|Brentford 3 v 1 Leeds United|
Saturday, 4th November 2017 Kick-off 17:30
Match Report: Brentford 3-1 Leeds United - Tommy, Tommy Tommy; Out Out Out?
Sunday, 5th Nov 2017 11:40 by @LucasMonk_
In an eagerly anticipated match that was broadcast on live television, Leeds United were, yesterday evening, rendered asunder and comfortably defeated by an assiduous Brentford team who manufactured a competent performance to win 3-1 at Griffin Park.
Football, on occasion, is abound with injustice, and supporters of Leeds United’s most recent opponents, Brentford, have been at pains to inform anyone who they believe may listen attentively of this. For an appreciable period of the season, there had been an eminent feeling among loyal followers of the Bees that the results their team were obtaining were not commensurate with their performances. This week, then, has perhaps been a watershed for the West London side; after a hard-fought 2-0 victory away to Birmingham City, a similarly workmanlike performance saw them topple United yesterday evening owing to goals from Neal Maupay, Yoann Barbet and Ryan Woods.
Following a most disdainful performance and dispiriting defeat at home to Derby County on Tuesday evening, Leeds head coach Thomas Christiansen elected to make a mere two alterations to his starting lineup. Liam Cooper, having recuperated from injury, replaced Matthew Pennington to partner Pontus Jansson in defence, while Stuart Dallas was relegated to the rank of substitute as Gaetano Berardi was once more assigned the role of left-back.
After the statutory toss of a coin, it was the right of the hosts to begin proceedings with Brentford attacking the goal behind which the Leeds fans were situated.
The Bees enjoyed a sprightly start, and created for themselves the match’s first opportunity in only the second minute. After a cross by Nico Yennaris into the United penalty area from the right channel, Ollie Watkins attempted to nod the ball across goal; Leeds hurriedly averted the danger, with Pontus Jansson clearing the ball to safety.
Five minutes elapsed before Brentford ventured into the United half once more. An excellent, inswinging right-footed delivery of considerable accuracy from Watkins was met by the head of left-back Yoann Barbet, though Jansson would once again mitigate the threat posed to his team.
The alacritous hosts would not relent; on nine minutes, Dutch right-winger Florian Jozefzoon received possession on the right from Ryan Woods, before cutting infield and unleashing a wild and innocuous effort over the crossbar.
Two minutes passed, before Brentford were awarded a free-kick on the verge of the United penalty area after Neal Maupay was impeded. Barbet subsequently chanced his arm, and there was much relief when his sumptuous, curling effort flew narrowly wide of the mark.
Leeds were having to withstand considerable attacking pressure, and Brentford came even closer to breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute. Maupay saw an effort from inside the penalty area defiantly blocked by a defender, before Watkins elicited from United ‘keeper Andy Lonergan an attentive save to push what was a venomous strike wide.
The hosts would soon establish a slender advantage, and the goal was not of their creation. In the 23rd minute, Barbet’s looping cross was dropped by Lonergan - leaving Maupay with a gaping goal at his mercy. The Frenchman duly headed the ball into the net to score what will likely have been the most facile goal of his career.
Leeds would create their first discernible opening of the match in the 38th minute, when a long ball eluded the defensive endeavours of Brentford central defenders Andreas Bjelland and John Egan and was then seized upon by United’s Pierre-Michel Lasogga. The German forward, who had netted his fifth goal of the season at home to Derby County on Tuesday, attempted to loft the ball over Brentford ‘keeper Dan Bentley but his effort lacked conviction and accuracy in equal measure, and the ball sailed over the bar to the contentment of the home crowd.
Brentford were, subsequently, soon presented with an opportunity to extend their lead prior to the half-time interval. In a foolhardy act, Jansson felled Maupay from behind inside the penalty area and in the clear view of the referee. Watkins assumed the responsibility of taking the ensuing spot-kick, but the 21-year-old impetuously lashed the ball over the crossbar and spurned the opportunity.
There were three substitutions made during the half-time interlude. For Brentford, Welsh defender Chris Mepham replaced Bjelland, who had been injured in a collision with Jansson, while Thomas Christiansen sent on Pablo Hernández and Kemar Roofe in place of Lasogga and O’Kane.
In a mere matter of four second-half minutes, Leeds finessed for themselves an opportunity to restore parity. Gaetano Berardi’s whipped cross from the left channel was met by the head of Ezgjan Alioski, who could not direct his effort on target.
Nine minutes later, and Brentford’s French forward Maupay came excruciatingly close to scoring a second goal of the match. Maupay evaded the offside trap and attempted to make an emphatic connection with another splendiferous cross from Watkins, but the youthful forward, for all his elan, could not turn the ball home.
Brentford then surged forward again. The fleet-footed Watkins, after receiving possession on the periphery of the United penalty area, skilfully created a pocket of space for himself before firing a fierce effort, packed with plentiful power, against the bar from 20 yards.
