Bees love their trip to Chelsea again as they add to Lampard's woes
Chelsea (0) 0
Brentford (1) 2 Azpilicueta og 36, Mbeumo 77
For Brentford, there has been a feeling of a long limp home after a muscle strain picked up late into an epic voyage.
But not tonight. Their first win in seven games was another to savour on his fantastic second trek through the badlands of the Premier League.
It is their moneyed local rivals who are even more crocked as the season enters the final furlong – and they have a caretaker boss who has lost five out of five.
After a dip in form and results which led to a sixth game without a win in the draw with Villa at the weekend, it is incredible that they still held a five-point lead over Chelsea at kick-off. But it tells you everything about the state of play in west London at the moment.
Both Brentford and Fulham look odds-on to finish above their supposed superiors in the final table.
Thomas Frank’s men once seemed to occupy a very distant planet from Chelsea, let alone a distant division. But last year’s Christian Eriksen-inspired 4-1 demolition of the Blues in their own back yard was quite a way to announce their presence within the same orbit.
“Are you Fulham in disguise?” Bees fans taunted the Blues. And that was the more polite chant.
“West London is ours,” they also chanted. Home fans who booed their team at half-time and full-time would presumably agree.
With only one goal scored in their last seven games now – that coming in a home defeat to Brighton – and Champions League elimination at the hands of Real Madrid, the Blues’ story has been one of an even more alarming slide.
No number of managerial changes seems to have resolved their problems.
The game was frankly low on quality. But the Bees have developed a healthy habit of winning matches without needing to be brilliant.
David Raya was worked more than Chelsea’s Kepa early on. He had to get down well to stop a Thiago Silva header from creeping in and tipped over a fierce Enzo Fernandez effort.
But from an inswinging Mathias Jensen corner, a hapless Cesar Azpilicueta helped the ball into the corner of the net to put the troubled hosts on the back foot once more.
With Chelsea in almost snooze mode, it seemed to bode well for the Bees, but Chelsea roused themselves after the interval, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang making a rare appearance off the bench to shake things up.
Raheem Sterling suddenly looked interested, while Ethan Pinnock and Ben Mee suddenly found themselves under pressure for the first time.
But the Bees kept their shape well and had a star man on the bench themselves who could make a difference and from a counter-attack, Bryan Mbeumo had a back-peddling Chelsea defence all at sea as he raced into the area before unleashing a fine shot beyond Kepa.
It summed the way the two clubs will see their respective seasons when the dust settles in a few weeks.
Blues: (3-4-2-1) Kepa – Fofana, Thiago Silva, Chalobah – Azpilicueta (Aubameyang h/t), Fernandez (Joao Felix 79), Kovacic, Chilwell – Kante, Gallagher (Mudryk h/t) – Sterling (Madueke 80). Subs not used: Badiashile, Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Mendy, Ziyech
Bees: (5-3-2) Raya – Roerslev, Zanka, Pinnock, Mee, Henry (Hickey 90) – Jensen (Baptiste 62), Onyeka (Damsgaard 62), Janelt – Toney (Schade 82), Wissa (Mbeumo 62) – Subs not used: Dasilva, Cox Ghoddos, Stevens