Brentford’s first away game of the 2021/22 of the season ended in a stalemate. The Bees played out a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on a wet South London afternoon. The Bees probably had slightly the better of the contest but both teams hit the woodwork with neither side doing quite enough to take the win.
The home side hit the crossbar very early on, but Brentford had more of the play in the first half and Bryan Mbeumo hit the woodwork just before half time. The Bees spent more time on the front foot in both halves, but David Raya did have to earn his clean sheet with a couple of saves. In the end, neither side could argue with a 0-0 final score.
The hosts started the game brightly, spending a lot of the early stages on the front foot. They pushed Brentford’s wing backs and midfield in to defensive areas and could have scored inside the first seven minutes. Wilfried Zaha created space in the inside right channel and fed the ball to the on running Conor Gallagher, he smashed a first time shot high past Raya, but the ball bounced away off the underside of the crossbar.
That was an early warning for The Bees and the visitors soon got in to their stride. Frank Onyeka warmed to his task, popping up all over the pitch and winning possession. This enabled Brentford to have the ball higher up the pitch and they started to create chances.
Ivan Toney pulled a shot wide from 22 yards before Sergi Canós was unable to direct a cross from Vitaly Janelt at the far post. Onyeka looked like he had a sight of goal from 22 yards, but he was stopped by an important tackle. Canós then found space on the right and fed a pass in to Kristoffer Ajer, breaking ahead of him. The ball was played across goal and reached Janelt, but the shot was blocked. Rico Henry then fed Mbeumo, but his shot was pulled wide.
Jeffrey Schlupp created space for Gallagher to shoot weakly at Raya but that was a rare Palace attack in the first half. Brentford were preventing them building out of defence. The ball was being played long by the hosts in to Christian Benteke, but he was getting no joy against Pontus Jansson and Ajer in the Brentford defensive area and The Bees were on the front foot.
Onyeka darted in to the box before a shot deflected wide before Mbeumo, who set up that chance, curled a free kick from a tight angle on the right on to the top of the crossbar. The Bees were testing Palace with set pieces and Vincente Guaita was punching a lot of crosses away. The goalkeeper was then well-positioned to save from Toney when he met a Henry cross with a volley on the swivel.
Janelt had a shot blocked when another corner was punched away, Canós delivered the ball back towards the far post but an Ethan Pinnock header on the stretch was saved. If Pinnock had left it, Ajer was in space behind him. Guaita saved again from Onyeka as The Bees went in at half time with the initiative, if not the lead.
Toney could have put Brentford ahead early in the second half when a Mbeumo corner reached him in the centre of the area. He was able to get a header away but could not beat Guaita. Mbeumo curled an effort wide after a different angle was worked from a free kick. Mbeumo then deliver a corner and Toney rose highest, getting above Guaita, but heading over the bar.
The teams were cancelling each other out for most of the second half. Cheikhou Kouyaté was an important presence at the base of Palace’s midfield, preventing Brentford building through the centre. When The Bees did get in to attacking areas, they did not always find the right pass.
At the other end, Palace were not getting in to Brentford territory as often, but did create chances. Benteke headed a cross over the bar before being involved in a move that saw Zaha set up Gallagher to shoot from 20 yards. Raya had to be alert to tip it away. The resulting corner dropped loose, and Joel Ward lashed over.
Substitute Saman Ghoddos looked like he had opened Palace up with a pass between Ward and Joachim Andersen that released Toney. The angle was tight, and Toney looked to find Mbeumo but ended up drilling the ball ahead of his team mate and across the face of goal. The resulting conversation suggested that Toney expected Mbeumo to be closer to goal and ready to tap home with Guaita stranded.
Toney and Jordan Ayew traded spectacular volleys that failed to trouble the respective goalkeepers and Andersen headed over in stoppage time. The Bees were able to give a debut to Yoane Wissa and while they chased a winner, they were unable to find a break through. They did, however, keep Palace mostly away for their goal and ensured they got a point.
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Guéhi, Andersen, Mitchell; Gallagher, Kouyaté, McArthur; Zaha, Benteke, Schlupp (sub Ayew 68 mins)
Subs (not used): Butland, Matthews, Tomkins, Mateta, Kelly, Riedewald, Rak-Sakyi
Bookings: Andersen (29 mins), Benteke (59 mins), Ward (76 mins)
Brentford: Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós, Onyeka (sub Ghoddos 70 mins), Nørgaard, Janelt (sub Bidstrup 87 mins), Henry; Toney, Mbeumo (sub Wissa 77 mins)
Subs (not used): Fernández, Goode, Roerslev, Bech, Dervişoğlu, Forss
Bookings: Nørgaard (52 mins)