Alvaro Fernandez made five saves as Brentford made Ivan Toney’s early penalty hold up for a 1-0 win over Everton at the Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday.
Brentford vs Everton was a tale of resolute defending and absence of finishing, as Everton controlled the match but was frustrated at every turn.
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Andros Townsend’s high-boot was reviewed by VAR to send Toney to the spot, and Brentford’s lone goal pushed them above Everton and into 12th place on the table with 16 points.
Everton sits 14th now and has won just twice with two draws in 10 matches since Dominic Calvert-Lewin was injured following a hot start to the season for club and center forward. Richarlison’s suspension helped little.
Brentford vs Everton final score, stats
Goals scored: Brentford 1, Everton 0
Shots: Everton, 14-6
Shots on target: Everton, 5-4
Possession: Everton, 60%
Three things we learned
1. DCL = MVP in absentia: Dominic Calvert-Lewin didn’t play Sunday — again — and his absence looms large over nearly every Everton match. Rafa Benitez brought in Salomon Rondon to help get through DCL’s long-term injury but it’s clear that Calvert-Lewin is oh-so-important to Everton reaching its highest levels. Calvert-Lewin’s magnificent 2020-21 season carried over into his first three matches of this season, as he scored against Saints, Leeds, and Brighton and the Toffees collected seven-of-nine points to start the season. They’ve since won just twice — beating Burnley and Norwich — and despite plenty of possession and most of the shots, Everton fell again. Look no further than Demarai Gray’s swept cross into the box late, absent receiver.
2. Brentford gets an ugly win: The Bees have been a high-performing fun team over so much of this season, but Brentford’s victory wasn’t just much-needed it was proof that Thomas Frank’s men can deliver on defending and the steely things required to stay up in the Premier League and thrive in it. Even without Kristoffer Ajer and David Raya, Brentford flexed its versatility and that bodes well for a team that’s bringing proof of credentials on a near-weekly basis.
3. Everton left flummoxed: Rafa Benitez’s men played to his plan but didn’t finish and it’s as simple as that. There are reasons to question whether Benitez can work on the blue side of Merseyside due to supporter emotions and patience but this match was really about Thing No. 1 from this post (and thing no. 1 for most teams). A penalty put Brentford in front and Everton’s answers just didn’t materialize despite inviting crosses and intriguing in-roads.
Man of the Match: Alvaro Fernandez
Everton’s Lucas Digne was marvelous from the left flank and Seamus Coleman not much worse from the right, but Fernandez’s work filling in for David Raya was beyond reproach. Credit to Toney as well as midfielders Vitaly Janelt and Christian Norgaard, but Fernandez has five saves including four from shots inside the box and made three high claims while being pretty good with his feet, too.
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