on Broja to perfection as he tried to take down Cucurella’s floated cross. 

There was just enough time before the interval for both sides to have one final attack. Toney’s attempts to create a better shooting opportunity for himself were thwarted by Kalidou Koulibaly while Loftus-Cheek lashed over as a loose ball dropped to him 25 yards out. 

Second half

David Raya

Brentford started the second period in the ascendancy and had a glorious chance to take the lead five minutes into the half.

Roerslev got forward once again and sent in a cross that landed flush on the head of Mbeumo eight yards out. The forward made good contact with his effort but it was straight at Kepa who gratefully clutched it to his chest. 

The Bees’ good spell saw Toney power a header off target and Chalobah block another Mbeumo effort before Chelsea called for the cavalry on the hour. Sterling, Christian Pulisic and Carney Chukwuemeka were all introduced and quickly made their mark on the game. 

Mee bravely blocked a long-range Pulisic effort with his face while Raya was pleased to beat away Havertz’s swerving strike from just inside the D. 

For all their possession, Chelsea were finding it difficult to carve out clear-cut chances against a well-drilled Brentford backline and the Bees were still creating chances of their own.

Mbeumo spotted Kepa well off his line and went for an ambitious effort from well inside his own half, the Spanish keeper back tracking quickly and fielding. Good industry from Yoane Wissa created an opportunity for Henry, which ended up in the side netting, via an Azpilicueta deflection unseen by the officials. 

As the game entered the final quarter, however, Raya’s goal came under more threat. Kovačić shot off target twice, either side of a crucial Pinnock interception which prevented Pulisic’s low cross reaching Havertz and Chukwuemeka waiting on the penalty spot.

With eight minutes to play, Brentford created one final opportunity on the break. Shandon Baptiste rolled a pass into Toney inside the area but, for the third time on the night, Kepa came out on top, making himself big and blocking Toney’s low drive. The ball was recycled out to Janelt on the edge of the box but he couldn’t create space to get a shot off. 

Chelsea then broke but again Zanka was in the right place to clear before Henry made a block tackle on Pulisic.

If that tackle was good, what came next from Pinnock was truly outstanding. Sterling bundled his way into the box and looked for all money like he was going to slide home from eight yards but Pinnock stretched out a leg and made a goal-saving block. 

That wasn’t the end of the danger, with Raya called into action on three occasions in injury-time.

Aubameyang’s low effort didn’t cause him too much concern, but Pulisic’s effort had to be beaten away as it moved through the air.

He saved the best for last, though. Chukwuemeka got down the left and sent a low drive towards goal from the angle of the six-yard box, but Raya stuck out his left leg to block the shot and ensure a share of the derby night spoils.

Reaction: Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank was delighted with his side’s performance against Chelsea and believed they deserved to win the game.

Reaction: Mads Roerslev

Mads Roerslev praised Brentford’s fearlessness following the Bees’ goalless draw with Chelsea.