Brentford fell to derby defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, conceding a goal in each half to lose on a cold North London evening. The Bees fell behind inside when the ball cannoned in, unfortunately, off Sergi Canós. The game was sealed with a second goal on the counter-attack.
The Bees could have little complaint about the result. Álvaro Fernández was the busier goalkeeper and Brentford did not create as much in attack as they would have wanted to. The 2-0 final score felt justified on the balance of the game.
It had been fairly even before Tottenham took the lead 12 minutes in. The home side worked a corner short to Heung-min Son. The Tottenham attacker found room to cross, and his ball was headed away by Pontus Jansson. Unfortunately for Brentford, Canós jumped in front of Jansson, also trying to clear, and the ball cannoned against the side of his head, flew back past Fernández and in to the net. Ben Davies rose with Canós and Jansson and tried to claim the goal, but it was credited to the Brentford right wing back and The Bees had to respond.
Brentford had been patient before the goal and maintained that mindset after falling behind. They were happy to keep the ball in their own half when they had to, trying to invite Tottenham on and play around or through them. Brentford had a lot of the ball in the first quarter of the contest, without creating much.
But the home side had not been much of an attacking threat either. They looked to play in to the space behind Canós and Rico Henry with their wing backs joining in the attack. Fernández held on to a Son free kick that missed everyone in the middle and also saved well to his right when Sergio Reguilón and Harry Kane had released Lucas Moura in to space inside the area.
Most of the first half was played in a similar pattern. Brentford had a lot of the ball in their own half and tried to inject pace as they moved forward, but without finding much space in Tottenham territory. Bryan Mbeumo lashed a volley narrowly wide when a corner was half cleared, and Brentford tested the home defence from other set pieces.
Tottenham played a fraction quicker when they had attacking possession, looking for the spaces in behind the Brentford defence. They created more chances as the half wore on. Reguilón headed wide under pressure at the far post before Fernández rushed out to save at the feet of Emerson Royal.
When Brentford conceded possession from their own throw on, Son had a run on goal and Fernández got down well to save the shot, low to his right. The corner was punched away by the Brentford goalkeeper as far as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, who took a touch and smashed it towards the near post. This time Fernández saved with his face. Fernández missed a punch from a corner as half time approached and Ivan Toney rose highest to prevent Davinson Sánchez heading the loose ball in.
A long throw from Charlie Goode caused Tottenham difficulties at the other end in the dying minutes of the half. Ben Davies had to rise high to prevent Mbeumo heading in and when the ball came back, Hugo Lloris failed to gather but was helped out by his defenders. Lloris had not been forced in to a save in the first half, but Brentford did have a couple of good chances to break when Mbeumo was released on the right after corners were cleared. But the final ball wasn’t right, and the attack came to an end.
Tottenham started the second half quickly and it was a difficult first ten minutes for The Bees. The home side were higher up the pitch when they didn’t have the ball and quicker in the tackle. They had chances to seal in the game early in the second period.
A pass from Oliver Skipp sent Kane away in the inside left channel, clear of Goode. He raced clear but fired the ball straight at Fernández when he only had the Brentford goalkeeper to beat. Brentford cleared the first corner but only at the expense of another. This one caused more problems as Reguilón got to the by-line, Sánchez prevented Fernández getting to it and Davies headed it back, but the Brentford goalkeeper recovered to gather.
Brentford lost the ball in their own half soon after and Skipp found Kane again. The shot flew across the face of goal and Højbjerg, arriving at the far post, could only fire in to the side netting. Brentford were struggling to play through Tottenham at the start of the second half and the hosts had the initiative.
Brentford managed the stem the flow, partly thanks to a change in midfield, with Shandon Baptiste introduced. Tottenham’s intensity dropped a fraction and Brentford were able to play more in their attacking half. They could have levelled when a long throw dropped inside the area, Jansson swivelled on to it, but fired over the crossbar. Toney and Vitaly Janelt then combined for The Bees. They played a one-two in Tottenham territory after some hard work in midfield, but the shot from Toney was saved by Lloris.
Just when it looked like Brentford might have the initiative, they were hit on the counter-attack. Kane found space in midfield and released Reguilón on the left. He raced clear and crossed for Son to tap in from close range. Tottenham ruthlessly exploited the opportunity with Brentford on the attack and got themselves a lead that felt decisive.
Brentford tried to respond and brought Mathias Jensen and Yoane Wissa in to the game. Lloris was forced to tip a cross-cum-shot from Jensen over the crossbar and Christian Nørgaard saw a shot blocked when a corner was half cleared. Nørgaard then fed Toney inside the area, his shot on the stretch test Lloris, who saved with his feet and recovered quickly to get to the loose ball.
Brentford continued to push forward as the game entered its final stages. Toney created room for Mbeumo to shoot, but he curled an effort high and wide and that was Brentford’s last chance. Japhet Tanganga was put clear by Kane in the final seconds, his shot was blocked, and Referee Jonathan Moss decided he had seen enough.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Sánchez, Dier, Davies; Royal (sub Tanganga 83 mins), Skipp, Højbjerg, Reguilón; Moura (sub Winks 76 mins), Kane, Son (sub Bergwijn 87 mins)
Subs (not used): Gollini, Doherty, Gil, Sessegnon, Alli, Ndombele
Brentford: Fernández; Goode, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós (sub Wissa 70 mins), Onyeka (sub Baptiste 56 mins), Nørgaard, Janelt (sub Jensen 70 mins), Henry; Toney, Mbeumo
Subs (not used): Cox, Roerslev, Stevens, Maghoma, Ghoddos, Forss