Eriksen shone in The Bees’ Gameweek 35 defeat to Manchester United and, despite only arriving in January, could end up in Nick’s Top 5 if he continues to excel over the remaining three games.
Manchester United completed the double over Brentford with a 3-0 win that was pretty much handed to them on a plate.
It is a mark of how far this Brentford side have come that fans left Old Trafford disappointed about coming away from this one with nothing to show.
The form and confidence seen in recent weeks left behind in West London as United were allowed to ease clear.
A first half flash in the pan moment of attacking endeavour from Bruno Fernandes and a second half penalty from the petulant Cristiano Ronaldo were followed by Raphael Varane’s deflected effort at the same time as the, apparent, fan walk out against the Glazers was due to happen.
Yet much like the Bees’ attacking prowess, it failed to materialise.
Having a hissy fit all well and good unless you are winning, in which case move along – nothing to see here. See also: Cristiano Ronaldo who spent the game throwing himself to the floor, feigning injury or waving his arms in frustration like a mad windmill. The cheers that greeted his reaction to a first half ‘goal’ being correctly reversed for offside matched only be the catcalls following one horrific ‘injury’ received with Brentford on the ascendency in the second half. His recovery from that one when play was stopped, nothing short of miraculous.
Yet getting on the high horse about half-arsed home support (forget the ‘of dreams’ bit, it was more like watching a game at an actual theatre) won’t change the facts of a game that, had they been a bit braver, Brentford may well have found themselves emulating the highs of April.
Instead, a bright start saw Christian Eriksen setting up Bryan Mbeumo within seconds of kick off. Yes. Yes. Nooo. It came to nothing but this looked good. A flurry of corners follows. The hosts not even close to coming second.
Then, they broke and with less than 10 minutes gone had the lead. Electric pace seeing the ball played down the right, somehow dug out from an almost certain throw in to the Bees and the ball over guided home by Fernandes. One attack. One goal. One – nil to Man U. We go again, anyone?
From that point, the scene was set. The Bees on the back foot and the early promise replaced by sitting way too deep, letting United hold on to the ball like a bully in a playground.
Christian Eriksen trying to build things for the Bees. Much of our attacking intent telegraphed through Rico Henry. Ivan Toney unable to level things up or find a killer touch in front of goal.
Instead, it was United who did the business once more. Henry adjudged to have bundled Ronaldo over (from where we were down the other end it looked nailed on) with United’s man-child making no mistake from the spot.
The third goal then coming immediately after a flurry of Bees substitutions and, from there, we had no way back.
3-0 too much of a bridge to cross but, being fair, we could have played all night and the goal wouldn’t have come. Let alone three of them. It was just one of those nights.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and, perhaps, it is as much testament to how far Brentford have come that we were all feeling a bit underwhelmed as the full time whistle blew. This game was there for the taking. United a club in disarray. In the end, despite the best efforts of the magnificent travelling support, the hosts did what they needed to and showed their class at the required moment. Credit to them. Lesson learned for Brentford on Gameweek 35.
Did anyone warrant a place in the top five? Is there any contender for star man after an oddly quiet night? How is the top of that season long table looking? For me, Clive, there is only one candidate…
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 35 (vs Manchester United)
1st (Star player) – Christian Eriksen
Even trying to act as the harshest of critics (something always done when looking at a player who is truly world class), it would be fair to say he was as strong as ever.
That delicious first ball to Bryan setting the tone in a personal performance which was head and shoulders above anyone else in yellow on Gameweek 35. Shots at goal, teasing crosses (one, for Ivan, deserved so much more than going just over), set piece delivery and that almost predictable array of tracer bullet passes.
Let’s hope those rumours of house hunting in Richmond and a school search in Chiswick are true.
2nd – Mads Roerslev
If Christian was dominating play through the middle, Mads more than held his own at right wing back. Most of the second half play down the flanks came from him. He was calm on the back foot. Positive going forward.
With Kris Ajer again playing in his more traditional centre back role, Mads looked more than comfortable in this hugest of footballing arenas.
3rd – Kris Ajer
Solid, solid, solid. Put in a number of challenges and tackles that more than served to stem the hemorrhaging of goals scored on the break.
Like Mads, was not afraid to try and push forward either
4th – Vitaly Janelt
Had the midfield and defence not allowed so much time on the ball, this could well have been a different story. Vitaly certainly tried his best and never stopped running. The cries of ‘shooooot’ from the crowd mirroring the parable excitement felt every time he got near the edge of the box
5th – Christian Norgaard
Sitting just in front of the back three, he looked as confident as ever. Like Vitaly, also did his best to push up when the opportunity arose which, granted, given the strangely subdued approach form the Bees wasn’t as often as we would have hoped for.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 35)
All of which means there is no change at the top. Vitaly and Christian Norgaard consolidating their positions slightly and Christian Eriksen leading a single-handed charge towards the upper places of our table. Not bad for less than half a season played.
1st – Ivan Toney
2nd – Rico Henry
3rd – Bryan Mbuemo
4th – Christian Norgaard
5th – Vitaly Janelt