Saïd Benrahma scored a sensational hat-trick as Brentford made it five Sky Bet Championship wins in a row and four since the resumption of football. Wigan Athletic had no answer to the Algerian attacker as he opened the scoring in the first half and then added two more after the break. Brentford’s 3-0 win was fully deserved, and it could have been even worse for the visitors as Brentford dominated almost from start to finish.
Benrahma’s second goal, scored from an improbable angle, will be the one that is shown again and again but all three strikes were brilliant in their own right. And it was by no means a one-man show. Brentford had control all over the pitch, were defensively solid, claiming a fifth successive clean sheet, bright and inventive in attack and passed the ball around in midfield in a way that tormented their opponents.
Wigan looked to get their players high up the pitch in the early stages. Both in and out of possession they wanted to be in Brentford territory, trying to stop The Bees playing out from the back and looking to attack when they won the ball. Their game plan did, however, suffer an early blow when defender Leon Balogun had to be withdrawn inside the first five minutes with an injury.
Wigan had ambition but could not get a lot of the ball and Brentford had a measure of control. They came within a whisker of scoring inside the first three minutes when Wigan failed to deal with a long throw. Henrik Dalsgaard drilled in a cross-cum-shot from an angle when the ball was half cleared and David Marshall clawed it away at his near post. Ethan Pinnock returned the ball in but neither Ollie Watkins nor Emiliano Marcondes could convert inside the penalty area, albeit there were appeals for handball. The ball dropped to Bryan Mbeumo, but his fierce shot hit the face of Marshall and flew over the bar rather than hitting the net.
Another long throw was cleared to Christian Nørgaard, who shot over from the edge of the penalty area, and as the first half approached the midway point, The Bees had control. Wigan were being forced back, Brentford were playing through, around and over them and the visitors were having to exert energy to stay in the contest. Brentford were paying more and more in Wigan territory and took the lead 19 minutes in.
After a series of passes, space was created on the left for Watkins. His cross was only half cleared, Marcondes nodded back and Benrahma swivelled to volley in from 12 yards. Benrahma found a pocket of space and his shot was low and true, past Marshall before he could move.
Brentford had command of the game for most of the first half. Rico Henry and Dalsgaard were pushed on, with Nørgaard proving defensive cover, which allowed Mbeumo and Benrahma to roam infield. Shandon Baptiste got in to attacking areas when he could, until he had to limp off late in the first half.
The Bees had chances to add to their lead but probably didn’t create as much as they could have expected with their possession in attacking areas. Benrahma pulled a shot wide after turning well and finding space and then intercepted a loose ball and found Watkins on the edge of the box. Watkins could have shot but instead found Baptiste, but the shot was pulled and was heading wide before Kai Naismith made a block and Marshall was able to gather.
Naismith lashed well wide for Wigan and Kieffer Moore saw a shot blocked but Brentford were defending their penalty area well and the visitors were looking for inspiration. At the other end, Dasilva dribbled his way in to the penalty area and set up a shooting chance for Henry, but the effort was blocked. Mbeumo curled a free kick over the bar and there was a great chance when Benrahma found Marcondes in the box after a break, Antonee Robinson came across to make a challenge and seemed to get a lot of the man but referee Matthew Donohue said no offence had been committed.
The Bees had control at the interval, but Wigan had shown enough ambition to suggest they would try and get men forward after half time. The visitors tried to have an attacking outlook but had no answer to the control Brentford had. All over the pitch, The Bees were just a little bit better and they went looking for the goals to prove it.
They could have got on when Dasilva, who dominated the second half, exchanged passes with Dalsgaard and the latter burst in to the box. He tried to cut the ball back, but Wigan scrambled it clear. The Bees did not, however, have to wait much longer for their goal.
Dalsgaard spread the play from the right to Benrahma on the left wing, he teased Nathan Byrne and then lofted the ball from the touchline over Marshall and in to the far corner. The parabola of the effort caught the Wigan goalkeeper out and the ball drifted in to the net. It may have been a cross but given Benrahma’s performance, it probably wasn’t.
From there on, it was just a matter of how many Brentford would score. Wigan offered very little going forward. The only time they got in to the six-yard box, an effort from Joe Garner was deflected in to the arms of David Raya. And Garner’s other contribution was a horrible high tackle on Jan Žambůrek inside the last ten minutes. Mr Donohue did not delay in showing the red card, but the game was already well won by then.
There was a great chance for Watkins just after Benrahma’s second when he was found by Marcondes inside the box, but he could not get his feet pointing in the right direction and a pair of shots were blocked by an increasingly busy Wigan defence. The visitors couldn’t clear, and the ball came to Mbeumo, but he lifted a shot over the bar.
The third came midway through the second half and was delightful in its own way. Dasilva burst through a couple of challenges, keeping his feet when he could have gone down, and darted towards the penalty area. He found Nørgaard and when the ball was laid back, Benrahma swept it beyond Marshall and in to the far corner. It was a hat-trick to savour and the game was over.
The Bees made changes, with Benrahma and Nørgaard taking a breather, but they still had command of the game. Benrahma shot wide after more good work by Dasilva and then fired straight at Marshall after being set up by Watkins. Substitute Joel Valencia then created a chance for Watkins, but the low shot was blocked.
After Garner’s dismissal, Brentford pushed Wigan further and further back. Tariqe Fosu and Valencia looking to get in to the penalty area and Watkins worked the Wigan defence hard, running in to gaps all over the pitch. They did not, however, create many clear-cut chances. Mathias Jensen hit a defensive wall with a free kick in stoppage time but that did not affect the result as Brentford continued their winning run.
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Marcondes (sub Jensen 64 mins), Nørgaard (sub Žambůrek 72 mins), Baptiste (sub Dasilva 42 mins); Mbeumo (sub Valencia 64 mins), Watkins, Benrahma (sub Fosu 72 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Roerslev, Jeanvier, Dervişoğlu
Wigan Athletic: Marshall; Byrne (sub Mlakar 72 mins), Kipré, Balogun (sub Massey 5 mins), Robinson; Morsy, Williams; Lowe (sub Fox 60 mins), Dowell (sub Evans 72 mins), Naismith; Moore (sub Garner 60 mins)
Subs (not used): Jones, Macleod, Pearce, Gelhardt
Bookings: Robinson (60 mins)
Sent Off: Garner (81 mins)