A goal from Ben Chilwell at the end of the first half was enough to give Chelsea three points and leave Brentford with nothing from the Premier League West London derby. The visitors struck in the final minute of the first period and held on as Brentford fought back after the break. Bryan Mbeumo hit the post twice as The Bees pressed for a point without success.
Brentford will be disappointed they did not take anything from the game. The first half saw few chances, but The Bees hit the post before Chilwell struck the only goal of the game late. The last half hour was all Brentford, but they could not find a way through, and Chelsea took the win.
There was no real pattern to the game in the early stages. Chelsea were on the front foot in the first minutes and found some space in midfield. They almost exploited it when Ruben Loftus-Cheek was able to weave through, Timo Werner looked as if he had found space in the penalty area, but Mathias Jensen made a recovery tackle and the danger was averted.
The visitors, who started the day at the top of the Premier League table, had most of the ball in the opening exchanges. They looked to get wing backs Chilwell and César Azpilicueta high up the pitch to stretch the Brentford back line. It also forced Sergi Canós and Rico Henry, playing wide for The Bees, back in to defensive roles. Romelu Lukaku lashed a free kick over from distance, but Chelsea did not create much with their possession in the first half hour.
Brentford varied their play in the first half hour of the contest. They played in to midfield when they could, albeit they occasionally played in to difficulty at times, but were also happy to look to play it in behind Chelsea for Mbeumo to run on to. The Bees also won some set pieces, which enabled them to test Chelsea, and the first real moment of note started with a long throw.
The Bees worked it short and Zanka delivered a cross that was met by Ivan Toney, but his header deflected wide. The corner was half cleared by Chelsea, but only as far as Canós. The cross to the far post was met by Ethan Pinnock, his header was nodded by Christian Nørgaard in to the path of Mbeumo, the shot from ten yards beat Édouard Mendy but cannoned off the post.
Brentford tried to keep Chelsea penned in, but Pontus Jansson was unable to get to the ball as it flew around the penalty area and the visitors broke away at speed, taking defenders out of the equation. Werner sped away down the left, drew Henry and was able to get away from him to deliver a cross that Lukaku placed past David Raya and in to the net. Fortunately for Brentford, the flag of Assistant Referee Adam Nunn was raised, and Video Assistant Referee Paul Tierney confirmed the decision was the correct one.
A mad 15 seconds when both teams could have scored was as close as either came until the dying seconds of the half. A Mateo Kovačić free kick deflected wide off a defensive wall and Werner got on to a half cleared cross to steer a shot over from the edge of the penalty area. At the other end, Nørgaard won possession deep in Chelsea territory but the cross-cum-shot from Mbeumo was held by Mendy.
Just when it looked like the game would reach the interval all square, Chelsea struck. The visitors got men in to attacking areas and worked an overload on the right. N’Golo Kanté set up Azpilicueta for a cross that was half cleared and reached Chilwell on the edge of the area. He steadied himself and fired a shot past Raya and in to the net.
There was still time for Brentford to push forward and look for a response before the break. The Bees won a free kick and Jensen crossed for Toney, but his header was blocked, and Referee Anthony Taylor decided that was the end of the half. Chelsea had the first sight of goal after the restart when Kovačić got on to a half cleared corner but blasted it over the top.
There was little action in either penalty area at the start of the second half. Chelsea continued to have most of the ball, but they mostly played in front of Brentford’s defence. Kanté almost opened Brentford up with a run from deep but the resulting shot from Werner was blocked by Pinnock. Lukaku smashed the loose ball over the bar from an offside position.
Brentford had forced Chelsea in to some desperate defending when Henry found Canós from a half-cleared corner. Canós chipped a cross to the far post and it took a header at full stretch from Malang Sarr to prevent a free header. Brentford were looking for a leveller and when they made a pair of attacking substitutions, they swung the game in their favour.
Marcus Forss came on for Frank Onyeka to supplement Brentford’s attacking options and Saman Ghoddos followed, replacing Canós as a right wing back. The last 20 minutes was Brentford pour forward, throwing men in to the penalty area. The Bees put a series of balls in to the penalty area, forcing Chelsea back and testing their back line.
It took a superb save high to his left from Mendy to keep out a Toney shot when Pinnock had flicked a long throw in to his path. Forss then fed a Nørgaard pass in to the on running Mbeumo. The shot beat Mendy this time, but cannoned away off the post, the woodwork denying Mbeumo, and Brentford, for the second time.
Forss and Ghoddos saw shots blocked as the last ten minutes approached and Chelsea stood firm. But they were rocking. A Toney cross reached the far post and Ghoddos got around the back, he got a shot away, but Mendy blocked it and kept his team in front. The ball bobbled around, Nørgaard found space to flick it towards goal but Trevor Chalobah smashed it off the line.
Nørgaard had another shot blocked as the minutes ticked down but Mendy was turning in to the game’s key man. Pinnock headed a cross down and Jansson fired it towards goal, only for Mendy to make himself big and keep it out. Ghoddos had a shot blocked in stoppage time and Mendy denied Brentford again. A Pinnock cross reached Nørgaard inside the area, he managed to fire in an overhead effort that Mendy pushed over the bar. Chelsea cleared the late set pieces and got their win.
Brentford: Raya; Zanka, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós (sub Ghoddos 72 mins), Onyeka (sub Forss 66 mins), Nørgaard, Jensen, Henry; Toney, Mbeumo
Subs (not used): Fernández, Roerslev, Ajer, Thompson, Maghoma, Bidstrup, Goode
Bookings: Canós (32 mins)
Chelsea: Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Sarr; Azpilicueta (sub, Kanté, Loftus-Cheek, Kovačić (sub Mount 65 mins), Chilwell; Lukaku (sub Havertz 77 mins), Werner
Subs (not used): Arrizabalaga, Alonso, Jorginho, Saúl, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, James
Bookings: Kovačić (18 mins)
Attendance: 16,940 (1,725 away fans)