Brentford and Crystal Palace played out a second 0-0 draw of the Premier League season. A warm August afternoon in South London gave way to a chilly February one in West London but the storyline was largely similar. Brentford probably had slightly the better of it, but the spoils were shared.
The teams were evenly matched, and defences were on top for almost the entire afternoon. Neither goalkeeper was overly busy, and both spent more time with the ball at their feet. Brentford probably had more chances and spent more time on the attack but could not find a way through.
Brentford had slightly the better of a pretty even first quarter of the contest, with the better chances. Palace had a lot of the ball but mostly played in their own half while Brentford were more incisive with their possession and looked to get on the front foot. David Raya had some early set pieces to deal with but was more involved in Brentford’s build-up play than in defending his own goal.
Brentford controlled the centre of the pitch in the early exchanges. Palace tried to get their wide attacking players in to the game with Brentford happy to use the wide spaces left to create their own chances. The closest either team came to scoring in their first quarter was when Mathias Jensen spread the play from right to left and Bryan Mbeumo set up Rico Henry. The shot from Henry was heading to the far corner and was deflected by Joachim Andersen narrowly past the other post with Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita watching and hoping.
An Ethan Pinnock header from a deep corner was cleared by Palace inside their own six-yard box and Christian Nørgaard lashed wide when a cross dropped to him. Sergi Canós had a sight of goal when he got on to a Mbeumo corner, but he failed to control and was crowded out. The resulting throw in was launched in to the penalty area by Pinnock and Palace centre half Marc Guéhi punched it away. Referee Simon Hooper decided Guéhi had been fouled and Video Assistant Referee John Brooks confirmed the decision, waving away Brentford’s appeals for a penalty.
The game opened up as half time approached. Both teams were able to find more space in the midfield and Brentford created a couple of very good openings. Canós created the first with a run in off the right flank, he released Mbeumo inside the area with only Guaita to beat. The Palace goalkeeper rushed out and made himself big and Mbeumo was unable to toe poke the ball past him.
Canós was involved again moments later. This time his pass released Jensen on the overlap. The ball was drilled towards the near post, but Joel Ward prevented Yoane Wissa converting. Mr Hooper decided Wissa had got the final touch with Ward’s challenge saving his team.
Ward’s next key involvement was to play a poor back pass that set Mbeumo away behind Andersen on the Brentford left. Mbeumo raced away and Guaita came out to narrow the angle. Mbeumo squared and Wissa was crowded out in the middle. The ball was recycled and Kristoffer Ajer delivered to the back post, Henry headed back for Vitaly Janelt, but his shot was blocked.
Jeffrey Schlupp lashed over from distance for Palace and Raya saved from Wilfried Zaha after Canós had conceded possession in his own half. Palace’s best chance of the first half came when Nørgaard was robbed in midfield. Odsonne Édouard raced in to space and released Jordan Ayew on the right. Ayew drove towards the penalty area but smashed wide at the near post.
If Palace had taken the lead, it would have been against the run of play and Brentford continued to hold the upper hand as half time approached. They could have scored when Nørgaard spread the play to the left and Henry found Mbeumo. The cross from Mbeumo dropped on to the head of Canós diving in, but he could not find the target.
In the dying seconds of the half, Wissa headed a cross from Jensen wide as Brentford went in at the break with the initiative, but not the lead. Palace regrouped at the interval and the start of the second half was far more combative. There were tough challenges in the midfield and little action in either penalty area. Raya held on to a low cross-cum-shot from Ayew before substitute Josh Dasilva drove in to the penalty area on the right at the other end. His cross just eluded Wissa and Palace cleared.
Raya held on to a curling effort from James McArthur and Canós blocked when Zaha cut inside but as the minutes ticked down, the game was played more in front of the defences than behind them. Guaita made a good save from a Pontus Jansson header and Mbeumo saw a shot blocked as Brentford pressed. They introduced Saman Ghoddos and Shandon Baptiste as they looked for a winner.
The last chance of the game went to Palace. There were just seconds left when they threw a ball in to the penalty area. It dropped and Andersen created space to shoot. Raya saved, then gathered at the second attempt, and the game ended 0-0.
Brentford: Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós (sub Baptiste 86 mins), Jensen, Nørgaard, Janelt (sub Dasilva 61 mins), Henry; Wissa (sub Ghoddos 82 mins), Mbeumo
Subs (not used): Fernández, Lössl, Stevens, Bech, Roerslev, Onyeka
Bookings: Canós (43 mins)
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guéhi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Hughes (sub McArthur 66 mins), Schlupp; Ayew (sub Olise 77 mins), Édouard (sub Mateta 72 mins), Zaha
Subs (not used): Butland, Milivojevic, Tomkins, Eze, Clyne, Benteke
Attendance: 16, 958 (1,713 away fans)