In the 66th minute, Leeds finally managed to present to Brentford ‘keeper Bentley a genuine threat; Ronaldo Vieira’s drive from range had to be tipped over the crossbar by the former Southend player.
Two minutes would pass before Bentley, in a manner as every bit as inadvertently magnanimous as that of Lonergan in the first period, inexplicably contrived to gift Leeds an equaliser. A Berardi cross appeared to have taken a deflection prior to looping into the air and after the ball eluded Bentley’s forlorn attempts to claim it, Alioski levelled the match with his second goal of the season - a stooping header.
In the 70th minute, Hernández crossed from the left for Roofe as Leeds sought to turn the match on its head. Roofe met the delivery, but could not muster the requisite power to beat Bentley who was grateful to catch the header with ease.
United continued to enjoy a minor renaissance and pose to Brentford a threat from crosses. Hernández, from a free-kick on the right, produced a sumptuous delivery that was narrowly missed by Liam Cooper. Had the Scotland international made contact, Leeds may well have taken the lead.
With the game’s conclusion fast approaching, both sides continued to exert attacking pressure in pursuit of a decisive goal. In the 79th minute, Yennaris became the second Brentford player to rattle the aluminium, with a rasping drive from 30 yards that swerved and dipped in their air hitting the crossbar.
Brentford were presented with an enticing opportunity a paltry five minutes later. After Jozefzoon was carelessly felled by Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips, Barbet stood over the consequent free-kick, which was on the verge of the area. Left-footed, Barbet’s ball zipped along the grass and, to the surprise of most of the match’s beholders, into the net. With meagre time remaining, Brentford had regained the advantage.
Leeds would dissipate a glorious chance to salvage a draw only moments later when another exquisite set-piece delivery by Hernández was met by Luke Ayling, who could only head agonisingly wide.
There remained time for Brentford to rubber-stamp their credentials with a third goal. After Watkins saw an effort blocked, South African substitute Kamohelo Mokotjo passed for Woods who, at the first time of asking, assuredly slotted the ball past a hapless Lonergan to condemn Leeds to a fourth successive defeat.
Half-Time: Brentford 1-0 Leeds United
Full-Time: Brentford 3-1 Leeds United - Alioski 67’
Match Statistics (Brentford / Leeds)
Possession: 49% / 51%
Attempts: 18 / 13
On Target: 6 / 7
Pass Success: 71% / 74%
Aerial Duels: 69% / 31%
Corners: 5 / 2
Fouls: 8 / 14
Man of the Match: Yoann Barbet (Brentford).
The 24-year-old, though primarily a central defender, produced a stellar performance as a left-back and was a constant thorn in the side of Leeds. Barbet was successful in all of the five aerial duels he contested, had three shots and scored the goal to pave the way for his team’s deserved victory.
Booked: Barbet, Yennaris, Watkins (Brentford). O’Kane, Sáiz (Leeds).
Venue: Griffin Park (capacity of 12,763).
Referee: Stuart Attwell.
Once more, Leeds have been justly beaten by a superior team - contrary to the fallacies that Thomas Christiansen continues to propound.
United could not match Brentford for their vigour, their verve and their imperishable desire to win. The statistics may indicate a more competitive match than was the case and inveigle one upon a path of delusion that leads to a notion of ill-fortune on United’s part having been the cause of defeat, but Leeds were principally restricted to efforts from improbable angles and distances and had not made manifest their potential to score until Brentford’s Bentley contrived to gift Alioski the equalising goal.
Moreover, Brentford spurned a penalty and rattled the crossbar twice. If either of the two teams in this fixture had reason to belief that misfortune was afflicting them, it was the hosts.
Leeds again played in a perfunctory manner, idly resorting to aimless long balls in stark contrast to their opponents who time and time again rendered them asunder with surgical precision. Thomas Christiansen remarked in August that he “would die” for his players. If he were to do so, I must profess my doubt that the players would reciprocate.
United appear bereft of invention, passion and resolve. There are, indisputably, many players who are not pulling their weight and who are not giving their utmost to secure the future of their embattled head coach. Therein, however, lies the problem. Is it not within Christiansen’s purview to motivate, to inspire, Leeds to deliver?
I trust Andrea Radrizzani will afford Christiansen more time, in spite of a barren run that has seen Leeds suffer defeat in eight of their last 11 matches in all competitions. I would not do so if I were in the owner’s position. I have seen not a thing in the last four matches that would indicate a revival in our fortunes. There are those who appeal to stability, and this is both fathomable and pardonable after years in the wilderness under innumerable managers, but when does a profound yearning for stability become blind faith in a blithering incompetent who is hopelessly out of his depth? I hasten to add that Brentford dismissed Dean Smith’s predecessor after only nine matches; are Brentford not a club coherently organised and operated?
Before the match against Middlesbrough, there is the international break - and its concomitant tedium - which presents to Christiansen ample time in which to redress the balance and to formulate a stratagem that will inflict ignominy on Garry Monk. Will he? I suspect, on the basis of our performances since September’s 2-0 victory over Birmingham, that he will not.
Photo: Action Images
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