Delirious Brentford stun Chelsea with first win over Blues since the war
Chelsea (0) 1 Rudiger 48
Brentford (0) 4 Janelt 50, 60 Eriksen 54, Wissa 88
Thomas Frank told Christian Eriksen this week that he was delighted for the Dane scoring twice on his return to the international fold and hoped he had saved some of the same for his club.
It turns out he had – and it underscored a glorious afternoon for the Bees as Vitaly Janelt struck twice and Yoane Wissa once in a stunning victory for the Bees.
It was surely their best result in a thrilling season. Certainly it was the best since the opening weekend win against Arsenal.
It was their first victory over their neighbours since before the war. Not that the teams have crossed swords too many times over the years, such has been the difference in status. Days like this don’t come around too often.
Almost certainly it means more Premier League football next season – the chances of being sucked into danger now receding further into the rearview mirror.
For Chelsea, it was a chastening afternoon and hardly ideal preparation for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday against Real Madrid.
Eriksen’s miracle comeback from that near-fatal heart attack last summer is the stuff of legend and he has had a stunning impact on the field for both club and country.
Scoring for the Danes against Serbia on Wednesday and Holland a few days earlier signalled a huge moment in his recovery and he chose a west London derby to mark another glorious chapter.
His goal was the icing on the cake after another classy display of calmness in possession, vision and ability to make telling passes. He has transformed the Bees from what had become an increasingly timid and limited outfit into one that can see all sorts of possibilities.
Eriksen’s strike came moments after Janelt had cancelled out a glorious strike from Antonio Rudiger and was followed by another from the German as the Bees entered dream land.
There was more to come too, as Wissa came off the bench to thump home from close range after Ethan Pinnock had reached a lofted pass from Christian Norgaard into the danger area and the Blues failed to clear their lines.
Long before the end, home fans had deserted in droves, leaving Stamford Bridge to the delirious visiting fans.
There was a certain logic to the win in many ways given the way the Bees began the contest.
They had looked in the mood to hustle from the word go. Eriksen clipped a free kick just over the bar, while Edouard Mendy – whose heroics in the first meeting between the clubs this season guided the Blues to a lucky 1-0 win - was twice almost beaten by Ivan Toney.
The Senegal keeper is fresh from taking part in that dramatic world cup qualifying win over Egypt in midweek and he looked understandably less than fully on the case. Mendy’s mishit pass offered the Bees striker a great chance from the edge of the box, with the keeper way off his line. But the chip was too high.
Moments later, Toney sent a low shot arrowing just inside Mendy’s near post but he got down well to save. The confident yellow shirts kept swarming forward and soon Toney was sending a header just over.
It took a while for the Blues to settle and find any kind of rhythm, such was the early excellence of the buoyant visitors. Ruben Loftus-Cheek worked his way into position to drill a left footer at David Raya which was easily held and it had taken half an hour to really test the keeper in any way.
Mason Mount volleyed at the keeper from a difficult chance as a crossed ball dipped over his left shoulder. Antonio Rudiger whisked a shot just past a post from outside the area.
Hakim Ziyech went even closer with a left footer from 18 yards which needed to be helped over the crossbar.
The momentum looked to be building in the home side’s favour and that feeling grew when, less than three minutes after the restart, Rudiger chanced his arm from 35 yards and saw his sweet curling effort beat David Raya and cannon into the net off a post.
But the Blues had hardly stopped celebrating when the Bees struck back through Janelt – the German on the end of a ball poked into his path by Bryan Mbeumo.
And home jaws dropped further when Eriksen got on the end of Mbeumo’s ball in from the left to lift the ball over Mendy into the roof of the net.
Before they knew it, it was three as Janelt ghosted through onto Toney’s through ball and calmly lifted the ball over Mendy to send the away support into raptures.
The afternoon could hardly have gone better. Except it did, when Wissa came on to rub more salt into a very raw wound. “Champions of Europe, you’re having laugh,” chorused ecstatic Bees fans, who also chanted: “We want five!”
Chelsea (4-3-3): Mendy – Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Alonso (James 56) – Mount, Loftus-Cheek, Kante (Lukaku 65) – Ziyech, Havertz, Werner (Kovacic 65). Subs not used: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Jorginho, Niguez, Barkley, Sarr
Brentford: (5-3-2): Raya – Roerslev, Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry – Eriksen, Norgaard, Janelt (Jensen 81) – Mbeumo (Wissa 85), Toney. Subs not used: Fernandez, Canos, Ghoddos, Zanka, Fosu-Henry, Baptiste, Sorensen