They may have only been in the top flight for a matter of months but Brentford are letting the Premier League’s big boys know that they are not to be messed with.
Brentford are currently enjoying one of the best starts to a Premier League season for a newly-promoted side – and it’s by no fluke, either.
Bees boss Thomas Frank has his men well-drilled and has shown in a short space of time that they are cut out for the top tier having already toppled a number of well-established sides. Chelsea, who are Brentford’s next opponents in the Premier League this weekend, have been warned.
And they got their debut campaign in the Premier League off to the perfect start with an impressive 2-0 win over Arsenal on the opening day, showing fans exactly what is in store with their direct but exciting brand of football.
However, it was their thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool at the end of September that saw people stand up and take notice. Since that result, Brentford have gone on to pull off another impressive win against West Ham but they now have their sights on another London rival.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel will have kept a keen eye on Liverpool since the season began, with the two sides playing out a 1-1 at the end of August. However, it is Frank’s men who will be a cause for concern considering how many waves they’ve been making.
But let’s quickly revisit that 3-3 result with Liverpool last month.
When the Reds in town, Brentford refused to shy away from one of their toughest challenges to date and went toe-to-toe with Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Ethan Pinnock broke the deadlock shortly before the half-hour mark having seen Kristoffer Ajer make a superb goal-line clearance from Mohamed Salah down the other end shortly before.
It was a shock to the system for Liverpool but the feeling of pandemonium in the stands was becoming all-too familiar among the Brentford faithful.
While it only took a couple of minutes for Liverpool to equalise through Diogo Jota, Brentford kept their cool and saw out the first half feeling like they could cope with whatever was thrown at them.
Cue the second half and Jota was in again to score, the quickest to pounce after Curtis Jones’ shot smashed the post, but the Portuguese’s follow-up effort was superbly saved by David Raya.
Salah did eventually put Liverpool in front, after he saw his goal that was initially ruled offside overturned by VAR, but Brentford responded again through Vitaly Janelt – again with the chance coming from another cross.
But again, Liverpool showed just the mentality of a top side by re-taking the lead minutes later, with Jones’ fierce shot taking a deflection into Raya’s net leaving the hosts with it all to do.
The Bees stuck to their guns and executed Frank’s gameplan with the clock ticking down – pump balls into the box and continue to be a handful for Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.
This time it was substitute Yoane Wissa who would finish past Alisson, with the forward dinking the ball over Alisson to secure a well-deserved point at the Brentford Community Stadium.
While Liverpool dominated large spells of possession throughout the game, it was their inability to convert a number of their solid chances that ended up costing them, despite scoring three goals.
Klopp, along with Van Dijk and Matip, found out just how much of a handful the Bees’ strike partnership of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo were to defend.
Their aerial presence made the direct long balls were a constant issue, even for the Liverpool duo, while Toney can even have the ball played into feet.
All three of Brentford’s goals were the result of crosses into the box, with Frank instructing his men to do so whenever they could.
The hosts managed 10 crosses against Liverpool and Chelsea can certainly expect to face more of the same from out wide during their short trip across west London on Saturday.
Liverpool failed to put pressure on Sergi Canos and Rico Henry in those advance positions, who have more than enough quality to find the heads of either front man when given the chance.
While Tuchel will likely favour his 3-4-3 formation for the game against Brentford, which will help deal with Toney and Mbeumo’s threat, it was also mean he will have more men to flood the box and deal with crosses from Brentford’s marauding wingbacks.
And while Brentford will present a new challenge for Tuchel, there is good reason why his Chelsea side are top of the table.
Chelsea have conceded just three goals across their opening seven games this season, scoring 15 in the process.
Away from home, Chelsea have dropped just two points in their three games with the Blues easing past both north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham without reply.
A 2-0 win over the Gunners and a 3-0 victory against Spurs makes for good reading in local derbies but should Romelu Lukaku’s goalscoring touch continue to evade him on a domestic level, then Chelsea could be in trouble.
While Lukaku did end his five-game streak without a goal during the international break, the Blues will need their Belgium frontman to add to his three goals when they face Brentford.
But if the goals dry up, the backline struggle to contain Toney and Mbeumo and allow the raucous home fans to get behind their team, then Chelsea could very well be in for an early wake-up call – just ask Klopp and his Liverpool team.