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  • By Julian Taylor at Gtech Community Stadium

Brisk Bees see off disappointing West Ham in routine style


Brentford 2 West Ham United 0


Julian Taylor at the Gtech Community Stadium


Brentford took all three points after what amounted to a customary and routine win over European hopefuls West Ham at the Gtech Community Stadium.


In front of a 17,075 crowd, a brace of first half goals from Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa were sufficient to ease past the Hammers, who have a place in the Europa Conference League final in their sights. The Bees move up to ninth in the Premier League, and no-one can reasonably argue with that, considering this season’s consistency. And the prospect of finishing ahead of both west London neighbours Fulham and Chelsea, a bonus too.


Barring a bizarre turn of affairs, West Ham will remain in the top flight next term – but with captain Declan Rice likely to depart, probably to Arsenal, in the summer, they will have an obvious vacancy for an on-field leader. A primary issue for manager David Moyes. But that can wait, for the moment.


Understandably, the Hammers, their minds psychologically elsewhere, with the east Londoners a mere ninety minutes away from a Euro show-piece occasion, endured what could only be described as an unremarkable, rather deadpan Sunday. They displayed precious little threat and their performance illustrated that of a much changed unit.


Wissa not only scored but seemed to be the fulcrum of every Brentford attack on a day when the west London outfit easily consolidated their ongoing Premier League progress. Ivan Toney was barely missed.


Both sides made changes, West Ham in particular with an incredible nine from their midweek Europa Conference League exertions against AZ Alkmaar. The Hammers were technically not out of relegation danger ahead of their trip across to west London, but the opportunity of reaching a Euro final with a 2-1 advantage to take to the Netherlands for the second-leg of the semi-final was likely uppermost in manager David Moyes’s thoughts.


Progress


Brentford talisman Toney was missing from the hosts’ line up due to a slight hamstring injury. As such it provided the ideal opportunity for Kevin Schade to demonstrate he is good value for a permanent, big money, move from Freiburg. There was the occasional misstep from the German but his incremental progress in red and white stripes is obvious.


The Bees’ dream of European football may have wilted for this season, but at least this clash could provide a platform to properly express themselves. They started brightly and should have taken the lead as early as the fourth minute. Mikkel Damsgaard was perhaps the wrong player – in the normal Toney territory – to glance a header wide from six yards from a Schade cross delivered from the left.


Meanwhile, West Ham’s rather conservative approach was unsurprising and they had early issues containing Brentford’s raids down both flanks.


It was important for Thomas Frank’s men to make capital from their natural positivity, however – but in the 21st minute they made the breakthrough. A template Brentford goal under Frank’s watch, in fact.


Winning possession inside the Hammers’ half, Mbeumo eventually had room inside the penalty area to stroke the ball home, with both Vitaly Janelt and Mathias Jensen assisting the striker.


The Bees were more crisp and incisive and Wissa tested visiting keeper Lukasz Fabianski with a low drive following one such approach.


And as Brentford began to stamp their authority on affairs, they added a second three minutes before the interval.


A well-worked move, which began with a long throw by Jensen, saw Ben Mee head on inside the penalty area for Wissa, in prime territory to nod home.


With all their personnel changes and an eye on Alkmaar, Moyes could only look on from the sidelines as Brentford resumed their briskness. Wissa really should have added a third in the 50th minute but his finish lacked composure.


Opportunities


Fortunately, from the Bees’ perspective, they were – unlike last week’s spirited 1-0 defeat at Liverpool – capable of both carving out and taking their opportunities. For West Ham, centre back Angelo Ogbonna was put under frequent test and was instrumental in maintaining a degree of fortitude.


Moyes eventually sent on both Declan Rice and ex-Bee Said Benrahma in an attempt to shake things up for the lacklustre Hammers. Yet the traffic remained largely one-way.


Ben Johnson eventually drew a terrific save from David Raya, the Brentford keeper hitherto mainly unoccupied, before West Ham were out of luck from VAR.


Danny Ings headed in on the line from a Benrahma cross which came off the far post – but the ball appeared to hit substitute Divin Mubama on the arm en route. Moyes cut an understandably dejected figure with the decision which could have changed the course of the derby.


Benrahma helped assert the Hammers to a certain extent, and he was denied by Raya with a tame shot late on, which was, essentially, a fair reflection of West Ham’s complete efforts.


Frank, on the other hand, can remain fully satisfied. He has overseen plenty of such vibrant victories as head coach. The Brentford trajectory continues to move upwards.



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