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2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings – Matchweek 38

2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings – Matchweek 38
Jamie Moore's Diary - jockey talks Goshen and Ascot rides

The final game of the season for Brentford saw Newcastle United run out 4-2 winners at the Gtech.

In truth, it was a largely academic result. Everton’s defeat at Arsenal meant a draw would have seen the Bees end this one an extra position higher up the table but as Thomas Frank told the press at full-time, “Putting things into perspective. A club of our stature – every season in the Premier League, it’s success?.

That was in the interview that could be printed. His emotional speech to the fans at full time, peppered with some judiciously placed f-bombs, talked about how well we had done over this most unusual of campaigns. About what we’d be aiming to do next season with a full squad being available.

He’s right, too. Injury has dictated so much of what has happened this season. From results on the pitch to our own top five off it. The three contenders for the player of the season title – Christian Norgaard, Bryan Mbeumo and Ethan Pinnock – all suffering lengthy absences at one point. Indeed, only Vitaly Janelt has featured in every game (and probably every position) – something recognised by the squad who voted him their player of the year during the week.

Yet for me, this season remains a triumph. As much in showcasing just how well the squad do play together. The versatility available. Look at Vitaly and, likewise, Saman Ghoddos. Even on Sunday, in his (second) farewell appearance he switched between both wing back roles as the Bees attempted to salvage something from the jaws of defeat.

They almost got away with it too. Brentford starting at 100 mph and finding the back of the net within two minutes. Ivan Toney tucking home Mbeumo’s cross before the goal was denied by VAR for an apparent offside against Mathias Jensen. It had looked close but the Dane was the last person anybody suspected as transgressing. On the plus side, the Bees pushed on. Playing with flare and enjoying themselves in the sunshine. Surely a goal would be scored soon. And it was – by the visitors.

Joelinton missing one square in front of the posts should have been the warning that something was coming. Moments later it did – in brutal fashion. Harvey Barnes, Jacob Murphy and Alexander Isak turning it from 0-0 to 0-3 in little over a quarter hour. The Bees ripped apart, with some rare defensive lapses costing them dear over a period where Sean Longstaff also saw one chalked off for the visitors by our friends in the VAR booth.

Matthew Benham’s choice of the Rolling Stones as the players trooped off seemed to work. With ‘Start Me Up’ still ringing in the ears, The Bees responded accordingly.

First up, Vitaly Janelt. Three minutes in to the restart and a tracer bullet of a finish that let Nick Pope in nets no chance. Then, Yoanne Wissa with yet another glorious finish. He picked it up wide, cut in and then curled one home from the edge of the box. The ‘keeper left no chance. Still clutching at air as the ball hit the back of the net.

Twenty minutes to go and suddenly Brentford right back in this one. Kevin Schade and Neal Maupay joining the fray to really try and turn the screw. The later, like Saman, on his final appearance in front of the home faithful and very much looking to leave in style. If nothing else, there was more ‘classic Neal’ as he wound up Pope to a state of near frenzy where England’s number four was lucky to end up with just a single yellow.

Alas, when the sixth goal did cime it went the wrong way. A penalty kick awarded to Newcastle for an apparent foul in the box by Bryan was VAR’d down to a free kick on the very edge of the area. Flekken making a good stop low to his left but the visitors reacting quickest to the loose ball and Bruno Guimarães firing home. 4-2 Newcastle and that really was it. There was no be no further opening offered to The Bees and, instead, we were left to reflect on a season well done and the prospect of a fourth top flight campaign to look forward to in August.

The other business of the day being the top five for Brentford. 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. With game 38 having finally been and gone, could there be any last minute change?

2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings from Matchweek 38 (vs Newcastle)

1st (Star player: 5 points) – Yoane Wissa
The second star – layer award in a row for a man who seems to have made the decision that he’s single-handedly trying to win goal of the season. He was awarded it for the strike against Chelsea, would probably have won it at Bournemouth had the voting not already closed whilst this latest effort was up there with the very best.

It was as audacious an attempt as they come but when your confidence is high, then why not give it a go? The Gtech rising as one to celebrate a quite wonderful effort.

