Mauricio Pochettino given new problem as Chelsea crash to sorry Brentford loss

Chelsea lost 2-0 at home to Brentford on Saturday afternoon as Ethan Pinnock’s header sealed all three points at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea slumped to a surprise 2-0 defeat at home to Brentford on Saturday as they were unable to make their dominance count against Thomas Frank’s stubborn outfit. The visitors took the lead against the run of play just before the hour mark, having broken up the pitch before Bryan Mbeumo hooked a cross up in the air for Ethan Pinnock to crash in at the back post and power a header past Robert Sanchez. Mbeumo’s stoppage-time finish then sealed all three points at a happy hunting ground for the Bees. Here, Express Sport looks at the game’s biggest talking points, including Pochettino’s rising star that may be causing an issue going forward.

Cole Palmer completely ran the show in a number 10 role, having been allowed to move more central after injury to Enzo Fernandez. The summer signing from Manchester City created a host of chances and was crucial in all of the Blues’ best play, clearly Chelsea’s man of the match despite his side’s inability to put Brentford away.

However, Pochettino has been clear on a midfield three of Fernandez, Conor Gallagher and Moises Caicedo and that shape does not feature a number 10. Should Pochettino want to use Palmer more central – and after this performance would struggle to send him back out wide – one of the midfielders will have to lose their place.

The alternative would be for Nicolas Jackson to drop out and Palmer to operate as a false nine, as he did against Arsenal, but then Pochettino would lose an attacking player to accommodate four midfielders. With Christopher Nkunku closing in on a return too, the head coach certainly has a conundrum to solve soon.

Pochettino looked livid on the touchline as a result of his side’s defending for Brentford’s goal, as Pinnock put the visitors into the lead just before the hour mark. They were allowed to play a simple one-two around Marc Cucurella who had little defensive support, before Mbeumo teed up Pinnock at the far post to open the scoring.

Axel Disasi would have been tasked with tracking Pinnock at the far post, having likely been brought back into the team at right-back to help with Brentford’s aerial threat but the Jamaican international was allowed a free header. Disasi remained on the pitch for a few more minutes before being hauled off in favour of captain Reece James.

Madueke watch

Noni Madueke was handed a rare start by Pochettino, having only played 51 minutes of Premier League football before Brentford visited Stamford Bridge. He was tasked with holding the width on the right as Disasi tucked in to help Thiago Silva deal with Yoane Wissa.

After just 10 minutes Madueke showed the talent he possesses, cutting in before hitting a stunning curling effort that came back off the bar and nearly put Chelsea into the lead. However, he struggled to be involved in any meaningful attacks after that effort and was substituted off for Ian Maatsen shortly after Pinnock had broken the deadlock.

Chelsea may have hoped that Brentford’s currently suspended striker Ivan Toney was watching on, as their need for a Premier League-proven striker continues to grow. Palmer created several opportunities to score but his team-mates were unable to burst the back of the net, having now scored just 13 goals in 10 league games.

Toney is likely to be on the market in January when he is free to return, having spoken openly about the possibility of leaving Brentford. The Bees are unlikely to sell their star man without a high transfer fee. But with each passing game, Chelsea may be growing more open to the idea of splashing out on the England forward.

Jackson spat with fan

Frustrations were clearly high at half-time as despite Chelsea’s dominance, they had been unable to break down Brentford’s low block. As the players were leaving the pitch, Jackson reportedly had an altercation with an angry fan as he was asked to put the ball in the back of the net.

But Jackson responded by putting his finger to his mouth and appearing to shush the supporter, before Pochettino got involved to back up his striker. Tensions are clearly on the rise at Chelsea as they struggled once again to put away a team that they feel they should be beating.

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