Chelsea vs Brentford – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Wednesday 26th April 2023
As part of our midweek Premier League predictions, we take a look at Brentford’s visit to Stamford Bridge. Over the last 10 games, Chelsea are in 17th place; Brentford haven’t won in six. Stalemate? Read on with our Chelsea vs Brentford prediction.
Chelsea vs Brentford Match Preview
Chelsea come into this game in dire straits. They have been struggling all season, and the team’s issues on the park (and chaos surrounding the club off it) led to ex-coach Graham Potter’s removal after only six months. Frank Lampard’s return as caretaker manager has been a disaster thus far. Indeed, he has become the first Chelsea manager in their history to lose his first four games in charge. A loss at Wolves has joined defeats to Real Madrid in both legs of the Champions League quarter-finals and defeat in their last game to Brighton. Brighton (who have been good all season) were the better side and deserved the victory.
Chelsea had the weekend off as they didn’t have a match due to FA Cup semi-final commitments of others. Theoretically, the Blues should be rested for this clash with fellow London opponents. However, if anything, Chelsea have looked even worse this season when they have an erratic schedule and are playing less often. Chelsea have only won six of their 16 home games and are 12th in the home table. They are 11th in the Premier League table, and with 39 points from 31 games, they have been nothing like their usual selves. They have also lost five of their last seven games, drawing the other two.
Brentford travel across London also in poor form. The Bees haven’t won in the Premier League for six games, which will be a massive disappointment to coach Thomas Frank after an impressive second season in the Premier League. This run includes losses to Man Utd, Newcastle and Wolves. Furthermore, Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz scored a late equaliser at the Gtech this weekend to deny Brentford a much-needed victory.
Away from home, Brentford have lost the last two. However, their problem is that they draw too many games (similar to their home form, which is generally good, but still). With seven draws away and only three wins in 16, Brentford don’t tend to go to other stadiums and defeat sides. With Anfield and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to go to after this fixture, they will hope they can do something against a chaotic Spurs in the latter. With 44 points from 32 games, Brentford are safe and hope to get back on track in this fixture.
The reverse fixture was goalless. Indeed, Chelsea have kept a clean sheet against Brentford in five of their previous six games (all competitions).
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Koulibaly, James, Mount, Havertz, Broja
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Ajer, Jansson, Norgaard, Lewis-Potter
Chelsea vs Brentford Lineups (Predicted)
Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Chilwell, Badiashile, Fofana, Azpilicueta; Kovacic, Fernandez, Kante; Felix, Sterling, Gallagher
Brentford (4-3-3): Raya; Henry, Mee, Pinnock, Hickey; Jensen, Onyeka, Janelt; Wissa, Toney, Mbeumo
Chelsea vs Brentford Analysis
Chelsea Are In Poor Form, But Will Likely Control Possession
As mentioned, Chelsea’s form has been awful all season, particularly in recent weeks. However, they remain a side with more of the ball in most matches, especially at Stamford Bridge. Hence, coming up against a Brentford side that so often concede possession and have completed far fewer passes than Chelsea, the Blues are highly likely to dominate the ball in this encounter and look for gaps and ways to break down Brentford in the final third.
Therefore, we anticipate Chelsea playing 4-3-3 to accommodate Kovacic, Kante, and the deeper-lying Fernandez in midfield. Gallagher, too, will drop in here from his nominal right-wing position as he is not a natural wide man. This formation should ensure that Chelsea retain the ball well. Indeed, Kovacic is extremely tidy on the ball and has it in him to break through the Brentford press, disrupting their shape.
Kante will be his usual tireless, energetic self and will look to make sure Brentford get no time in midfield (though whether all the injuries have seen him lose a step remains open to question). Fernandez must try to get on the ball and initiate attacks. He’s been dribbled past often in his short time at Chelsea, so he must be diligent when Brentford counter and not allow players to beat him with pace and skill on transitions.
Havertz is out, as is James at right-back. Therefore, Chilwell, Felix and Sterling will likely be Chelsea’s prime attacking threats and players such as Pulisic, Mudryk and Ziyech will also play a part. Chelsea must feed their wingers, who can then try to deliver crosses into the box for incoming players. They can also try to dribble with trickery to enter the box more cerebrally or come inside onto the centre-backs to shoot. The pace, dribbling ability and invention of the likes of Felix and Sterling will be crucial if Chelsea are to win.
Brentford Are Also Struggling. Their Physicality and Counter-Attacking Are Their Attributes
As covered earlier, Brentford are also experiencing struggles after a mainly impressive second season in the Premier League. Therefore, they make the trip across London probably with less confidence of repeating last season’s famous win in this fixture than they would have had a couple of months ago. Still, they possess plenty of quality. They will concede possession to Chelsea and maintain a compact shape, looking to impose their physicality and bully Chelsea. They also do well in the air, so we anticipate them playing many high balls and crosses.
The back four and Raya must be very disciplined and not allow any space for Chelsea’s forwards to exploit. Raya’s ability as a sweeper-keeper and distributor will be vital for Brentford in this match. These abilities can stop Chelsea counters and launch into their own quick attacks for Brentford. Raya’s passing out from the back must be composed in the face of a potential Chelsea high press.
Norgaard – one of Brentford’s best players – is out of this game, which is a blow as he sets the tone for the Bees in midfield. Therefore, Onyeka will likely come in alongside Jensen and one of Janelt or Dasilva. All three must press the Chelsea midfield heavily to transition into subsequent attacks. Dasilva especially has the cuteness to find space in midfield and evade the press. All these players work tirelessly and are good at getting forwards and sometimes supplementing the attack.
As stated, Brentford’s physicality is a massive plus. They’ll look to play balls directly down the channels and into the flanks for Mbeumo, Schade, Wissa and Toney to chase. These players love getting wide and outmuscling or taking on full-backs with their pace and dribbling, and they also like delivering crosses. The ability of these players to come inside and shoot and to get crosses into the box (supported by Henry and Hickey) is vital.
Also important will be Brentford’s ability from set pieces. They are a big, strong team who can take advantage of these situations against a vulnerable Chelsea side. Indeed, their power in both boxes could see them score from a corner or free kick. In more technical terms, the creative, diminutive Damsgaard is another possible participant in this game.
As both sides are in such poor form and have no momentum, this game becomes difficult to call. A month or two ago, we would be backing Brentford to show up at Stamford Bridge and bully their capital rivals. However, they are experiencing a lull, and Thomas Frank’s men’s confidence must be pretty low. They have been unlucky in some games recently but aren’t getting results.
Chelsea have been woeful for most of the season and well below their previous standard. Previous coach Graham Potter was hung out to dry, as he was handed a massive squad with no real cohesion or thought as to how the team would operate or how they could build chemistry on the pitch. Under Frank Lampard, things haven’t improved and arguably worsened.
Having blanked this weekend, Chelsea have had more rest than Brentford, which could help them in this game. However, we don’t trust them to win any game right now. Despite this, we considered giving them the benefit of the doubt and backing them to get a narrow 1-0 victory because of the Bees’ current struggles. With both teams enduring a difficult moment, though, a stalemate seems sensible to predict.
Chelsea 1-1 Brentford
Chelsea vs Brentford Betting Tip – Draw Odds:
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