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Brentford Player Ratings – Gameweek 33

Gameweek 33 - Brentford Player Ratings after latest Matchday

Nick Bruzon picks out the best 5 Bees from their Gameweek 33 win over Watford and updates his Top 5 Brentford players over the course of the season so far.

Football, eh? The gift that keeps on giving decided to offer up a little bit more at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon.

Brentford’s 2-1 defeat of Watford on Gameweek 33 making if three Premier League wins in a row.

A second double on the bounce after securing all six points against West Ham last weekend.

This time around, as at Lionel Road, the Bees left it late. Very late. 

There were just 12 seconds of time added on remaining when Pontus Jansson rose above the Watford defence to power home Christian Eriksen’s perfectly placed free kick in front of the travelling fans. The eruption of joy and leaping all over the supporters immense – and that was just the players. A moment all the sweeter given our hosts had conspired to, somehow, miss a match winning opportunity down the other end just seconds earlier. Hitting the post from close in before Louza managed to scoop the ball over the bar from yards out rather than steer it in to the empty net. 

The Hornets falling apart in a style much akin to Leeds United. If you believe the song. Or your eyes.

Did the Bees deserve it? Probably not on the balance of play but, as we all know, that’s not how football works. Goals win games and we got two of them.

After looking hugely comfortable in the first half, Brentford went in with just Christian Norgaard’s goal to show for their efforts. The great Dane calmly guiding it home in a manner Louza can only have watched back and wept over. 

This, after Kris Ajer had flicked on a long throw from Ethan Pinnock. Sadly it was the last meaningful contribution from the big man at the back who went off not much later. The defender falling to the ground under seemingly no real pressure. Fingers crossed that’s nothing more than precautionary.

Despite controlling the first half, chances were at a premium in a stodgy affair that was definitely one for the statisticians.

Ivan Toney came perilously close to doubling the lead early into the second period before Watford were allowed back in. VAR coming to their aid to overrule the linesman’s flag. The goal from Emmanuel Dennis stood.

Watford kept on pushing. The Bees with just Ivan’s speculative effort from distance to show for their troubles. It was audacious and had it gone in there would have been scenes to match those later saved for Pontus.

Yet it was Watford who pushed on. Who applied the pressure. Who knocked on the door. Whose fans, bizarrely, started streaming out with the clock showing five minutes of time added on about to be played. It was Watford who would receive the ultimate lesson about taking your chances when presented.

For Brentford, five wins out of the last six. The top ten a very real aspiration if they can maintain this form. Eleventh place in the Premier League a quite wonderful place to be sitting with just five games left to play.

The acquisition of Christian Eriksen over the January transfer window being the master stroke in giving that additional X-factor to a squad (Kris Ajer aside) made up of Championship players.

Europe may be a touch too far but it means the end of the season can be enjoyed with no pressure and an almost ‘free hit’ mentality.

We’re already miles ahead of where anyone predicted. There are 15 more points to play for and the chance to write some history.

All of which is very nice but skirts around the real reason we’re here. The Star Man. The top five performers. The season long hunt to find out who is Brentford’s overall highest ranked player based on a game-by-game points system of 5 (for 1st place) down to 1 (5th place). On Gameweek 33, those points go to…

Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 33 (vs Watford)

1st (Star Man) – Rico Henry
The decision not even in question. Eriksen created chances. Pontus got the goal. But, our left back was magnificent.

At half-time, the friends I’d gone to the game with – well used to being asked who they think could make the top five running – offered an unprompted, simultaneous chorus of ‘Rico’. Who’d disagree?

It was one of those ball tied to foot with a piece of string performances. None shall pass when defending. Breaking with speed when presented the chance. Made it look men against boys. Not for the first time this season. I do wonder whether he may even be in with the chance of World Cup selection. That position has often been seen as the poisoned chalice yet here he is, drinking it up with abandon

2nd – Pontus Jansson
Yes, the goal. Of course that’s going to get the headline writer’s attention but his performance was so much more than this.

With Rico locking it up on one side, Pontus was immense in the middle. Tackles he had no right to be making. A physical presence that Watford had no way through and only added to the stage-fright seen when they were presented opportunity. A proper colossus and one who we’ll be leaning on even more over the run in should Ethan’s injury turn out to be as bad as many feared. That’s for then. For now Pontus Jansson is, indeed, magic – as the song being sung all the way home goes.

3rd – Kris Ajer
Again playing in a right back position that feels more and more a genuine option as to how we can set up going forward rather than the ‘something has to change’ throw of the dice when first seen at Carrow Road. A game where defeat would have added to a period that was already moving from blip to worry for many fans. Instead, we blitzed them and the only way since then has been up. Ajer at right back has been key to this and we saw it again yesterday.

Whilst he doesn’t quite have the trickiness of his flank partner, what he does possess is tackling skill forged in fire alongside Pontus. What he also has is the ability to take the ball and run forward. To turn defence into attack. It’s a different style to Rico but one which is equally effective.

4th – Christian Norgaard
An afternoon where Brentford spent large portions on the back foot saw him as the first line of defence. Sitting ahead of the Pinnock – Pontus pairing he spent much of the game stopping our hosts in their tracks and pinging it forward.
Like his captain, got his name on the scoresheet but he’s up here for a performance that mirrored his season to date. Quiet. Unassuming. Indispensable. He rarely gets the column inches but anybody watching the Bees on a regular basis will see what he does for this team. How essential he is.

Yesterday, with the attacking trio not quite able to make their usual inroads, his performance was critical. Thankfully, he delivered yet again.

5th – Christian Eriksen
If anything, we’re at the point where his name is in the top five by default. Where performances are, perhaps, judged even harder just to make sure he’s there on merit rather than being caught up in the media circus that has surrounded everything he has done since arriving in January. Not that matters off field seem to worry him.

Eriksen has been nothing short of a revelation and yesterday saw that run continue. His free kick to set up Pontus was, of course, sublime but he’d already created opportunity for Ivan and bossed the midfield prior to then. One man doesn’t make a team but he can, certainly, add to what is already there. Another game where his presence was an indelible mark on the final score.

Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Overall (after Gameweek 33)

All of which means that Rico Henry is just five points / one star-man performance behind Ivan Toney after Gameweek 33. Bryan stays third with Christian Norgaard hot on his heels. Ethan Pinnock and Vitaly Janelt locked on joint fifth and just five games to go. Next up, Spurs on Saturday. On this form, anything could happen…

1st – Ivan Toney
2nd – Rico Henry
3rd – Bryan Mbuemo
4th – Christian Norgaard
T5th – Ethan Pinnock, Vitaly Janelt

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Gameweek 33 – Brentford Player Ratings – Gameweek 33 edition

Gameweek 33 - Brentford Player Ratings after latest Matchday

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