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Mendy’s Ballon d’Or snub baffling as derby win shows Chelsea resolve

Instead, Ben Chilwell’s first-half strike was enough secure a vital win for Chelsea that keeps them a point ahead of Liverpool, who had briefly moved top earlier in the day.

By the time Mendy had tipped Christian Norgaard’s overhead kick onto the bar late on, Brentford manager Thomas Frank could only shake his head in disbelief.

By that point it was clear that Mendy was simply not going to be beaten.

He had already repelled the home side’s onslaught – parrying Ivan Toney’s snap shot from close range, sprawling at the feet of Saman Ghoddos and using his face to block Pontus Jansson from point-blank range.

On the occasions Mendy was not there, he could thank his post for twice denying Bryan Mbeumo and Trevoh Chalobah for a goal-line clearance from Norgaard.

If it sounds like Chelsea rode their luck, they certainly did. On another day this could have been a humbling defeat.

Instead it was a victory that further showcased their resolve, coming despite Thomas Tuchel having to name a makeshift defence in the absence of the injured Antonio Rudiger and unavailable Thiago Silva, who only returned from international duty a day earlier.

Brentford were outstanding – but that was no surprise to Tuchel, who had warned his European champions that the home side would be in ultimate giant-killing mode.

Just ask Arsenal and Liverpool about their experiences here to know how valuable this win was for Chelsea.

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