Brentford 2 West Ham United 0 – News

Brentford completed a Premier League double over West Ham United and made it four wins in their last five matches with a 2-0 victory on a sunny spring afternoon. Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney set up goals for each other as The Bees picked up three points against their East London opponents. The Bees fully deserved the points, which they added to three secured in a 2-1 victory over the same opponents earlier in the season, as they continued their winning run.

The Bees had the better of a first half that ended 0-0 and took control after the break. Mbeumo scored just after half time and ended a swift counter-attack with a volleyed cross that Toney headed in for the second. West Ham only had limited spells of attacking possession and mostly played in front of a well-drilled Brentford defence, creating few chances.

Brentford shaded the opening to the contest, but there were few chances. The game was mostly played in the central part of the pitch, where there was a competitive and combative midfield battle. Brentford were keener to get on the front foot when they had the ball while the visitors were patient with their possession, content to play in their own half.

Brentford started the game with their central midfield players close together. They wanted space on the flanks to exploit and there were some early attacking runs form Rico Henry on the left which posed West Ham difficulties. The first eventually enabled Kristoffer Ajer to get a shot away from 15 yards, which was blocked. The ball was recycled and Vitaly Janelt set up Christian Nørgaard to cross. Yoane Wissa met the cross, but his header was blocked.

Mbeumo met another Henry cross soon after, but could only head straight at Łukasz Fabiański. He got on to a first time pass from Toney soon after and smashed in a shot that Fabiański had to push around the post. Mbeumo volleyed over when a corner dropped loose and Fabiański gathered an Ethan Pinnock header when Toney had flicked on a long throw from Zanka.

Tomáš Souček headed straight at Raya for the visitors, but Brentford would have been much the happier with the first half hour. Christian Eriksen and Janelt were finding more space in midfield and The Bees had a threat on the flanks with Henry and Ajer supporting Wissa and Mbeumo. The only thing missing for the home side was the final pass or finish.

A Toney flick set Wissa away on the left and his cross was intercepted, but only as far as Janelt. The Bees tried to find space in the West Ham area but none of Janelt, Mbeumo or Toney could create space to shoot. The effort from Eriksen was low but comfortable for Fabiański. Zanka strode out of defense to set up another chance soon after. Janelt and Toney exchanged passes and the ball was set for Mbeumo, but he curled a shot over.

West Ham were probably not helped by an injury to Kurt Zouma, who limped off. Craig Dawson, their other central defender, also had treatment for a facial injury and there were times in the first period when the game was more stop-start than either side would have liked. But Brentford had the upper hand as the interval approached and they had a couple of sights of goal late in the half.

Eriksen, starting to come to the fore, created one with a burst through midfield. He spread the ball to the right, but the shot was blocked after Mbeumo picked it up and cut inside. An Eriksen free kick was then flicked on by West Ham defender Vladimír Coufal at the near post and a corner was conceded as the ball landed on the roof of the net. Brentford prevented West Ham clearing that corner and space was created for Eriksen, but the shot was saved low by Fabiański.

West Ham had a late chance when Aaron Cresswell met a deep corner, but he smashed a shot wide, and the half ended 0-0. Brentford would probably have been the happier at that point, having had more attacking possession and created the better openings. And they were even happier just after half time.

The Bees started the half on the front foot and a quick throw from Ajer was fed by Toney in to the path of Mbeumo, in off the right. He did not have to break stride before firing a show low past Fabiański at the near post. The West Ham goalkeeper was not able to set himself before the ball ripped past him and Brentford were ahead.

Brentford had gone close moments earlier when it took a telescopic leg from Dawson to prevent an Eriksen cross reaching Toney a few yards from goal. The touch from Dawson was exactly right, preventing the cross reaching its destination and enabling Fabiański to gather. A shooting chance was created for Janelt just after the goal, but he slipped as he connected, and the effort was blocked.

West Ham tried to respond and open the game up, but Brentford had the initiative and were defending solidly enough to prevent the visitors creating anything. Raya had to gather a cross or two but Pinnock and Zanka dealt with anything that came through the middle while Henry and Ajer the threat out wide. West Ham had not forced Raya in to a save after falling behind before The Bees had a second.

The goal was an example of a clinical counter-attack, started when Eriksen pinched the ball deep in his own half. Nørgaard drove forward and released Henry on the left. Henry played a one-two with Wissa and then delivered a cross to the far post. Mbeumo fed it back in to the middle on the volley and Toney was there to head in. Toney’s header was from only a few yards and Fabiański had no chance as The Bees went two up.

Fabiański had been called in to action moments earlier, rushing out to save at the feet of Wissa, who looked like he was getting on to a Toney through ball. And soon after the goal there was another opening for The Bees. Eriksen had possession on the left and created space for a cross-cum-shot that Fabiański had to push away under his crossbar. Nørgaard won the aerial challenge to push West Ham in and Wissa found Janelt. There was no room for a shot, but Janelt crossed for Mbeumo and he volleyed over from close range.

Declan Rice headed a wide corner for the visitors, but they were looking beaten, and Brentford continued to create openings. A great pass from Mathias Jensen released Toney in behind the West Ham defence, his first touch created space for a shot, but Dawson made a recovery tackle. Toney was about to pull the trigger before Dawson intervened, to prevent a third goal.

A snap shot from Sergi Canós was saved by Fabiański as The Bees went looking for a third and Rice smashed over from distance. Saïd Benrahma almost pulled one back at the death for the visitors with a shot after a corner was cleared, which landed on the roof of the net. That was West Ham’s last chance, and The Bees had the win.

Brentford: Stripe; Ajer (sub Roerslev 82 mins), Zanka, Pinnock, Henry; Janelt (sub Jensen 69 mins), Nørgaard, Eriksen; Mbeumo (sub Canós 78 mins), Toney, Wissa

Subs (not used): Fernandez, Jeanvier, Bech, Fosu, Baptiste, Ghoddos

West Ham United: Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Zouma (sub Diop 29 mins), Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Lanzini (sub Benrahma 57 mins), Fornals; Antonio (sub Vlašić 66 mins)

Subs (not used): Areola, Yarmolenko, Fredericks, Masuaku, Johnson, Král

Bookings: Antonio (66 mins)

Attendance: 17,032 (1,725 ​​away fans)

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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