Chelsea lost points for the first time in the Premier League under Graham Potter after showing an even 0-0 draw with Brentford.
Kepa Arrizabalaga maintained his fine form to keep the hosts at bay in West London, but Chelsea’s much-changed squad failed to create clear chances during Wednesday’s disappointing draw.
Although Potter remains undefeated in seven games for Chelsea in all competitions, as a result he lost his perfect Premier League record to the Blues, who squandered their chance to move closer to the top three.
Chelsea are still seven points behind leaders Arsenal after failing to beat the bees of Thomas Franck, whose defensive organization has been impressive.
Kepa made a strong header from Ivan Toni as Chelsea endured a flurry of early corners from Brentford before Conor Gallagher limped to the ground just 15 minutes later in a strike to the Blues.
The Spanish goalkeeper improved on this shot with a stunning reflex save in the 33rd minute, heading another Tony off the net after the striker hooked on a second ball in the Chelsea penalty area.
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David Raya made his only first-half save off a Cesar Azpilicueta low kick two minutes later before Brian Mbeumo nodded straight at Kepa after the restart.
Chelsea improved after the arrival of Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic, but their offensive failures were summed up by Kai Havertz shooting straight at Ray, finding a spot in the box.
Kepa once again stood firm to stop Tony’s weak effort with eight minutes left as both defenses refused to be tied down.
What does it mean? Chelsea’s winning streak ended
After a quick start to his stay at Stamford Bridge, Potter approached Wednesday’s fixture hoping to become the fifth Chelsea boss to win his first four Premier League matches at the helm (after Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri) , and just the eighth person to do so with any club in the competition.
A fifth consecutive clean sheet for Chelsea in all competitions ensured Potter retained his unbeaten record, but their old creative problems returned as the Blues were unable to find a way around Brentford’s outstanding back three.
Kepa pays back for Potter’s faith
Kepa made seven saves to help Chelsea beat Aston Villa 2-0 last time – he wasn’t as busy at Brentford, but with another great shot-stopping display, Kepa once again repaid Potter’s faith.
The 28-year-old, who replaced Édouard Mendy as Chelsea’s number one, has made five saves to keep his fifth clean sheet in eight matches this season (in all competitions).
Brentford key man denied
Ahead of Wednesday’s match, Tony has scored six goals in his previous five Premier League appearances, accounting for 75 per cent of Brentford’s goals in this run (6/8). The message for Chelsea was clear; if they could stop Tony, they would have a big chance to stop the bees.
Tony’s four shots and 0.76 expected goals were a game high, but the striker found Kepa in top form as Brentford lacked a surprise win.
Chelsea will host Manchester United in a big Premier League match on Saturday, and Brentford will travel to Aston Villa the next day.