Chelsea supporters around the globe will have been beckoning for the restart of the Premier League following the international break. After 45 minutes of play, they will still be waiting for the Blues to get going.
A few efforts from distance from the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount not withstanding, it was a tepid return to domestic action where Brentford dominated the opening exchanges before the half petered out.
The second half was a very different story. Rudiger opened with an explosive strike from distance to give the Blues the lead before Thomas Tuchel’s side were swiftly punished over the next 12 minutes to find themselves 3-1 down. Kai Havertz saw a goal disallowed and the Blues did push forward for the game but it was the Bees that once again had the clinical edge as Yoane Wissa capped off a fine afternoon for Thomas Frank’s side.
We take a look at the moments you may have missed during the game.
A new banner
While there were plenty of new signs adorning Stamford Bridge as the players emerged from the tunnel ahead of kick-off as part of the #NotoRicketts campaign, there was also a celebratory new addition to the ground. The Matthew Harding Stand found itself adorned with a new banner displayed on the upper tier with the phrase ‘Taking the Mikel’ with a trophy on either side. A fitting tribute to one of Chelsea’s underrated legends in Jon Obi Mikel.
The reaction to Antonio Rudiger’s goal
It happened. Rudiger scored a bending screamer and put Chelsea in the lead. The euphoria in Stamford Bridge was palpable on a flat afternoon. Ziyech was in disbelief with his hands raised above his head and turned away from the celebrations in disbelief at what he’d witnessed before turning back to his teammates.
Rudiger, in typical fashion donned an expressive grin and put his tongue out as he bobbed his head around and sprinted towards the dugouts. From there he stood square with his head coach before a very firm embrace took place between the Germans. Rudiger put him in bear hug leaving Tuchel’s hands nowhere to go. The kind of reaction that might give you more faith in Tuchel’s confidence of the defender staying at the club.
Quiet Thomas Tuchel
The Blues boss spent a little more time in his seat within the Chelsea dugout that we’ve often come to expect. Of course given the result he had his outbursts but they were perhaps not as frequent as the Chelsea faithful are now accustomed.
The first half saw Timo Werner become the victim of an outburst with the German coach unable to hide frustrations with his forward’s movement. Tuchel is fair however, and soon praised his pressing in tandem with Kai Havertz.
It was the officials who felt Tuchel’s wrath in the second period however. The Blues were 3-1 down and Brentford were awarded a throw-in in front of the dugout. “How can you see it?!” the 48-year-old yelled to the referee and fourth official. Utter disbelief from the former Borussia Dortmund boss but it was a rare moment.
As the clocked ticked down in the final five minutes of the match, Tuchel started to patrol the touchline but he remained fairly placid, clapping good bits of play and predominantly observing. He was back in his seat when Wissa scored Brentford’s fourth and fairly motionless.
Full-time saw the German coach shake hands and move straight down the tunnel rather than head onto the pitch to greet his players.