Nick Bruzon picks out the best Bees from their Gameweek 27 match vs Newcastle & updates his list of Brentford’s Top 5 players over the season.
A gruelling afternoon for Brentford against a resurgent Newcastle United outfit ended with a 0-2 defeat for The Bees and a lot of soul searching required as to what we do next.
The one real positive of the game being the entrance of Christian Eriksen on to the field of play early in the second half. By that point, The Bees were two goals and a man down following the red card issued to Josh Dasilva with less than a quarter-hour on the clock. What had at first seemed an innocuous challenge culminating in a free kick for Brentford, was quickly over turned by VAR.
Whilst accidental, in slow motion it didn’t look good and resulted in Thomas Frank’s team with the wind knocked out of their sails. Another defensive rejig forced upon us. Newcastle on the front foot and stretching The Bees with ease. Like a cat playing with a mouse. Only David Raya keeping the scores level with a series of fine saves before Joelinton pulled the inevitable opener out of the bag just after the half hour mark. A laser guided header that Raya was powerless to stop. The execution all in the timing as Kris Ajer was deemed nothing more than an irrelevance by the Newcastle man and the net rippled. £40 million the price for such goal scoring prowess.
The second goal came with the away support roaring on their team. A song about Joelinton on repeat as the Bees looked for the equaliser. Mathias Jensen hoisting a corner so deep you’d have needed a 10 metre board to reach it. Attempts to salvage the situation failed and the visitors broke at pace. Schär racing the length of the pitch to free up Joe Willock for another precise Newcastle finish. Raya left no hope. Brentford two down and half-time still to come.
Then, THE moment. Not just of the match but possibly the season so far. Not just for Brentford but possibly the global game. Christian Eriksen entered the field of play. His first competitive game since, well, we all know. A standing ovation from all sides of the ground. Newcastle supporters and even the linesman joining in. The difference he will make to this team immediately palpable, getting involved from the off and almost opening up the Magpies’ defence within his first minute. Raking passes being sprayed across the pitch with devastating accuracy. Advanced runs starting to appear already.
It was a wonderful forty minutes although, in the circumstances, counted for nothing beyond the hugest morale boost and wave of good feeling. It takes more than applause to win games though and despite the arrival of Ivan Toney shortly afterwards, Brentford were powerless to do that. To even come close. The game ended 2-0 with a rasping drive from Christian Norgaard about as close as it got to pulling anything back.
The introduction of Eriksen certainly gives huge hope for the final eleven games. As does the return of Ivan Toney, albeit he remained as peripheral a performer as most of his team mates.
Newcastle United leapfrog the Bees who are now down to fifteenth in the table with eleven games to play.
Next up sees the trip to Norwich City and then the visit from Burnley. If ever Thomas Frank’s team are to get back to winning ways, now would be a good time. If ever the manager was to get his squad firing once more, then taking that opportunity against those teams at the very wrong end of the table would be more than agreeable. He says politely.
So who are the players to do it? Who, if anyone, shone on a gloomy afternoon for Brentford?
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 27 (vs Newcastle)
1st (Star Player) – David Raya
Hands down the winner of our latest review by a country mile.
In a game where the visitors had a staggering 26 shots with 11 on target, it could well have ended up a 7 (seven) goal bracketing. He was that good.
Like a bear clubbing salmon in a river, huge paws getting to ball after ball until, eventually, the dam broke. That Brentford lost was through no fault of Raya. Our ‘keeper continued pulling out all the stops well into the second half and without him it would have been brutal.
2nd – Rico Henry
A rare bright spark in our outfield performance.
If The Bees were being pulled apart down the right, at least he was able to shore up his side of the field and drive us forward.
One of the few players to show some actual fight. To look at taking us forward. To cut into the opposition box and try to bring some respite.
3rd – Christian Eriksen
His first appearance was always going to be special but once you remove the sentiment from the occasion, did he make a difference? A resounding YES would be the answer.
His range of passing and movement offering huge hope for the run in. It’s so unfortunate we won’t see him and Josh Dasilva in the same team for a few games now but, until then, Christian should be a nailed on starter for the trip to Norwich next week.
4th – Yoanne Wissa
We really are in slim pickings territory now. The ‘performance’ at Southampton by Brentford was so abject, only 3 players were rated. That’s a card that should only be played in the most dire of circumstances and whilst this wasn’t that bad, it wasn’t far off.
Wissa, at least, ran around a lot and put a shift in as he tried to take the game to Newcastle. The first half especially. Whilst, he’s much better suited as an impact player nobody could doubt that the attempt to make a difference was there.
5th – Bryan Mbeumo
Like Wissa, put his heart into this one. Like Rico, tried to break into the box. Like the rest of his team, came away with nothing.
We’re desperate to get Ivan Toney up top and firing once more. Until then, Bryan continues to shoulder the responsibility and whilst it wasn’t to be this time, there’s no doubting his effort and passion. He was the one exhorting the crowd to get behind the team and raise the roof at the corner kicks.
All of which means that Ivan Toney still tops our season long player performance chart based on game by game ratings. However, there is a three-way battle between Christian Norgaard, Rico Henry and Bryan Mbeumo who are all locked in joint second place – just two points behind. Vitaly remains fifth, with a clutch of players – most notably David Raya – starting to make inroads on that slot.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 26)
1st – Ivan Toney
T2nd – Rico Henry, Christian Norgaard, Bryan Mbuemo
5th – Vitaly Janelt