Nick picks out the best Bees from their Gameweek 37 win at Everton as his player ratings feature is going down to the wire to see who’ll be crowned Player of the Season!
Another weekend. Another three goals. Another win for Brentford.
The final away day of this first Premier League campaign saw the Bees finish it 3-2 winners on Gameweek 37. The ever-desperate hosts were reduced to nine men by full time as the home manager was outmaneuvered by his counterpart in the battle of Frank v Frank.
A hard fought game played out in a cauldron of noise saw the Bees boss quickest to react.
2-1 down at half time he pulled off Mads Bech (already on a yellow and lucky to avoid a second for the penalty that had restored Everton’s lead) and replaced him with Vitaly Janelt. It was a masterstroke, giving the Bees more solidity and greater presence in midfield as they took the game to their hosts.
Everton, by this point, down to ten men after Jarrad Branthwaite was shown straight red for hauling down Ivan Toney when clean through.
Yet, despite the numerical disadvantage, it was the hosts who had the lead after the opening period.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin ghosting home Richarlison’s equally soft effort for the opener before Wissa made room to play it home from an almost impossible angle. Replays showed it had, in fact, taken a huge deflection via the face of Séamus Coleman. Oh well – they all count.
Then, the changes. Brentford could sense the the home team wobbling and came flying out.
If Wissa had set up the opener from a tight corner, there was no doubting he was due the equaliser from an equally acute angle. Eriksen’s delivery as precise as ever. The connection having no real right to go where it did yet he made it look so easy.
Two minutes later and we had the lead. Little over an hour played and there was Rico Henry, totally unmarked, to soar like an eagle and steer home Norgaard’s cross. 3-2 Brentford and, from that point, no looking back.
If Thomas had got it spot on with his changes, Frank Lampard was less than successful. Salomon Rondon shown straight red just four minutes after coming on for an horrific two footed studs up challenge on Rico. Thankfully, no damage done to the Brentford wing back but for a moment there were hearts in mouths.
Indeed, Everton lucky not to be down to eight after Mykolenko had appeared to headbutt Ivan Toney earlier in the half. VA what now?
In the end, victory was hard fought but absolutely merited. Brentford full of fighting spirit and quick to adapt. Not just with the removal of Bech but also switching out Kris Ajer (yellow) and, later, Wissa. Keeping the formation fresh absolutely vital in securing the win.
All of which is wonderful but it begs the question as to who was the star man on Gameweek 37? Who made up the top five for Brentford? Is there any wiggle room at the top of our game-by-game table? The answer to the first question is resounding…
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 37 (vs Everton)
1st (Star Man) – Rico Henry
He was just superb. Magnificent going forward and spent most of the game playing as a left winger rather than a defender. That said, tough in the tackle when called upon.
The goal was taken beautifully but for me, his all round game was up there with the very best he has played all season. In a game played in the shadow of Brentford’s 3.30am wake up call, it was Rico who provided the fireworks and made Everton look like a bunch of damp squibs.
2nd – Mathias Jensen
Like Rico, one of his best performances of the season and what a time to pull it out of the hat.
Passing was up there with Eriksen for quality whilst his ball to free Ivan in the move for our opener was just exquisite, taking the entire Everton defence out of the game in one fell swoop. Might have had first half goal for his efforts, too, working the space wonderfully before electing for the extra touch rather hitting if first time.
3rd – Yoane Wissa
He’s revelling in this new role of starting games rather than impact sub. We saw it last week in the 3-0 defeat of Southampton and we’ve had it again. Scored our second from an almost impossible angle whilst takes the assist, if not full credit, for the initial equaliser. In between he worked his socks off.
4th – Christian Eriksen
Claims the assist for Wissa’s goal but, again, was key to so much of our build up play.
With Jensen also on fire, the question of who was going to deliver from centre-mid was quite delicious to see being answered. Shots, crosses and free-kicks peppering the Everton goal to cause a constant threat.
5th – Christian Norgaard
It was tight between him and David Raya with our goalkeeper only missing out given he had virtually nothing to do in the second period.
Seemed to be permanently on the ball whilst adjusted well to that second half rejig. Set up the goal for Rico with a perfect ball in to space but, like his country-men, he’d been doing it all game.
Tell you what, that Danish midfield could be tasty in this winter’s World Cup.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 37)
Which means that with just one game to go it’s all change at the top.
Rico Henry’s unstoppable momentum over the last few months sees him finally get ahead of second-placed Ivan Toney.
Another point for Christian Norgaard sees him edge one point clear of Bryan Mbeumo, although the Dane takes the plaudits for most top five appearances. With 19 out of 27 he is unstoppable in terms of consistency.
Vitaly stays fifth but can still be caught by Pontus and Kris Ajer.
1st – Rico Henry
2nd – Ivan Toney
3rd – Christian Norgaard
4th – Bryan Mbuemo
5th – Vitaly Janelt
Cripes, as if that Leeds United game didn’t have enough riding on it already…