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2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings – Matchweek 34

2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings – Matchweek 34
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A quite magnificent tonking of Luton Town saw resurgent Brentford at their most devastating on Saturday afternoon.

It finished 5-1 but could easily have seen the Bees double that, such were the copious amounts of chances created. A raucous and packed away end cheering the team on from start to finish. Those who had been forced to secrete themselves amongst the home support pulling off a magic trick Harry Potter would have been proud of, so hard was it so stay quiet as the goals rained in.

Honestly, Brentford were incredible. Make no mistake that Luton Town went in to this one with fangs bared. Caged tigers, backed in to a corner and fighting for survival. Their old-school stadium the perfect environment to trip up the unwary. The place to take advantage of whomever would drop points in the following day’s game between Everton and Nottingham Forest.

Brentford were ready for the ambush and then some. A back four that included the return of Ethan Pinnock allowing Thomas to start with a power trio up top, despite the complete absence of injured Ivan Toney. Instead, Wissa, KLP and Bryan Mbeumo ran absolute riot. Ably supported by Mikkel Damsgaard, carving holes in the Luton midfield for fun.

Early chances for Ethan and KLP (twice) laid down the foundations for what would come next. Showed that Brentford weren’t here to mess around or play any cagey game of strategy. Instead, it was the sort of pedal-to-the-metal football normally reserved for a video game and with a quarter of the game gone, Wissa eventually drew first blood. His shot from the edge of the box, curling into the top corner after getting on the end of a flowing pass and move from Bryan. It was the moment the flood gates began to buckle. 1-0 Brentford and again the Bees came.

KLP so close. Mbeumo seeing a potential goal of the season, after Sergio and KLP had ripped Luton a new one in the build-up, denied by the crossbar. Eventually it was Wissa who doubled his and the team’s tally as half-time beckoned. Yet another pass and move build up saw him guide home Bryan’s ball into the box. The three defenders around him rendered meaningless. The first half-performance rewarded with the goals to match.

Yet anyone thinking that was it, that Brentford would shut up shop and look to contain a surely resurgent Luton team, no doubt having been reinvigorated by Rob Edward’s interval pep talk, was given the rudest of awakenings. In the nicest of senses.

The Bees picking up where they left off. Damsgaard coming close before Ethan Pinnock powered over and through the Luton defence to head home a Reguilón corner for 3-0. Game over man. Game over. An hour gone. The dam well and truly bursting. The trickle of goals now becoming a flood.

KLP getting a fourth that his performance had so warranted (Mbeumo yet again the provider) before Kevin Schade wrapped things up towards the end. Vitaly Janelt providing the touch through for his fellow countryman to do the business once more.

It was a goal to round off a quite brutal display from Brentford. Had it been a boxing match the referee would have long stopped things (others clichés are available) before the host’s injury time consolation goal. Luke Berry finding the back of the net after a rare lapse in midfield from the Bees.

It made no difference. The win saw Brentford back up to 14th. Ten points (effectively 11 when you look at goal difference) clear of the bottom three with four games to go. Saturday’s visit to Everton suddenly a game where the only pressure will be on the home team.

The Bees, with Christian Norgaard also fit again and entering the fray with 20 minutes left, will now have the sort of selection headaches Thomas Frank could only have been dreaming of over the winter.

Talking of selection headaches (nurse, pass the crowbar) we reach our game by game top five. As always, we give five points for first, four for second place, three for third etc with the totals added up game by game to find an overall winner after game 38.

This one is as a tough as it gets. Honestly, any of the top three could have made a decent case for star player. Pretty much anybody in the team worthy of the top five. However, in the end we’ve gone for….

2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings from Matchweek 34 (vs Luton)

1st (Star player: 5 points) – Bryan Mbeumo
In a game where at one point it looked like Brentford would need to pull out the 7 (seven) goal brackets, it may seem odd to nominate a player who didn’t get on the score sheet. Albeit he did hit the woodwork (whilst elsewhere, a bear defecated in a forest as the Pope declared his support for the Catholic faith).

