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Brentford vs Crystal Palace 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

On Saturday 12th of February, we had another London Derby, this time travelling to the West to play Brentford.

Our previous game was a disappointing 1-1 draw against Norwich in midweek, we didn’t start quick enough allowing Norwich to score just 40 seconds into the game, after a complete domination we managed to get a goal back through Zaha which was beautifully taken. We had an immediate chance to put ourselves in front after a penalty was awarded for a foul on Mitchell, the usually reliable Zaha stepped up to take it but after slipping the ball went wide past the post. These are the games we need to be picking points up in if we want to have a chance of pushing for the top half of the table.

Last time we played Brentford at home it was a 0-0 draw right at the start of the season. Having started the campaign reasonably well, they came into this game failing to pick up any points in their last 6 Premier League games, with their most previous game being a 2-0 loss against Manchester City. They were sitting in 14th just two points behind us.

Vieira made 2 changes to the starting line-up compared to the last game, which saw Mateta and Olise be replaced by Ayew and Edouard. James McArthur was also named on the bench after being out for a lengthy period of time due to injury.

The drive to the stadium wasn’t too long but we still left early to ensure we got there with plenty of time. Mum managed to book us into the car park near the stadium, so it wasn’t too far to walk, the quality of the car park was pretty questionable especially as the stadium was new, it just looked like an abandoned warehouse that hadn’t had any renovations, but it still did the job. All the staff in and around the stadium were friendly and helpful. We watched the United game inside the stadium and managed to see Jadon’s goal before we went out :). Originally, we went to the wrong disabled seating, which was on pitch side, but our seats were on the upper level, the downstairs bar bit was completely packed but most people were aware and moved aside to make it a bit easier to get through, upstairs was less busy, but it was a complete sell out in the away end. The view from our seat was great we were directly behind the corner flag; the sun was shining, and it was actually pretty warm for the beginning of the game. I was actually quite shocked to how small the stadium was, it only holds 17,000 which is surprising with the fact it’s a new build, but it was nice looking from the outside.

It was a 3pm kick off and from the start the away end was extremely loud as always! Before kick-off Brentford welcomed their new signing Christian Erikson onto the pitch, he got a huge round of applause after the sad scenes in the summer, he wasn’t in the team for this game, but it will be a great day for football when he’s back playing! This game was important for both teams, as we both really needed the 3 points to start pushing up the table. We had an early corner directly in front of the away fans, which Conor Gallagher came over to take it sadly didn’t pass the first man and was able to be cleared, Zaha did well to get out to the man who received the ball and prevent a counterattack. Corner from the left this time, which was swung in by Hughes, the ball was towards the underside of the bar, but it was caught by the keeper before he launched it up to his striker, Mitchell and Zaha did brilliant in their own half to close down the player and Tyrick got the final foot putting it out for a throw in. Mitchell was exceptional against Norwich, picking up the MOTM award! Brentford had a chance as they worked the ball out wide to their striker, who had a shot thankfully Andersen was recovering back and managed to clear it over the bar before it could reach the bottom corner. The Brentford fans wanted a penalty after the corner, the ball fell to a Brentford player in the box, he lost control of the ball and felt a touch from Zaha before going down very easily, was never a penalty. There was immediately another penalty shout again from Brentford, the ball was thrown into the box from the side-lines, the ball was blocked by an elevated arm of Guehi which in fairness did look illegal, but the ref gave us a free kick from a push in the back, it went to VAR, and they stuck with his on field decision. A new chant was sang in the away end which heard “We’ve got super Pat Vieira, he knows exactly what we need, Mitchell at the back, Olise in attack, Palace on their way to Wembley” hopefully the lyrics are correct! The Brentford fans in contrast, was completely silent for the majority of the game. We were in control of the game with Brentford struggling to keep possession before handing in back to us normally in the midfield, although we too didn’t make things easy for ourselves with our balls in the final third lacking accuracy. On the half hour mark Ayew had a huge chance to put us in front, Edouard won the ball back in midfield after a poor ball from the Brentford midfielder making a positive run towards goal, before playing it through the 2 defenders to Ayew who had lots of space to run into, his shot was horrendous and didn’t even hit the target instead was sent into the crowd, really disappointing and again one of the chances we really need to be taking! A poor pass back from Ward gave Brentford a chance to hit us on the counterattack, the striker made a direct run towards goal with Andersen doing enough to get back and put him off, his pass back into the box was into a packed area but thankfully Mitchell recovered in front of any attackers and managed to clear the danger. Zaha actually went for goal himself towards the end of the half after cutting inside to a similar position to his Norwich goal, but his shot was straight at the keeper, he didn’t make a lot of direct runs in the first half, and they looked as though they wanted to take the passing options which was sometimes too much rather than having a shot. Not too sure why but our goal kicks weren’t taken by Guaita, instead taken by Guehi or Andersen maybe there’s an issue with him preventing him taking them himself. The half ended 0-0.

