Nick Bruzon runs through Brentford’s best performers from their Gameweek 19 win over Aston Villa and provides an update to his Top 5 Bees over the course of the season so far…
Brentford got back to winning ways on Sunday afternoon and in some style.
A 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa was one in which the screw was slowly turned after an uncharacteristically anonymous start from the Bees. Thomas Frank’s team not even coming close to scoring before Wissa produced a moment of brilliance late on in the first half. From that point on, there was only one winner and sure enough it was Brentford. Three attempts on goal; two of them scored. The stats will point to four shots on target but let’s not forget that one of them was saved by Villa ‘keeper Emi Martinez before Mads Roerslev followed up his initial effort by finding the back of the net.
Boom. Lionel Road erupted. Moreso ten minutes later when Alvaro Fernandez made a point blank save from Danny Ings to deny the scorer of our visitor’s earlier goal. There was Pontus to then steer the loose ball away and confirm another win for Brentford.
A game that could well have been out of sight early doors eventually swung in Thomas Frank’s favour as, with the crowd behind them, Brentford cranked up the pressure to produce a fine win. Doing what so many teams have done to us in terms of taking the chances when they are presented. In containing the game until that point. Each in the sequence of substitutions helping build the momentum and, as much as anything else, provide some tough decisions for our top five performances.
Moreso given we are now half way through the Premier League campaign. 19 games played out of 38. 23 points earned so far. A total which sees the Bees 12 points clear of the relegation places (effectively 13 when you look at goal difference) with the same gap to the Champions League places. Whilst the later may be nothing more than a dream, most supporters would have well taken survival at the start of the campaign. So far, so good on that front. Just as long as performances like this keep on coming.
All of which begs the question as to who came out top of the pile from the visit of Villa? Who has played themselves in to contention for the visit to Southampton. Especially given our star man from the Manchester City game, Dominic Thompson, found himself back on the bench and Sergi Canos filling in at left wing back.
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 19 (vs Aston Villa)
1st (Star Player) – Mads Roerslev
It had to be. Games turn on moments and he produced two of them.
First up, the ball through for our equaliser. A lovely one-two with Jensen saw Mads receive the ball back and play a low, fast cross from the right straight through to Wissa’s feet. The ball was delightful; the finish clinical.
Yet it was the winner which really had the crowd going nuts. With little under ten minutes to go, he found himself high up in the box with Baptiste presenting the perfect opportunity on the angle. Martinez got to the first attempt but could only parry it back to Mads who returned the ball with interest at the second time of asking. Just magnificent.
If nothing else, would also now seem to have won the battle with Sergi as to who fills in at wing back.
2nd – Yoane Wissa
With Ivan looking out of sorts, the big man stepped up in style.
The trademark ‘W’ celebration repeated off the back of Brentford’s first genuine sniff at goal. Sure, it may have taken 42 minutes to get there but when it came…. Wow Wissa! The ball across from Mads Roerslev on the right was direct to feet. If anything, a touch too close to be hit first time. Instead, there was one touch to control it and then the ball guided from the edge of the box inside the far post with a beautiful curled effort.
If Mads won it for us, Yoane got us moving. Had Brentford stayed 1-0 down at HT on the back of that insipid start, we’d likely be telling a very different story today. Instead, the team and the crowd woke up and the rest is history.
3rd – Mads Bech
We’re giving this to Mads, as much for his work during that moribund forty minutes. Let’s not pretend Brentford were anything but abject in the first half. Thinking about this feature at that point, there was genuine consternation as to being able to pick one person let alone five. “Sorensen has been our best creative player this half” opined one North Stand observer late on in that opening period. Which pretty much summed it up although let’s not also overlook his keeping us in it with a number of timely challenges and clearances.
With Kris Ajer fit once more, Thomas Frank has some interesting decisions to be made. Expect them to be ruthless, especially if Dominic Thompson is anything to go by.
4th – Shandon Baptiste
Brought a much needed breath of fresh air and second wind to the Bees midfield when he came on at the start of the 60-70 sub zone. He and Christian always look so comfortable together and this game was no different. Just Vitaly needed for a full house (which was how we ended the game). It was Shandon’s ball that freed up Mads for the eventual winner but let’s not overlook his drive and enthusiasm in taking the game to Villa.
5th – Saman Ghoddos
Controversial, perhaps. Alvaro kept us alive at the death whilst Christian Norgaard was his usual zone of calm in the turbulent maelstrom that is a Premier League midfield battle ground.
However, Saman came on early in the second half to once more fill in at wing back. With him came tough tackling, determination and a desire to win that had been missing for so long. Stood his ground despite some shocking theatrics from the visitors (Trézéguet, we’re looking at you) and very much had a point to prove, in his mind, about being worthy of a place in the starting XI.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 19)
All of which means there is no change at the top with Ivan still clear. Christian Norgaard had another great game but just misses out on a top five placing, this time. Shandon Baptiste creeps into our top five based on his beautiful cameo from the bench. Now bring on Southampton and then the small matter of Liverpool away.
1st – Ivan Toney
2nd – Christian Norgaard
3rd – Rico Henry
4th – Bryan Mbuemo
5th – Shandon Baptiste