It’s not just the goals but the approach play from Wissa. A player who seems to love being out on the pitch and never stops putting a shift in. Never fails to grasp the opportunity when it arrives. It was his slide rule pass to Vitaly that brought Brentford back to life just after half-time. That produced the opening goal and almost kickstarted what would have been a quite remarkable turnaround.

It wasn’t to be, this time, but I am sure next season there will be many more to come.

2nd (4 points) – Vitaly Janelt
It was so good to see Vitaly recognised by his team mates during the week. The only player to feature in every game and almost every position. I wouldn’t have put it past him to have played the last few minutes in goal on Sunday, just because…

His goal was brilliant. The sweetest of connections to leave Pope no chance and breath new life into the Bees. Yet, it was nothing compared to the moment when hapless referee Simon Hooper (yes, another one…) managed to drop his cards in the second half. The cheer that greeted this blown out of the water by the next as Vitaly picked them up and promptly brandished the yellow in Hooper’s direction.

Thankfully, Mr. Hooper joining the crowd in seeing the funny side rather than returning the card with interest. Nobody would have cared.

3rd (3 points) – Ivan Toney
Was this Ivan’s final game in a Brentford shirt? The summer will tell with Spurs and Manchester United apparently leading the charge for his signature. If he does go, then it will be with many happy memories amongst the Bees support.

He came so close to scoring, too. The offside call was marginal, at best. If Jensen had interfered it was so far back that was negligible but we all know how VAR loves to seek out the miniscule and then use it to turn unadulterated joy into despair.

The second half header from Mads Roerslev’s cross was clinical. It had goal written all over it, but for a top drawer save out of nowhere from Pope. Credit to the ‘keeper who may earn himself a call up to the Euro 24 squad on this basis.

Ivan has had some stick in recent weeks but on Sunday the fans were united in calling his name. Then again, when you push like he did then why not?

4th (2 points) – Sergio Reguilón
As we’ve seen so often in the last few months, there is as much attacking through Sergio as there is through Bryan on the other side. This was another of those.

So Brentford shipped four goals but he did his best to haul us back in to this one. Marauding up and down the left wing with impunity. One crunching tackle in the second half showing that he wasn’t just here to wind down the season before his loan period from Spurs comes to an end.

One thing’s for sure, whatever comes next for Sergio, he has had a quite dramatic impact on our season since joining in January. Without him to fill the troublesome left-back position, who knows what might have happened

5th (1 point) – Ethan Pinnock
Ok, so in a game where we shipped four goals it might seem odd picking Ethan. Yet one also needs to look at his in the broader context.

Ben Mee, Nathan Collins and Kris Ajer were all missing with injury. Rather than the three at the back we’d have all expected it came down to Ethan and Zanka to shoulder this burden. Moreso in the second-half where Thomas shuffled his pack to within an inch of its life in pursuit of the equaliser.

At one point on 85 minutes, Ethan putting on a lung-busting run to cut out a Newcastle breakaway down the left. I felt knackered just watching it – for Ethan to not only put in such a turn of pace this alte in the game but to then avert the danger shows just how hard he tries.

It was a really hard top five this time around but moments tick in the mind and this was one of those.

2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Matchweek 38)

All of which means and the overall star player is…tied! Ethan Pinnock and Bryan Mbeumo sharing the honours on 46 points apiece.

Christian Norgaard retains third place with Wissa taking up fourth spot. Vitaly, Sergio and KLP share joint fifth in a final table that, much likes the campaign just seen, shows how much we have been around squad effort rather than one or two individuals dominating proceedings.

So Ethan and Bryan share the top spot at the end. Whilst a count back shows Bryan with four star player awards to Ethan’s three , I can’t divide them. Can you?

T1st – Bryan Mbeumo, Ethan Pinnock (46 points)
3rd – Christian Norgaard (43 points)
4th – Yoane Wissa (37 points)
T5th – Vitaly Janelt, Mathias Jensen & Sergio Reguilón (35 points)

Jamie Moore's Diary - jockey talks Goshen and Ascot rides
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