There were no clear-cut chances for either team in the first half, if we wanted to score, we really needed to improve in the next 45 minutes because I couldn’t see it happening the way we were playing in the final third in the first 45. Although the effort from the defence and midfield was great to keep us in the game and still dominating possession.

The second half began, and Palace were shooting towards the opposite end so didn’t have the advantage of their fans in their ears. The sun didn’t last so it was absolutely freezing on the riverside. We tried to work the ball through Brentford, but they did well to remain strong and not give us any easy routes through. Just before the hour mark Zaha tried to create something himself again as he made an advancing run towards the box, taking on the defenders before putting a low driven cross into the box, it was just too in front of Edouard so the defender could clear; still no major threat or danger for the keeper to deal with, although Brentford were trapped in their own half. This is the kind of game that cried out for Eze and/or Olise just to bring some new creative options! Olise’s name did ring around the away end to give Vieira a gentle nudge. Gallagher was brought down just outside the box twice in a short period of time, but the ref didn’t see anything wrong with it, he did make a few dodgy decisions throughout the game, which is frustratingly still a common talking point at the moment throughout the Prem! Will Hughes went down injured twice in quick succession, forcing our first change which saw the introduction of McArthur back to the field after a long time out from injury, Hughes has been brilliant recently so hopefully it’s nothing severe. McArthur got a big cheer from the travelling fans as he took over the responsibility of captain from Ward. We continued to maintain possession in our own half trying to break down Brentford but continuously unsuccessful. Our next substitution came in the 71st minute which saw Mateta come on for Edouard, this was a strange substitution in my opinion because it was more of a sideways decision rather than making one that would improve the lack of chances created, Mateta is good in the box but he needs good balls into him and they were seriously lacking, whereas if Olise or Eze were brought on it could’ve been more of an impactful sub. Brentford did manage to break out of their half and get themselves a corner, the ball was whipped in and met the head of a Brentford player as he nodded it down towards goal, Guaita managed to follow the ball through the crowd and get down to make a good save before it was cleared from danger. The third sub we were waiting for finally happened in the 76th minute which saw Olise come on for Ayew, who just before being subbed worked hard in the corner to win us the 7th corner of the game which saw Olise’s first touch to whip it in. His name once again chanted from the away end. Brentford had a good portion of play where they looked dangerous and we started to lose control, but the boys in yellow remained strong and dealt with the issues. There was some late controversy, Zaha ran to pick up the ball just over the half way line as it was cleared out of our area, as he made the run towards the ball he was brought down by a Brentford defender, this defender was already on a yellow card and this looked like another clear card offence, but again the ref didn’t agree and he got away unpunished just with a talking too, that could’ve been a game changing decision! A chance for us came in the 90th minute as Olise pinged a great ball up to Gallagher who was on the wing just passed the half way line, he made a positive run towards goal before switching it fantastically into the path of Zaha in the box, he could’ve gone for a volley but opted to take a touch before playing it back to McArthur and the opportunity was lost, the possession of the ball eventually ended up being given back to Brentford. There was a late shout for a penalty from Zaha from the phase of play from a corner, but the ref didn’t see anything wrong, and it did look like he slipped over in fairness. Once again, we looked more dangerous during added time but sadly it wasn’t enough, and the game ended 0-0.

It was a really boring game, although we showed lots of effort and domination, there were very few chances created and we simply were nowhere near good enough in the final third of the pitch. 180 minutes played against Brentford this season and still no goals, good news for our defenders but it’s disappointing for the attacking element especially with the talent we have in these areas. We need to start winning games and picking up points ASAP because teams around up are starting to improve, and we really don’t want a stressful end of the season after such a great start. Mitchell picked up another deserved concessive MOTM award for his great performance in the game.

After the match we waited for the stand to clear out to make it easier to get out, we had to wait in a queue to get back to the car because there’s only one lift to take you up to the main level, it is the slowest lift ever, so it was about half an hour + of waiting for most wheelchair users. For a new stadium you would think they would have other ways of getting up, I would hate to think what would happen if it broke down. Overall, it was a nice stadium so would return next season.

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 57% possession, Brentford had 43%

• Palace had a total of 6 shots with 3 on target.

• Brentford had 9 shots with 2 on target.

Our next game is at home against Chelsea on Saturday 19th of February, so look out for that post!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx

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