Nick Bruzon picks out his best Bees from their draw against Spurs and we take a look at his updated player ratings feature after Gameweek 34.
April is over with Brentford remaining unbeaten following the four games against Chelsea, West Ham, Watford and, now, Spurs.
Gameweek 34’s 0-0 at home to Tottenham the first points dropped this month but, if anything, one of the most satisfying performances the Bees’ faithful have witnessed.
Ivan hit the woodwork twice, including one effort into stoppage time that would have sent an already bouncing Lionel Road into complete overdrive.
As at Watford last week, Christian Eriksen’s perfectly weighted late free kick drifted over the opposition defence to be headed goal wards. An almost carbon copy but with Hugo Lloris left rooted to his line, this time the ball cannoned to safety via the far post. Bryan Mbeumo, not quite able to steer the rebound home.
It would have been a goal, and the points, that the Brentford performance had warranted.
Moreso, given the absent Ethan Pinnock (expected), was then joined on the sidelines by Kris Ajer and Christian Norgaard when the teams were announced. Three defensive lynchpins all missing meant a makeshift defence with Saman Ghoddos pressed into a right wing back role and Mads Roerslev, likewise, at centre back.
Mads Bech starting in place of Ethan and Rico keeping his place on the other side.
Given the attacking prowess of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for the visitors, one could have been forgiven for any trepidation shown.
The flip side being that those who have seen the way Brentford fight would have remained confident, regardless of starting XI. That faith then very much rewarded.
Tottenham nullified all game with nothing to show for their efforts beyond a last second bicycle kick from Kane that flew just wide. Heart in mouth, anyone? Yet if it had gone in then that would have been the ultimate in smash and grabs.
Brentford taking the game to the visitors from the off. Rico ripping it up down the left and a succession of corners seeing Ivan come closest with one that flew back off the crossbar, perhaps via the faintest of touches from Lloris.
It pretty much summed up the afternoon for the Tottenham ‘keeper who lived a charmed life. One collision with Ivan Toney in the middle of the park saw him lucky to avoid any censure, despite the howls from the crowd.
Pontus came close and a number of scrambles, shots and ongoing build-up of pressure (Eriksen and Roerslev also having their moments) ultimately culminated in a denouement that came so close to mirroring what happened at Vicarage Road.
The record books will show a point for the Bees. Anyone there, or who has since caught up with the full rerun, will know how well Brentford played. How close they came to another Premier League win. How well this squad adapts. The team spirit being demonstrated by the bucketload. Again.
Yet with so many of our top five performers, along with the regular question of how deserves to be star man, is there room for any further change at the top of our season long performance chart? Is there a fair way to once again distill eleven wonderful performances into a mere five places? There’s only one way to find out….
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 34 (vs Spurs)
1st (Star Man) – Pontus Jansson
Hands down. Marshalled his new backline to wonderful effect and gave a true captain’s performance. Kept Harry Kane in his pocket all afternoon to the extent that such close personal attention would normally warrant police investigation. At the same time, he provided the height at the other end when the Bees needed a bit extra and came so close to breaking the deadlock.
2nd – Rico Henry
Absolutely magnificent, first half especially.
Family feuds are now ongoing in our house with Mrs. B saying Rico was top yesterday. Domestic pressure aside, fair to say it was close. Swirling and twirling like a roadrunner on speed, in her eyes, and it’s hard not to agree. He was immense. There was utter calm and confidence he was going to win anything that came his way.
3rd – Vitaly Janelt
A regular to the starting XI but in the absence of the talismanic Norgaard, worked even harder than ever. You can always tell he’s doing well by the amount his song is sung. He comes from Germany, and now he is a Bee being an even more regular refrain than usual, yesterday.
At the end of the day, Clive, you don’t get recognised if you aren’t doing well and on Saturday, that soundtrack was on repeat play.
4th – Saman Ghoddos
You could hear the prophets of doom spouting their gumph the second the team was named. They were soon silenced with Saman putting in a quite wonderful display of tough tackling, tenacity and pushing on down the line.
Even some actual journalists were expressing surprise at his selection ahead of Wissa but with Thomas Frank moving Mads Roerslev from right to centre, it was another tactical masterclass that was rewarded with a top, top performance from Saman. He played out of his skin.
5th – Christian Eriksen
You have to. With the build-up to this one being dominated by the story of Christian facing his former club, on pitch he was all Brentford as the football did the talking.
Came close to scoring on a couple of second half occasion but it was, once more, his dead ball delivery that added the additional dimension to Brentford’s game.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 34)
All of which means that Ivan Toney stays out in front but Rico Henry is just one point behind in second place. Bryan Mbeumo stays third and Christian Norgaard fourth with Vitaly Janelt now clear in fifth place.
1st – Ivan Toney
2nd – Rico Henry
3rd – Bryan Mbuemo
4th – Christian Norgaard
5th – Vitaly Janelt