Chelsea will look to continue the winning run under Graham Potter when they face Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium on Wednesday.
The games continue to come thick and fast across Europe. And Gameweek 12 of the 2022/23 Premier League season gets underway this week, just 48 hours after the previous round of fixtures ended. The action on Wednesday will feature the bigwigs, with Chelsea locking horns with Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Brentford’s second season in the Premier League has not encountered the dreaded “second season syndrome”. The Bees are instead showing promising signs to finish in the top half of the Premier League table. Thomas Frank’s men are currently ninth in the standings, with their 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion being another positive outcome.
On the other hand, Graham Potter continues to oversee a revolution at Chelsea, with the Blues undefeated under his tutelage. The west Londoners are currently on a five-game winning run, with the latest success coming in the 2-0 victory over Aston Villa. And while a title challenge might not materialise, Chelsea will be in a healthy position to seal a top-four spot.
The corresponding fixture last season was a cagey affair that saw Chelsea clinch a 1-0 win. Ben Chilwell scored the winner, with Edouard Mendy keeping Brentford at bay. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
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"We are very good at the Gtech Stadium, and we can be a threat to any team in the division. We need to prove it again tomorrow by coming out with great aggression and being very brave to get the game to the way we want to play it"#BrentfordFC | #BRECHE pic.twitter.com/dRxhklqOyv
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) October 18, 2022
Thomas Frank does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Chelsea. On Wednesday, the Brentford manager will be bereft of the services of four first-team players.
Pontus Jansson (hamstring) is the major absentee for the hosts. But the Brentford captain will be back in action by next week. Thomas Strakosha (ankle), Christian Norgaard (Achilles), and Aaron Hickey (ankle) will be the other players on the sidelines against Chelsea.
Frank has utilised the 4-3-3 formation this season. And the Brentford manager should persist with the system against Chelsea, hoping to have a numerical advantage in the middle of the park. And David Raya picks himself between the sticks.
Ben Mee and Ethan Pinnock should pair up at the heart of the Brentford defence, with Kristoffer Ajer and Rico Henry being the full-backs. The wide duo will largely help form a flat back four but will also have offensive responsibilities. Henry, in particular, will be a menace with his looping crosses.
Mathias Jensen has been the workhorse for Brentford this season. And the Danish midfielder will look to push his team forward on transitions. Vitaly Janelt will deputise for Norgaard at the base of the Brentford midfield, with Frank Onyeka likely completing the trifecta.
Ivan Toney continues to go from strength to strength for Brentford, who will look to tie him down to a new contract soon. The English striker will spearhead the attack against Chelsea, with Bryan Mbuemo and Yoane Wissa supporting him from the flanks.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Raya; Ajer, Pinnock, Mee, Henry; Jensen, Janelt, Onyeka; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa
Like his counterpart in the Brentford dugout, Graham Potter will the same squad to the Brentford Community Stadium that took on Aston Villa on Sunday. The Chelsea manager will be without three first-team players on Wednesday.
Potter had been sweating over the fitness of Thiago Silva, who sustained a minor thigh issue. But the Brazilian defender should be fit and available to take on Brentford. Wesley Fofana (knee), N’Golo Kante (hamstring), and Reece James (knee) are the other absentees for Chelsea.
Kepa Arrizabalaga seems to have nailed down his spot between the sticks. And the Spaniard should start ahead of Edouard Mendy again on Wednesday, with Chelsea lining up in a 3-4-3 formation.
Watch Graham Potter look ahead to our game with Brentford! https://t.co/0qA7REPqem
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 18, 2022
Silva might miss out even if he is unavailable, considering the short changeover between the two games. Cesar Azpilicueta will likely replace the veteran Brazilian in the central defensive unit. And the Chelsea captain should join Trevoh Chalobah and Kalidou Koulibaly at the back.
Raheem Sterling featured as the right wing-back against Aston Villa. But Ruben Loftus-Cheek will likely reprise the role on Wednesday. Ben Chilwell should continue on the opposite flank, with Marc Cucurella missing out again. Jorginho should pair up with Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park, taking up Loftus-Cheek’s vacant spot.
Mason Mount was sensational against Aston Villa. And the Englishman will be the creator-in-chief for Chelsea against Brentford. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will spearhead the attack, with Sterling likely moving into the final third.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Koulibaly; Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Aubameyang, Sterling
- Brentford will be looking to win back-to-back league games against Chelsea for the first time since February 1939, following their 4-1 win at Stamford Bridge in April. The away side won all three meetings between Brentford and Chelsea in all competitions last season, with the Blues picking up two victories at the Brentford Community Stadium (1-0 league, 2-0 League Cup).
- Brentford have failed to score in four of their six home London derbies in the Premier League (W2 D2 L2), winning the only two games in which they found the net (2-0 against both Arsenal and West Ham United last season).
- Chelsea have won nine of their last 10 away London derbies in the Premier League, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. Their only defeat in this run was at West Ham United in December last season (2-3).
- Chelsea have won their last five games in all competitions, winning each of the last four without conceding. They last had a longer winning run while keeping a clean sheet each time in January/February 2007 (6).
- Ivan Toney has scored six goals in his last five Premier League games, accounting for 75 per cent of Brentford’s total in these matches (6/8). Overall, Toney has scored 30 per cent of the Bees’ Premier League strikes, the highest rate of any player for a team in the competition.
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Toney has been nothing short of brilliant for Brentford and is knocking on the door of the English national side. The player has also attracted many Premier League bigwigs, including Tottenham Hotspur. And Toney will be the danger man against Chelsea this Wednesday.
The 26-year-old has netted 30 per cent of Brentford’s Premier League goals this season. So Chelsea will know that the key to stopping the Bees is to keep Toney quiet. But the English striker will be determined to continue his fine run of form with another game-changing display.
Brentford 1-2 Chelsea
Brentford gave Chelsea a run for their money last season and will likely take the game to them again. But the Bees have not won any of their six Premier League games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays (D1 L5), with their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace this season their only point in such fixtures.
Meanwhile, the Blues are currently on their longest winning run in a decade and a half. And Chelsea should continue to build momentum on Wednesday, albeit with a nervy victory. The Hard Tackle predicts a cagey affair between Chelsea and Brentford, with Graham Potter’s men clinching a 2-1 win.