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 Wolves in Gameweek 23.
Well this is about as tough as it gets. Trying to pick out the top Brentford performers on an afternoon where there were more smoke and mirrors to distract from the ‘actual’ football than an episode of the Paul Daniels Magic Show.
With referee (sorry, ‘referee’) Peter Bankes filling the role of the lovely Debbie McGee his own display was one which achieved that rare feat of uniting both the home and away supporters. Their calls for a competent official ringing around Lionel Road as a series of frustrating decisions combined with an additional 26 minutes of time eventually added on to both halves left us with lopsided and disjointed afternoon.
In part, these were due to the significant first half delay caused when a rogue drone was piloted over the Stadium and refused to budge. Premier League rules demanding the players leave the field of play in such an event.
We’d already had a lengthy stoppage following the collision between Rico Henry and Matthias Jensen that saw blood everywhere and both players replaced by concussion substitutes.
Further mayhem occurred when Mr Bankes suffered an equipment malfunction at the start of the second half before a further interruption from a small parachute dropping into the field of play in front of the North stand.
The game concluded with Thomas Frank taking the role of Hans Moretti. Cutting edge contemporary references that may require the use of YouTube or a parent but valid none the less. His taking aim at Peter Bankes (verbally) resulted in not one but two yellow cards in a moment that was straight out of the Martin Allen playbook.
Then, just when it couldn’t get any more crazy, the signing of Christian Eriksen was all but confirmed on social media. Please be true. Please..
So, Brentford v Wolves. In short, a 2-1 win for the visitors. The Bees had been well on top from the off. Picking up where we’d left off against Manchester United until the drone killed the mood. Until we’d ben forced to rejig following that double substitution. Until Wolves found their mojo and exploited sloppy defending. Three second half goals conceded from the edge of the box. The first seeing fast interplay before João Moutinho fired through a plethora of defenders to the far post with Lössl rooted to his line.
Their second, coming after Ivan Toney had equalised with a tracer bullet from a Bryan Mbeumo free kick, seeing the ball go from player to player to player across the 18 yard line before Neves shot through a plethora of defenders. Lössl at least managing a dive.
The third saw a ball played through the middle and Traore shot from a similar point as the previous two. Lössl beaten at the same post as before but spared by a VAR review. Now that’s magic. Even if it wasn’t quite enough to save Brentford.
So – the top five. He’s not in the running but honorary mention must go to Brentford legend Peter Gilham. He’s been our ‘man with the mic’ since just after the first Moon landing and shows no sign of giving up anytime soon. A series of zingers and deadpan announcements about ‘unauthorised drone activity’ showing he remain at the top of his game. Instead, we need to look to the playing staff…
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 23 (vs Wolves)
1st (Star Player) – Bryan Mbeumo
Back to back recognition for Bryan but rightly so. The brightest spark on cold afternoon, his drive against a really well organised and solid defence almost brought us at least a point. A beautiful ball over the Wolves back five fell perfectly for Ivan to give hope but it was more than this. The real stand out for the Bees
2nd – Ivan Toney
On an afternoon of fine margins for Brentford, he produced a moment of magic to level the scores. These days we’ve become more used to seeing him sitting just off the top or even mopping up in defence but, like Manchester United, he showed that when the ball falls to him in the box he’s unstoppable. The free kick fell to him in the set-piece position normally occupied by Ethan Pinnock, he made the space and fired straight back in to the far corner. A reminder of where and how he should be playing.
3rd – Mathias Jensen
Yes. And? He was only on pitch for little more than twenty minutes but, like Bryan, continued where he had left off against Man Utd. His brief cameo filled with tackling and forward momentum. Clearly he’s relishing the prospect of an all Danish midfield with his international colleagues and seems reinvigorated at present after a slow start.
4th – Vitaly Janelt
What are the moments that stand out when looking back at a game? One early ball through and across the Wolves’ box to Sergi was absolutely exquisite and right up there with the best. There was no right to hit it that well but Vitaly did. Like Matthias, impressed in our early purple patch and was there throughout as the team changed around him.
5th – Kris Ajer
It may seem an odd selection in a game where defensive frailties have been called out but at least there was some attempt to take the game to, and through, our opponents. Kris is as important going forward and building play as he is at the back.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 23)
All of which mean Ivan starts to get some clear air at the top with Bryan also breaking free. Rico Henry, desperately unlucky with injury remains just behind Christian Norgaard. Vitaly Janelt remains fifth with a whole pack of players just behind him.
1st – Ivan Toney
2nd – Bryan Mbuemo
3rd – Chrstian Norgaard
4th – Rico Henry
5th – Vitaly Janelt