Nick Bruzon provides an update to his list containing the Top 5 Brentford players over the season so far. This edition comes after a defeat to Manchester United on Gameweek 22.
On paper, a scoreline suggesting utter dominance from Manchester United.
A 3-1 defeat will do that to you regardless of the opposition. In practice, Brentford will have been kicking themselves all the way home and wondering how they’ve come away empty handed.
It was a first half performance which was about as blistering as they come. Wave after wave of red and white pressure. Save after save from David De Gea. United so bang average despite the raft of household names in their team and on their bench. The Bees sensing blood with their opponents on the ropes but unable to deliver that knockout blow.
The crowd on their feet time and again as series of wonderful chances were created. The two clearest of these falling to Matthias Jensen in that opening period and more to others. Surely one of them would go in? At least one of them probably should have.
Yet, as we know too well, football doesn’t work like that. There are no prizes awarded for could, woulda, shoulda. No points given for statistical dominance and, with the teams back out for the second half, the inevitable happened.
United re-emrging with a spring in their step and, presumably, a rocket up their backside.
Anthony Elanga giving them the lead with a header ten minutes into the second half. Lössl replacing Fernandez in goal may well feel he should have got there. It didn’t look good from the stands with the ‘keeper caught in no man’s land.
There was a suspicion of offside for the second as Fernandes set up Mason Greenwood and once Marcus Rashford had smashed it past Lössl at his near post it was game over.
Brentford did, at least, have the consolation of a goal from Ivan Toney deep into regulation time. A long throw from Mads Bech being pinged around the box before he was able to fire home from close in. Sadly, it was too little too late in terms of being able to alter the result.
Instead, we have to be content with a night that ended with heads held high after outplaying a club that considers itself to be the biggest in world football. A night that ended with Brentford perhaps ruing missed opportunity and praying for the day we don’t come up against a top class goalkeeper. A night that ended with huge positivity if we can play like this again.
Which means we have that unenviable task of picking the top five performers for Brentford. Who impressed? Who is worthy of a place in our footballing hit parade? Can anyone break into that top five?
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 22 (vs Man Utd)
1st (Star Player) – Bryan Mbeumo
My word he was fantastic. The front man didn’t stop running all game. Didn’t stop driving the team forward whilst even played his role at the back when needed. This was the Bryan who tore apart the Championship.
He’s been on his game this season (as evidenced by his showing in our chart), but this was by far and away his best performance. Back to his pre-covid best.
2nd – Mathias Jensen
This may be contrary to broader opinion but, personally speaking, I thought Matthias had a wonderful game in his position.
Perhaps it was the prospect of Christian Eriksen breathing down his neck or Josh Dasilva almost back to fitness but he had a great game in midfield. Creative. Aggressive. Skillful. Coming out of the game all the mutterings were about the chanced he had and, it’s true, one or both should probably have gone in. On a normal day. David De Gea was the man in the way.
3rd – Ivan Toney
The challenge of how to get him back to the free flowing goals remains as strong as ever but in a new system and a new position he continues to impress. That work rate remains relentless and when the Bees are facing the set pieces he remains one of our best defenders.
Like Bryan, energy through the roof and gets everywhere. The goal was just reward for the player after a couple of other opportunities that came close for the Bees.
4th – Christian Norgaard
As ever he just got on with it in midfield and, like Matthias, took the ball forward to the opposition. Had one of those great early chances himself when tee’d up by Jensen but hit it just over on the angle. Played a part in the pinball for our goal, getting the final touch before Ivan guided it home.
5th – Mads Bech
Brought in as a replacement for Kris Ajer after Liverpool. Whether this was injury or performance related remains unclear but he looked so, so confident at the back. Wasn’t afraid to take the ball forward either.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 22)
All of which means Ivan has a bit of clear air at the top after charting for the first time in a few games, with Christian and Bryan now tied in joint second. With Rico Henry only coming on as a substitute he didn’t really get the opportunity to trouble the stats and slips to fourth. Vitaly rounds off the Top 5 with Shandon Baptise breathing down his neck.
1st – Ivan Toney
T2nd – Bryan Mbuemo, Christian Norgaard
4th – Rico Henry
T5th – Vitaly Janelt, Shandon Baptiste