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Brentford hammering should be wake-up call for Chelsea ahead of Real Madrid clash

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f Thomas Tuchel is desperately grasping for positives after this stunning 4-1 defeat to Brentford, he can take solace in the fact that at least it was not against Real Madrid.

Chelsea host the Spanish giants in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday and if they are anything like as abject as this, they can kiss goodbye to the trophy they won in Porto last May.

This was a meltdown of spectacular proportions – the European champions suffering the mother of all hangovers after Antonio Rudiger’s stunning 35-yard goal prompted raucous celebrations.

From there it went downhill dramatically, with Chelsea’s players left dizzy as Brentford scored three in 10 minutes and then added a fourth in the closing stages.

The visiting fans rejoiced, singing: “We want five” and “Can we play you every week?”

Perhaps most pertinent was the chant of: “We are staying up!”

Victory for Thomas Frank’s side all but secured Premier League safety and, momentarily, took Chelsea minds off talk of takeovers and sanctions.

A day that started with fans gathering for an underwhelming protest against the Ricketts family’s bid to buy the club, ended with a defeat that will prompt soul-searching before Real.

The Champions League is the priority – and Chelsea simply cannot afford to defend in such a slipshod manner against Carlo Ancelotti’s side or waste so many opportunities in the final third.

This was their heaviest defeat of the season – the second heaviest of Tuchel’s reign after losing 5-2 to West Brom last season.

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That was equally as shocking and another positive for Tuchel will be the fact his side recovered sufficiently after that to put together a run that saw them reach the finals of the FA Cup and Champions League – before going on to be crowned kings of European.

This is a case of clutching at straws because there will be little to give the German comfort after such a sobering experience.

He will have been alarmed by the manner in which his players failed to respond to Brentford’s onslaught after Rudiger’s piledriver three minutes after half time.

His defence was run ragged, with Cesar Azpilicueta particularly exposed.

At the other end Kai Havertz was guilty of wasting two golden opportunities to get them back into the match – failing to hit the target on either occasion – and Timo Werner frustrated again.

Tuchel will almost certainly revert to a 3-4-3 formation against Real – after playing a flat back four that was run ragged.

It was day of false dawns at Stamford Bridge and a reminder that nothing is ever routine as far as this club is concerned.

A protest against the Ricketts’ almost went by without notice as barely 100 fans gathered outside the ground before kick-off.

Inside, plans to erect a banner opposing the American family were scrapped.

Rudiger’s strike, which clipped the inside of the post on its way past David Raya, should have set up a 13th win in 14 games. Instead it sparked the dourest of games into life and left Chelsea desperately flailing as it quickly got out of their control.

Vitaly Janelt blasted past Edouard Mendy two minutes after going behind, with Cesar Azpilicueta dragged out of position.

On 54 minutes Christian Eriksen continued his personal fairy-tale, clipping over Mendy from close range.

Janelt struck again on the hour to make it 3-1.

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Chelsea had their chances to get back into the game but Havertz fired wide when one-on-one with Raya and then headed wide from just six yards out.

Such profligacy cannot be expected to go unpunished against Real.

Chelsea’s misery was completed when Yoane Wissa struck two minutes after coming on as a substitute.

It was a day to forget for Tuchel – and definitely not one to repeat on Wednesday night.

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