Brentford eased to victory against Southampton as the Bees continued their push for a top 10 finish.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
Two goals in just over a minute early on pretty much sealed the deal as Pontus Jansson put Brentford 1-0 up, then Yoane Wissa made it 2-0.
Saints huffed and puffed but paid the price for a few sloppy moments as Kristoffer Ajer then made it 3-0 with a fine goal.
After their sixth win in nine games Brentford move on to 43 points, while Southampton remain on 40 points.
Brentford vs Southampton final score, stats
Brentford 3-0 Southampton
Goals scored: Jansson 13′, Wissa 14′, Ajer 79′
Shots: Brentford 18, Southampton 18
Shots on target: Brentford 5, Southampton 4
Possession: Brentford 39, Southampton 61
Three things we learned from Brentford vs Southampton
1. Two teams heading in different directions: Brentford and Southampton were level on points before this game but the win for the Bees summed up their recent form and why there is more positivity around the club. Brentford have had a superb first-ever season in the PL and they have a clear plan with recruitment and you can see what they’re trying to do. Southampton don’t have that and they’ve become a bit stale. Ralph Hasenhuttl hopes that their new owners Sport Republic (led by former Brentford Director of Football Rasmus Ankersen) will allow him to spend more this summer because it is clear Saints will be in a relegation scrap next season without significant investment, while Brentford will likely be pushing for the top 10 at the very least.
2. Eriksen’s quality the key for Bees: The Danish playmaker is back to his very best as he grabbed another assist and showed off his incredible range of passing. From lofted dinks to drilled through balls, Eriksen pulled them all out and Southampton gave him the time he needed to cause havoc. Eriksen’s short-term Brentford contract is up at the end of the season and there is talk of Tottenham, and others, trying to bring him in. He is thriving in this Brentford side and it now depends on what he wants to achieve in the final few years of his career. Playing in the Champions League once again? Or being a talisman for a Premier League side on the up and pushing for Europe?
3. Shambolic Saints could get sucked into relegation zone: They have won once in their last 10 Premier League games and they’ve conceded 24 goals in that run and they badly need to recruit a better goalkeeper and center backs. Saints were all over the place defensively and they could be sucked into this relegation scrap. Everton have played three games less than them, Burnley have played one game less and Leeds have two games in-hand. Southampton have a habit of spiralling out of control and right now it looks like they’ll have to get something from one of their final two games of the season at home against Liverpool and away at Leicester.
Man of the Match: Ivan Toney – Dragged Saints’ defense all over the place and cause havoc.
Bees continue to buzz
Southampton started well after Broja put David Raya under pressure and gave the ball away, as Broja’s ball to Adam Armstrong saw the latter have an effort saved by Raya.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Brentford came close to taking the lead as Rico Henry’s cross from the left found Mathias Jensen at the back post but he scuffed his shot just wide under pressure from Stuart Armstrong.
Moments later Wissa cut inside and forced Forster into a low save and the Bees then took the lead as they were well on top. A corner to the back post was kept alive by Ivan Toney and he crossed for Jansson to tap home.
Less than a minute later it was 2-0 as a long ball forward caused havoc and Wissa slotted home and it should have been 3-0 soon after as Wissa somehow fired over after a clever set-piece situation.
Saints improved and Broja almost tapped home after good work from Kyle Walker-Peters, Raya denied Ward-Prowse, Walker-Peters nodded over and then Broja shanked a shot wide.
Adam Armstrong thought he had pulled one back for Saints right on half time but he was just offside after he finished smartly.
Saints can’t fight back
After those hosts of chances for Southampton they kept pouring forward and Broja wanted a penalty kick but Raya just missed him with his challenge.
The rest of the second half played out with Saints trying to get back in the game but Brentford held on comfortably for the win as Ajer turned and finished superbly to seal the win in style.