Chelsea visit fearless Brentford


Will super-sub Wissa find his mark again? — Reuters

IN ANOTHER life, one would have said that with seven games gone after gaining promotion, you would be facing your sternest test coming up against Chelsea in the Premier League.

But this could not be further from the truth for Brentford. The Bees came from the Championship Division via the playoffs this season.

Today they are seventh in the standings and trail league leaders Chelsea, whom they host at Brentford Community Stadium, by just four points.

No doubt, Thomas Frank’s squad will start this fixture with the fearlessness that saw them beat Arsenal, Wolves and West Ham, and hold the mighty Liverpool to a gutsy and deserved 3-3 draw in what was possibly their best showing yet in England’s elite football league.

Along the way, they also held Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in the Premiership and racked up a 10-1 goal aggregate in their two Carabao League Cup games, including the 7-0 thrashing of Oldham Athletic.

That is just how exciting Brentford have been. And much of the credit for that has to go to head coach Frank, and a couple of emerging stars, and indeed the squad as a whole.

Super-sub Yoane Wissa and 23-year-old midfielder Frank “The Tank” Onyeka have been in the spotlight more than most, for all the right reasons — breaking new ground wherever this “newbie” team treads.

Wissa celebrated hitting home the winner against the Hammers in the dying seconds a fortnight ago, but he will have enjoyed the equaliser against Liverpool at Anfield a lot more.

Onyeka has been the driving force behind all that energy in the middle of the park — so often dictating play, winning back the lost ball and dragging his side forward as they attack.

If these two and their teammates are to hold off Chelsea, then the Bees’ lighting-speed counter attacks will have to be spot-on again.

Brentford have been deadly on the counter attack, but it is something that Chelsea will have worked on. And with N’Golo Kante and Reece James back in the frame after injury, the visitors will not be lacking in depth.

It will also be interesting to see Timo Werner in full flight again. He was among the goals at Southampton and scored two beauties against North Macedonia, propelling Germany to become the first nation to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

That though, will be far from Werner’s mind. Instead, he will be focusing on a Brentford side aiming to add another chapter to their fascinating start to life in the Premier League.

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