Brentford ended a three-match losing run the most emphatic way, with a demolition of big-spending Aston Villa. Lasse Vibe scored twice and Nico Yennaris grabbed the other as The Bees recorded a comprehensive 3-0 win. And Brentford were well worth the victory. After a tricky opening, they dominated almost exclusively, creating enough chances to win two or three games and limiting their visitors. The 3-0 score was probably the least The Bees deserved over the 90 minutes.
As soon as Vibe put Brentford ahead 25 minutes in, Villa seemed to crumble. Their quick start, which had not given them the goal it probably merited, faded to nothing as Brentford produced some sublime football. They cut their visitors open at will while maintaining a solid defensive shape and on a wet and wild evening at Griffin Park, The Bees gave their fans an evening to remember with a first-ever win over Villa and a bounce back to winning ways after recent defeats.
Villa flew out of the blocks and went on the front foot almost from the first whistle. They looked to use the pace of Albert Adomah and Andre Green on the flanks to support Jonathan Kodjia in attack and they dominated the ball in the early stages, finding ways to pick through the Brentford defence. The visitors should probably have been ahead inside the first ten minutes when Henri Lansbury picked a pass that cut Brentford open and put Kodjia through with only Daniel Bentley to beat but he steered a shot wide of the far post.
There were other chances for the visitors in a lively opening. Andreas Bjelland made an important block from an Adomah shot after the wide man had broken quickly. From the resulting corner, Bjelland headed across the face of his own goal and when the next one was only half cleared Alan Hutton’s shot was weak and Bentley saved. Bentley denied Birki Bjarnason with his face and kept out a cross-cum-shot from the same man soon after before a Conor Hourihane shot was blocked.
It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for The Bees in the first 15 minutes but Villa seemed to quickly run out of steam and soon it was Brentford in control. Josh McEachran dropped in to a slightly deeper position and found yards of space to play in. He was able to pick his passes and with Yennaris keen to support Vibe from the centre of the pitch along with Jota and Florian Jozefzoon on the flanks, Brentford were posing questions for the Villa defence.
Harlee Dean headed a Jota corner wide as Brentford started to get a territorial advantage and a Tom Field cross then deflected fortunately in to the arms of Villa keeper Sam Johnstone. When a free-kick was half cleared soon after Vibe saw a shot blocked and Dean’s cross-cum-shot was easily gathered by Johnstone. Villa seemed to have no answer to Brentford’s patterns in midfield and it led to the opening goal 25 minutes in. After a series of intricate passes, Yennaris found space and slipped Vibe through on goal, he stood firm as raced back, drew Johnstone and lifted the ball over him and in to the net.
It was a goal Brentford’s momentum had earned them and they looked to build on it. Yennaris fired a free kick into a defensive wall and when the ball was recycled, a Bjelland cross was half cleared and a Jota shot deflected wide. Field then miss-kicked when well placed after Jozefzoon headed down and Johnstone made a fine double save soon after, racing off his line to beat Vibe to a Jota ball and then saving from the Spanish attacker as he tried to poke home the loose ball.
Villa almost smuggled a goal at the other end when Field was robbed, Adomah delivered a cross and Green met it with his head but it bounced across the face of goal and wide. And that was a rare attack for the visitors, who were now under the cosh. Jota had a shot blocked and Jozefzoon, who created that opening, then had a shot blocked after another lively run. The second goal Brentford had been threatening came seven minutes before the break as Yennaris went from creator to scorer. Jota was the architect this time, twisting and turning on the right before cutting back and lifting a ball in to the box, as the defence dithered, Yennaris stole in to poke home and double the advantage.
It could have been even better for The Bees as Jota weaved through just before the break, leaving three men in his wake he worked his way in to a shooting position and smashed in a shot that clipped the top of the crossbar on the way over. Dean and Bjelland also had headers blocked late in the half as Villa desperately tried to stay in the game. The visitors started the second period with intent, looking to find a way back in to the game but Brentford’s defence stood firm. With Dean and Bjelland partnered in the centre of a back four, The Bees had a very solid look to them and McEachran swept up in front to prevent much getting through.
Lansbury curled a shot from 20 yards that dipped late and did not go that far wide before a lofted effort from Kodjia was easy for Bentley. But as in the first half, Brentford soon took control. Villa still had no answer to McEachran, who picked passes at will, while Jota and Jozefzoon tormented their full backs. The Bees almost grabbed a third when a clever Jozefzoon flick put Yennaris in behind on the left, he found Vibe but the striker’s shot flew just wide of the post.
The third goal was not, however, long in coming. And it was almost all down to McEachran. The midfield man battled on four different occasions and eventually came out with the ball before playing a pass that split Villa wide open, Vibe raced on to it, cut away from Nathan Baker and shot home to put The Bees out of sight.
That killed off any Villa resistance and Brentford played some delightful football as they looked to add more goals. Ryan Woods fired a free kick across the face of goal before a superb move involving Dean, Colin, Vibe and Konstantin Kerschbaumer almost set up a goal for Josh Clarke but the ball was hacked clear. At the other end Jack Grealish got through for a sight of goal but Bentley denied him and Field bravely headed clear as Kodjia looked to score with an overhead effort.
McEachran was withdrawn to a standing ovation towards the end of the game but Alan McCormack was introduced and Brentford continued to press on. Clarke set up Vibe for an effort that Johnstone palmed out and Jota was just unable to convert the loose ball. And in the dying seconds Clarke robbed Hutton and raced clear, Vibe set up Jota but the shot flew inches wide. A fourth goal would have put the icing on the cake but it was not needed for Brentford fans to enjoy their evening and a well-won three points.
Brentford: Bentley; Colin, Dean, Bjelland, Field; McEachran (sub McCormack 88 mins); Jota, Yennaris (sub Kerschbaumer 76 mins), Woods, Jozefzoon (sub Clarke 70 mins); Vibe
Subs (not used): Bonham, Barbet, Sawyers, Hofmann
Bookings: Yennaris (33 mins) (fourth of season)
Aston Villa: Johnstone; Hutton, Baker, Chester, Amavi; Hourihane, Lansbury (sub Grealish 75 mins), Bjarnason (sub Bacuna 75 mins); Adomah, Kodjia, Green
Subs (not used): Bunn, Elphick, Bree, Gardner, Davis
Bookings: Hourihane (74 mins)
Attendance: 10,016 (1,671 away fans)