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  • By Yann Tear at Brentford Community Stadium

Brentford fail to cash in before big guns are brought on to send Chelsea into semi-finals

League Cup Quarter-Final

Brentford (0) 0

Chelsea (0) 2 Jansson og 80, Jorginho pen 85

Chelsea summoned the cavalry from the bench to book themselves another League Cup semi-final.

The Bees created the best chances before the break but the introduction of first-team regulars from a star-studded Blues bench transformed the night.

An own goal and a penalty did for the Bees, with Pontus Jansson planting the ball into the roof of his own net and Jorginho finishing it off with a typical ice-cool spot-kick.

Defeat will feel nowhere near as painful as it might have done in the past for the hosts, who are now part of the Premier League furniture.

Imagine how this fixture would have felt under the lights at Griffin Park a few years ago had it been the same two sides at the same stage of the competition.

The reality is that the novelty has quickly worn a trifle for the Bees and their contented fans.

League Cup quarter-final? Ticked that one off last year. Home game against Chelsea? Already done that this season. Biggest moment of the season? Highly unlikely. Those clashes against Arsenal and Liverpool have already felt way more significant and ground-breaking.

Chelsea, starting with three fringe kids owing to enforced Covid absenteeism and a second-half strategy to ramp it up, had the look of a pre-season lineup – as if first-teamers were engaged elsewhere in some lucrative clash with one of the Madrid teams in a Los Angeles tournament.

The visitors eked out a very lucky 1-0 win at the Brentford Community Stadium in October – thanks mainly to a fine array of saves from Edouard Mendy and once again Thomas Frank’s men were left frustrated by the opposition keeper.

This time it was the £71m Kepa Arrizabalaga – the world’s costliest keeper and these days the world’s costliest stand-in keeper - who thwarted ambitions.

He made three saves in the first half, though he should have had no chance on 12 minutes, when Yoane Wissa headed too close to him from six yards after getting on the end of a neat chip from Bryan Mbeumo.

Arrizabalaga also had to be alive when Rico Henry’s cross found the lurking Mathias Jensen – the header again at a comfortable height to keep out.

And he had to be even more switched on when long ball down the inside-left channel gave Henry a dart at goal and he was called upon to smother a dangerous moment.

Chelsea did not threaten too much. One of the new kids on the block, Jude Soonsup-Bell crossed for Ross Barkley to fire wide on the turn and Xavier Simons pinged one from outside the box straight at Alvaro Fernandez.

Their best chance fell to Harvey Vale, who might have done better when picked out for a free header by skipper Cesar Azpilucueta.

Thomas Tuchel was probably far from overjoyed with the first half display and threw on Jorginho and Christian Pulisic after the interval, with England pair Mason Mount and Reece James following suit just past the hour.

N’Golo Kane – who Tuchel had us believe beforehand would take no part – was also thrown on as the team took on more of a first-team appearance.

There were almost instant dividends from the introduction of James – the defender striking a firm angled free-kick which needed a save from Fernandez.

But then Kante’s swift feet released James down the right and a low cross was turned into his own net at the near post by a sliding Jansson.

Soon after, Pulisic was upended by Fernandez chasing a ball to the six-yard box and Jorginho stuck it home after his usual hop-skip final step.

Frank sent on Ivan Toney midway through the second half but he was unable to do by himself what the raft of Chelsea subs were able to do at the other end.

But as defeats go, this one will not hurt too much.

Bees: (3-5-2) Fernandez – Bech Sorensen, Jansson, Pinnock – Canos, Jensen (Forss 82), Janelt (Norgaard 66), Baptiste (Onyeka 74), Henry (Ghoddos 74) – Wissa (Toney 66), Mbeumo. Subs not used: Cox, Thompson, Peart-Harris, Stevens

Blues: (3-4-3) Arrizabalaga – Azpiluceta, Chalobah, Sarr – Simons (James 66), Kovacic (Jorginho h/t), Saul, Alonso – Vale (Mount 66), Soonsup-Bell (Pulisic h/t), Barkley (Kante 78). Subs not used: Bettinelli, Rudiger, Webster, Hall


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