Yet in all seriousness, this was as complete a performance as he’s had all season. The player back to his mercurial best as he tucked into the Luton backline with all the relish of a hungry tourist in a Las Vegas buffet.

I counted key contributions in four of the five goals (albeit Vitaly gets the official ‘assist’ for Schade’s). Even when the Bees came close, Bryan was at the heart of everything. Cutting through the middle and down the right with abandon. Running at Luton for fun. The understanding with Wissa seemingly on a different wavelength to anything the men in orange could follow.

He made it look like men against boys and duly scoops top marks.

2nd (4 points) – Yoane Wissa
Bryan took the top spot but on paper, it could just have easily been Yoane. His two goals taking him in to double figures for the season and clear in the race to becoming Brentford’s leading scorer for 2023/24. That’s no mean feat given the competition from the likes of Bryan, Neal and Ivan .

The first was exquisite. Not the first time we’ve said that this season. The run on to Bryan’s ball perfect and the finish as sweetly placed as possible from the edge of the box. The second may have been scored from closer in but it was all made in the build-up.

First, Wissa playing a one-two with Damsgaard. Then, as he pushed up the pitch, performing the same routine with Bryan. The return ball culminating in the finish that sent the travelling faithful wild.

He might have had more. He won’t care. On an afternoon that was about as exciting an all-round team effort as we have had the pleasure of enjoying in some time, he carried out his role at the top of the spear to perfection.

3rd (3 points) – Keane Lewis-Potter
This is how good Brentford were that KLP, whose game has gone to the next level in the last month or so anyway, can play this well yet still only take third place.

Worked his socks off all game with one first half move, a phoenix from the flames of a crunching Kris Ajer tackle to stop a rare Luton foray, seeing defence turned in to attack. KLP dissecting The Hatters like the proverbial hot knife through butter before seeing his goal bound effort from distance guided to safety.

Again, he was there with Sergio to carve out that crossbar chance for Bryan yet, in truth, these were only but a few of the opportunities he had. Had one of those even prior to these found the back of the net then we really would be talking about 7 (seven) goals today.

He looked like player experiencing the true joy of football. He never gave up and there was nobody more deserving of a goal than KLP as he scored our fourth with a low header from Bryan’s ball across the box. On any other day, star player.

4th (2 points) – Ethan Pinnock
In truth, I thought Thomas might ease Ethan back into action. Yet with his best defender available once more, and going for a more attacking formation, it really was a case of playing the best hand at his disposal.

Thankfully. Of course there is the defensive element but, equally, on an afternoon where Brentford did most if the driving forwards, one almost forgets how much Ethan contributes down the other end. He had the first real chance of the afternoon and his goal to make it 3-0 was a wonderful reminder of his value at set pieces.

A clean sheet would have rounded it all off but take nothing away from just how good it is to have Ethan back.

5th (1 point) – Mikkel Damsgaard
On an afternoon where it was all about attack, so much of Brentford’s play began in midfield. Vitaly having a field day but, for me, Mikkel was the more dominant. The player more in the eye. The one not only creating opportunity but pulling off a staggering 7 (seven) tackles to snuff out any thoughts the hosts had of their own attacking intent. Only Vitaly coming even half-way close to that figure.

We’ve spoken before about the reinvigorated Damsgaard. The player finally delivering on all his potential and this was yet another of those games. I thought he was ace.

2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Matchweek 34)

All of which means significant changes in the race for overall top five and star player.

Christian Norgaard could not have timed his return to fitness any better. With just four games to go Bryan Mbeumo has finally joined him at the top of the table, tied on 43 points.

KLP nudges Mathias Jensen out of the top five as the season long jostling for fifth place sees him now tied alone with Vitaly.

Next stop, Everton, where there’s all to play for…

T1st – Christian Norgaard, Bryan Mbeumo (43 points)
3rd – Ethan Pinnock (38 points)
T5th – Vitaly Janelt, Keane Lewis-Potter (31 points)

Follow @NickBruzon on Twitter.

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