Nick Bruzon picks out his best 5 Brentford players in their Gameweek 13 win over Everton and provides an updates Top 5 over the course of the season to date.
And with that, Brentford returned to winning ways.
A 1-0 defeat of Everton on Sunday afternoon saw the Bees move to within three points of the European places. Or, as the BBC so negatively described things, “Having put an end to a four-game losing run with a draw at Newcastle last time out, the promoted side sit seven points clear of the relegation places heading into December.” Nothing like having the glass half-empty, eh Auntie? Cripes, they can’t even get brackets right. If that is the stat which is ultimately taken from the game, at least have the courtesy to use the correct form of 7 (seven).
Thursday’s visit to Tottenham now takes on an even greater significance. After their game with Burnley was snowed off (not even an orange ball able to save that one), Spurs remain in the Europa Conference League place but know Brentford will overtake them should a win come on our midweek trip to North London.
If victory on the road is a genuine aspiration then things will need to crank up a notch from here. A win is a win is a win and there are no complaints on that front. Moreso, when it is one that comes with a clean sheet. Brentford kept their shape at the back and held their nerve after an abject Everton team started to turn the screw in the second half but there’s the thing. Everton were abject. You can only beat who you are up against but Spurs will, surely, present a much more formidable task on Thursday night.
Then again, one could argue Brentford snuffed them out. Closed them down. Forced them into snatching at their fourteen attempts. Whilst the visitors had more of the ball in the second half, they didn’t get close to a genuine threat. The scare was more about what might come but the defence held firm. By then, the Bees had gone ahead thanks to Ivan Toney’s early penalty and stayed strong to wrap up the points.
So who were the heroes? Which player made a name for themselves? Who heads up the table on the Brentford form guide?
Recent pace setters Sergi Canos and Bryan Mbeumo were off their game, relatively speaking. Bryan in particular enduring a fruitless afternoon that culminated in him filling in at left wing back.
Pontus and Ethan went about their business calmly and quietly whilst Rico showed that pace we all know and love although, sadly, it wasn’t to be a third goal in as many games.
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 13 (vs Everton)
1st (Star Player) – Ivan Toney
Of course the penalty speaks for itself. Another example of the ice running through his veins. The technique gutsy. The execution clinical. The result inevitable. Pickford moved first as Ivan ambled up and then rolled it in to the corner.
Yet it was his overall work rate that was just phenomenal. One delicious through ball to Vitaly deserved more and that wasn’t the only one. If the rest of the team had been able to take advantage of his approach play this one could have been out of sight. At the back, he covered every blade of grass. As with Newcastle United, he was there to mop it up time and again. If only he had a twin brother. Or three…
Back-to-back ‘Star Player’ performances.
2nd – Charlie Goode
Didn’t make it in to the top four short list for the club’s man of the match poll but they must have been watching a different game.
I thought he was immense. Charlie has taken a bit of stick at times, most recently when he was pressed into playing as a makeshift centre forward at the end of the Norwich City debacle. One potential penalty aside (never, err…), he was the pick of the defence on his first Premier League start. Everton had all the chances and most of the ball in the second half but they barely got close.
3rd – Vitaly Janelt
With the teams having picked up just three points from their last eleven games between them, this one was always going to be as much about ‘not losing’.
Midfield dominated in a game where genuine chances were few and far between. Vitaly produced an all-round performance of filling in as an extra barrier in the way of Everton as well as taking the game to our opponents. Like Frank, he could also have had a goal after Ivan opened up the opposition as easily as a can of beans but despite the wonderful timing of his run, Vitaly couldn’t quite round it off.
However, a goal would have been a bonus on what was an otherwise rock solid showing.
4th – Alvaro Fernandez
Everton may have had 60% possession and 14 shots but when they finally breached the Bees back line, there was goalkeeper Fernandez to keep them at bay.
One reflex stop from Rondon immediately after Ivan’s penalty was game changing in its timeliness. As quickly as the door had opened for the visitors it slammed back in their faces. Made the rest look comfortable and despite the nerves that may have been felt by the fans, there was nothing evident on pitch.
A first shut out in four games since stepping up for the injured David Raya.
5th – Frank Onyeka
‘The Tank’ earned the penalty in the first half. Going in for the ball with Andros Townsend and getting a boot in the face for his troubles. Ouch, that looked painful. Count those teeth back today. However, maintained his composure for the duration and might even have had a goal had the timing been a little sharper.
However, it was in midfield where he ruled the roost, doing his very best to hold the Toffees back and drive Brentford forward.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 13)
All of which means Ivan strides clear at the top of the table. With the penalty king having made the top five on eight separate occasions, consistency is very much the key.
Rico Henry, Christian Norgaard and Bryan Mbeumo stay second, third and fourth respectively but it is only a matter of time before that lengthy absence sees David Raya drop out of the top five. Will that take place at Tottenham? Come back on Friday to find out.
1st – Ivan Toney
2nd – Rico Henry
3rd – Christian Norgaard
4th – Bryan Mbuemo
5th – David Raya, Vitaly Janelt, Sergi Canos