Ben Chilwell’s strike settled the West London derby but only thanks to Edouard Mendy’s heroics behind a makeshift defence, featuring Premier League debutant Malang Sarr.
Much talk pre-game was spent on Brentford’s potential for getting up and at the Chelsea defence but it was the Blues who fared best with the direct approach.
However, Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku struggled to get going and chances were limited early on. Not until a 17th-minute Lukaku free-kick, sent high and wide, was a shot fired at either goal.
Brentford were even quieter but had the first major chance, Bryan Mbeumo finding space in the area only to hit the post. Immediately up the other end, the visitors had the ball in the net thanks to Lukaku - who was rightly called offside.
Where the front two failed, Chilwell once again did not. With the clock ticking down on the first-half, the England star made it three goals in three games for club and country with an accurate effort on the half-volley.
Chelsea started stronger in the second-half yet that final ball continued to evade them as the hosts’ confidence grew.
Ivan Toney’s emerging battle with Trevoh Chalobah fired up the Brentford Community Stadium and the striker was denied by a smart Mendy parry with 20 minutes to go.
The keeper was powerless to stop Mbeumo once again as the Frenchman was played in on goal, only to slot his finish against the woodwork once again.
Toney would have had a penalty for an unnecessary tug back by Chalobah, had he not been offside, as the onslaught continued. Mendy was once again called into action before Chalobah hacked an effort off the line.
Pontus Jansson was then next to test the Senegal international, who even deployed his face to deny the defender’s powerful close-range shot. That required treatment and briefly calmed the fiery atmosphere.
Into stoppage time and Mendy still had one last piece of magic to pull off, leaping high to palm Christian Norgard’s overhead kick over the bar.