Ivan Toney’s late double gave Brentford a hugely important 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Burnley, which moves the west London side nine points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Burnley were on their way out of the bottom three with the tense encounter looking set to finish goalless. They had even come close to winning it themselves, with Jay Rodriguez’s superb strike from long range thumping the bar in the second half.
But Christian Eriksen showed his quality with an inviting, bending ball into the box for Toney to head home on 85 minutes and then Nathan Collins saw red when he brought down the striker in injury-time, allowing Toney to seal it with his second from the penalty spot (90+4).
That’s five goals in two games for Toney, who was also Brentford’s match-winner at Norwich last weekend, and those two victories have given Thomas Frank’s side a huge boost in their survival bid. They had picked up just one point in their previous eight games prior to securing their first back-to-back wins in the Premier League.
“I’d be shocked if Brentford went down from this position,” said Sky Sports’ Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday. “The manager is different class. He has them playing the right way. Today they weren’t great but they dug in and they’ve had two massive results at the right time. I’d be amazed if they went down now.”
Merson also described Toney as the best penalty taker in the world, with his latest strike from 12 yards making it 17 scored from 17 taken in all competitions. “He’s consistent. He doesn’t miss,” said Merson. “And every penalty he takes is a big penalty. He’s not taking them at 4-0 up. He’s scoring them at big moments in games. He keeps his composure and it would be hard to find someone in the world who is better in the world.”
Brentford: Raya (6), Ajer (6), Pinnock (6), Jansson (6), Henry (5), Canos (7), Norgaard (6), Eriksen (7), Janelt (6), Mbeumo (6), Toney (8)
Subs: Wissa (6), Jensen (N/A), Onyeka (N/A)
Burnley: Pope (6), Roberts (5), Collins (5), Tarkowski (7), Taylor (6), Lennon (6), Brownhill (6), Westwood (6), McNeil (6), Cornet (6), Weghorst (6)
Subs: Rodriguez (7)
Man of the match: Ivan Toney (Brentford)
His latest penalty sealed this victory and means Burnley’s concerns grow; they have now lost three on the spin and sit a point behind Everton, who have played two games fewer than them.
The visitors could have been behind in the first half, too, but captain James Tarkowski made crucial blocks at the beginning and end of the opening period, atoning for a poor pass to Sergi Canos to head away the Spaniard’s effort before throwing himself in the way of Bryan Mbeumo’s shot just before the break.
- Brentford were completely unchanged from their 3-1 win at Norwich last week, with Eriksen starting in midfield. Ajer and Norgaard started having been forced off at Norwich with injuries.
- Burnley made just one change from the 4-0 home defeat by Chelsea last week as Cornet replaced Rodriguez. Mee remained out.
There was also a sharp stop from Burnley keeper Nick Pope to deny Eriksen from 20 yards, with the Dane looking to mark his first start in front of the Brentford home fans with a goal.
At the other end Maxwel Cornet dragged a shot wide before Dwight McNeil got a header horribly wrong from Ashley Westwood’s cross. But it was Burnley’s disappointing quality from set pieces which really stood out in the first 45 minutes, with Sean Dyche’s side failing to create a real chance from seven corners.
Those poor deliveries continued in the second half but Cornet almost capitalised on a poor back pass from Rico Henry, and Rodriguez crashed against the bar as they put the pressure on in open play.
But Toney, with the assistance of a wonderful cross from Eriksen and a shove in the back from Collins as he raced through on goal, came up with the decisive double blow in the end for Brentford, clinching a potentially pivotal match in the fight for Premier League status.
Dyche: Defeat sums up our season
Burnley boss Sean Dyche believed his side’s defeat was another example of his side playing well but then failing to get the result their performance deserved.
“We’ve performed well a lot of times and not always got the outcome we wanted and that happened again today. To come down here and control a lot of the game and lose 2-0. We have to maintain the belief in performances but we have to do better than that in the details.
“There weren’t an abundance of chances but good quality chances. The shape and mentality of the side, usually we’d see that game through to get a point. If you can’t get a win, you have to get a point.
“I don’t want to be too harsh on our performance because it’s not too far away but we have to do better on our defensive details.
“We’ve come out of these challenges before and we have to work to come out of it again.”
Frank: A fantastic feeling!
Brentford boss Thomas Frank was delighted with his team’s victory and the impact it has had on their position in the table – but insisted his focus will always remain on the next game until the end of the season.
“Every win in the Premier League is tough to get. When you score late in the game, those emotions fill your body. That’s a fantastic feeling after a good performance.
“Ivan is a top striker and he is finding his feet after Covid and an injury. He’s definitely up to speed with five goals in two games. I think he is the best there is in the world at this moment in time [at penalties] but I’m very pleased for the first goal because that was the type of goal I wanted more from him. As for Eriksen, it was so good to see him in that position, producing the quality we know he’s capable of.
“This group of players is unique: fantastic characters, strong mentality. They run, play and fight for each other. There are tactics we like to do but that foundation is unique and why we are where we are.
“This is a very big step. Throughout the season we’ve talked about the next game and that is still the aim. We will get a good glass of red tonight and then focus on the next game again.”
Man of the Match Toney praises Eriksen | Merse: Toney scores big goals
Brentford’s Ivan Toney:
“That was a massive win. Burnley are a strong side, it was always going to be tough. But we dug in well and it was a deserved three points.
“We all know Eriksen will put it on a plate for you and it’s up to you to put it in the back of the net. You have to stay switched on.
“I feel confident in front of goal at the moment, especially with penalties. I practice them day in, day out on the training pitch.”
Sky Sports’ Paul Merson:
“He’s got 13 goals. They’ve got nine games left and I’d expect him to get three more. That’s some going.
“He knits the team together. Before Eriksen got there he did a lot of work outside the box but he scores big goals in big football matches. I’m a big fan of his. I wouldn’t say there’s a better penalty taker in the world, is there?”
Opta stats – Another Eriksen assist; a rare red for Burnley
- Brentford have won consecutive top-flight games for the first time since September 1946.
- Burnley have suffered three consecutive Premier League defeats for the first time since losing five in a row between May and August 2021.
- Ivan Toney has scored seven goals in his last five Premier League appearances, after having scored just four goals in his first 19 appearances this season for Brentford.
- Brentford’s Christian Eriksen registered his first Premier League assist since December 2019, when he assisted Jan Vertonghen’s winning goal against Wolves for Spurs. Since his first Premier League appearance in September 2013, only Kevin De Bruyne (80) has more assists in the competition than Eriksen (63).
- Nathan Collins became the first Burnley player to be sent off in the Premier League since January 2019, when Robbie Brady saw red against Huddersfield Town, ending a run of 119 league games without the Clarets having a player sent off.
Brentford’s next Premier League game will see them travel to face Leicester on Sunday March 20 at 2pm.
Burnley’s next fixture against Southampton on Saturday March 19, which was due to be played live on Sky Sports, has been postponed. This means Sean Dyche’s side are next scheduled to host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Saturday April 2 at 3pm.
Source : Sky Sports