Brentford 1-0 Everton – Match Report
By George Nolan
Brentford dug deep to earn a hard fought 1-0 win over a struggling Everton at home.
Ivan Toney’s coolly converted penalty in the 23rd minute, awarded after a VAR review after a high boot from Andros Townsend on Frank Onyeka, was enough to separate the two sides.
The goal sparked an otherwise drab start to the game into life, as just a minute later, Lucas Digne surged down the left wing and delivered a cross for Salomon Rondon – deputising for the suspended Richarlison – who took it past Pontus Jansson but was brilliantly denied by Alvaro Fernandez from six yards out.
Just moments after Everton’s big chance, Brentford were up the other end as Toney and Vitaly Janelt neatly linked up to send the German through on goal but Abdoulaye Doucoure made an excellent recovery tackle to subdue the threat.
Brentford had a chance to double their advantage going into half time when a quick counter attack saw Janelt flick a looped pass from Toney into the path of Bryan Mbeumo, who from the edge of the area side footed his effort straight into Jordan Pickford.
Everton dominated possession but failed to create anything meaningful in the second half, Alex Iwobi saw a snapshot effort from eight yards out in the 58th minute but Fernandez once again, got down well to hold the shot at his near post.
The Toffees most sustained threat was undoubtedly when Demarai Gray entered the match in the 70th minute replacing Townsend. The Englishman was a consistent threat down the right hand side, but cut a frustrated figure as his several dangerous crosses across the face of goal were not met by a teammate.
The Bees staved off the waves of fierce late pressure from their opposition, who looked ineffectual without the talismanic figures of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, to claim a vital three points.
Heading into this fixture, the two sides sat 19th and 20th in the form charts respectively, based on results over the last five fixtures, collecting only a point each, two fewer than anyone else in the division.
So the win was an important one for Brentford, as they broke their four game losing run with the draw against Newcastle last week, and have now secured their first home victory since the opening day win against Arsenal. The Bees now climb to 12th in the Premier League, leapfrogging their defeated opposition, who fall to 14th. Thomas Frank’s men will now look ahead to their midweek fixture as they travel away to face a well-rested Tottenham Hotspur following the postponement of their game against Burnley.
As for Rafael Benitez’s men, defeat sees their winless run in the league extend to seven in what has been a staggering drop off in fortunes.
After the first six fixtures of the season, the Toffees accumulated 13 points from a possible 18 and sat 5th in the league. Since then, they’ve amassed only two points from 21 available.
This form is a massive cause for concern for Benitez as his side now enter a difficult run of fixtures, starting off with a home reunion with his former side Liverpool on Wednesday, then against an upbeat Arsenal, followed by an away visit to the always challenging Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.
Failure to pick up adequate points in those fixtures could potentially see Benitez as the next manager on the chopping block following the recent departures of Daniel Farke, Dean Smith and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.