Brentford ease past below-par West Ham to all-but secure Premier League survival

Brentford have all but assured their Premier League status for next season after a fourth win in five games gave them a first league double over West Ham since 1954.

Goals from Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney were enough to see off a flat West Ham display with David Moyes’ side preparing for a crucial game in France on Thursday.

That West Ham are still able to contemplate bettering last season’s sixth-place finish at the same time as dreaming of a Europa League semi-final tie with Barcelona is testament to the miracles Moyes has once again worked.

West Ham will travel to Lyon on Wednesday ahead of the second leg of their quarter-final with the tie finely poised at 1-1.

This was a second successive victory for Brentford over a London neighbor and they began the match with the confidence you would expect of a team which had just won 4-1 at Chelsea.

Christian Eriksen drifted between midfield and attack prompting all their brightest early attacks with West Ham central defenders Kurt Zouma and Craig Dawson put under repeated pressure.

Mbeumo’s header from Rico Henry’s cross was the first test for Lukasz Fabianski. The Frenchman then forced a far more impressive save from the Polish stopper as he shot fiercely at the near post following Yoane Wissa’s clever pass.

But there is no shortage of belief amongst Moyes; players either and the East Londoners soon grew into the game, though perhaps showed some signs of fatigue following Thursday night’s efforts against Lyon.

Czech defender Vladimir Coufal crossed for the unmarked Tomas Soucek whose header was straight at David Raya.

Moyes then suffered a blow as Zouma, who had started the game superbly, was forced off with injury and replaced by Issa Diop. From there, the pace of the game slowed, though Brentford came close on the stroke of half-time as Coufal headed Eriksen’s swirling free-kick onto the roof of his own net.

Three minutes after the break, Brentford led to enliven a stadium in danger of drifting off. Toney, scorer of four goals in his past three Premier League home starts, deftly touched Kristoffer Ajer’s throw-in into the path of Mbeumo who scored decisively with the outside of his left foot.

Moyes responded by replacing Manuel Lanzini, who had returned to the team after suffering minor injuries in a car accident, with Said Benrahma who was given a rapturous welcome at his former club.

Toney had made little impact on the game before his clever assist but he nearly provided another goal for Yoane Wissa with an equally incisive pass which was smothered clear in the nick of time by Fabianski.

A minute later, Toney added a second himself, nodding in Mbeumo’s touch from close range after an excellent run and cross from Rico Henry in the buildup. It was his 12th goal of the season, the most scored in the Premier League by an Englishman, alongside Harry Kane.

A little more composure from Mbeumo would have seen him add to his haul moments later but he volleyed wastefully over from close range after Vitaly Janelt had teed him up with West Ham by now in full retreat.

The question for the final 20 minutes was not whether West Ham would get back into the game but rather how many Brentford might score. For all the control that Thomas Frank’s side had, no further goals came.

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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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