helsea failed to find a way through a physical Brentford side as they took a goalless draw away from home on Wednesday night.
Thomas Frank’s team missed the better chances with close headers from strikers Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo saved by Kepa Arrizabalga.
Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and Carney Chukeumeka all had shots saved in the second half during Chelsea’s best period.
It came in a match where Broja would make his first start for his boyhood club.
Nizaar Kinsella was at the Gtech Community Stadium to witness the action…
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 9
Kepa made a good save from Toney in the ninth minute, already under pressure from crosses and straight running behind the defence.
Made another huge stop to deny Toney in the 34th minute after the striker headed a clearance from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who headed towards his own goal.
He produced another two great saves in the second half from close range, from Mbeumo and Toney efforts, to really show himself as a goalkeeper in top form.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 7
It almost looked like giving away a penalty early on but Mbeumo looked for the challenge. He had a good long-range shot saved by David Raya towards the end of the half and produced the most clearances of any Chelsea player on a busy defensive night.
Trevoh Chalobah – 7
Trevoh Chalobah played the “Thiago Silva Role” at the heart of the defense with the 38-year-old having a night off. Almost impossible shoes to fill, but…
Kalidou Koulibaly – 6
The former Napoli man struggled to cope with the speed and directness of Frank Onyeka in the first half. Probably the weakest link in the back three but still made some good last-minute tackles under huge pressure.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 5
His poor touch left Toney behind in the 14th minute and he appeared to struggle early on. He shot badly over right at the end of the first half. Not his best outing despite playing the full-back position well under Thomas Tuchel.
Conor Gallagher – N/A
The 22-year-old was taken off in the 14th minute and appeared to have a knee problem, causing concern against Manchester United on Saturday.
However, it was instead a short-term illness problem that caused his early exit.
Jorginho – 6
The game passed him by at times, with Brentford controlling much of that match and dominating physically.
Mason Mountain – 5
Back in a deeper No8 role, he was not as involved in the attacking play as he had been in recent weeks. Largely canceled out by Brentford and taken off in the 62nd minute, possibly resting him for Manchester United.
Marc Cucurella – 6
Cucurella was very engaged early with a lot of attacks coming down his side. He enjoyed the physical duels and handled them well despite his small stature. However, some of his positional game was exploited by Brentford.
Kai Havertz – 4
Engaged in several physical duels early on, acquitted himself well physically but perhaps to the point of distraction. Not a goal threat by any means though.
Armando Broja – 6
The 21-year-old made his first attacking move with an over-hit cross in the 26th minute. Destroyed Ben Mee with his powerful dribbling in the 36th minute, eventually leading to an Azpilicueta shot.
His outstanding ability to run in behind caused chaos again in the 40th minute, overwhelming Brentford’s defense before smashing a cross-shot out of Kai Havertz’s reach.
You could also say it was his debut in certain actions, as he grabbed chances in the final third.
Matthew Kovacic – 7
He was not meant to play against Brentford but made a huge impact from the bench to increase control in the game. One such moment was his impressive dribble midway through the first half to escape pressure. He was immaculate with the ball and had a long range shot blocked in the second half.
Carney Chukwuemeka – 8
Showed his confidence in creating a transition shortly after coming on in the 62nd minute, linking up with Havertz. Almost won the match in stoppage time with a powerful low shot from a wide angle, saved by Raya’s feet.
Christian Pulisic – 6
A substitute for the ninth time this season, Pulisic almost created a goal-scoring opportunity in the 78th minute. Had a good shot saved in the 89th minute that was spilled by Raya, almost falling to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Raheem Sterling – 5
Even after his struggles at Aston Villa, the England star played as a wing-back instead of Cucurella. Unfortunately, he was too far off target to be a threat.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – N/A
Subs not used: Mendy, Silva, Zakaria, Ziyech.