Brentford 0-0 Tottenham: Bees fail to capitalise on superiority while Spurs lose ground in race for 4th
Photo by Getty Images/Tottenham Hotspur FC

On a sunny Saturday evening in west London, Brentford were the better side as Tottenham Hotspur registered a lacklustre performance and were fortunate that the match ended goalless.

The Bees had a flurry of chances in both the early and late stages of the match — with Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo both going close on several occasions — but they failed to make their superiority count against a Spurs side who were desperately poor on the day and offered very little in an attacking sense.

Perhaps the visitors could've done with their former player, Christian Eriksen, who once again pulled the strings for Brentford from midfield and was involved in everything they did well throughout the match in a superb individual display.

The result sees Brentford climb to 11th in the Premier League table, now with 40 points to their name, while Tottenham remain in 5th, two points behind arch rivals Arsenal currently occupying the final Champions League spot.

Story of the game

There was a brilliant intensity to this match right from the outset and Brentford were almost wholly responsible for setting it. Saman Ghoddos showed tremendous endeavour to close down Ryan Sessegnon on the touchline before the ball dropped for Mathias Jensen who in turn teed up Bryan Mbeumo on the edge of the box, but Eric Dier put in an important block to divert it for a corner.

Just over 15 minutes in, Eriksen came within centimetres of contributing to a goal against his former club as his pinpoint corner caused all sorts of problems for Spurs and ultimately met the head of Toney, but the striker's effort clattered off the crossbar and Dier cleared before anyone in red and white could follow in.

Indeed, it was quite staggering just how threatening Brentford looked from set-pieces, helped in large part by Tottenham's inability to figure out how to thwart their routines. Another inventive, sliced delivery from Eriksen picked out Toney once again in acres of space at the far edge of the box, and his volley needed a nick off Cristian Romero's leg in order to take its course away from goal.

Tottenham's first 30 minutes were summed up by Rodrigo Bentancur's dreadful long-range sighter which went high and wide of the target and then some, greeted by ironic jeers from the home support. Brentford had so clearly been the better side in the opening half-hour but they needed to make their superiority count on the scoreboard.

That early intensity gradually died down as the first-half wore on, with both sides failing to break each other down — the Bees had the urgency and intent without the quality, whilst Spurs had the inverse of that formula. It made for an uneventful trudge towards the break.

All-in-all, it was a poor first period with little to note in terms of significant occurrences apart from a flurry of early chances for the hosts. Would they come to regret their failure to take at least one of those? They'd be fortunate if Spurs were to play as badly after the break as they had before it.

But, if the opening exchanges after the restart were anything to go by, the visitors didn't look like improving. Ben Davies failed to track a telegraphed run from Toney who latched onto Eriksen's lobbed through-ball but, fortunately for Spurs, Hugo Lloris rushed out and timed his tackle to perfection to thwart the striker's advance.

In the next attack, Rico Henry fizzed a vicious ball across the box which met Mbeumo at the back stick, but the forward was slipping as he made contact and missed the target by some distance.

As the clock ticked towards the hour mark, Spurs were — slowly but surely — growing into the contest, starting to shift momentum in their favour. It looked as if they might take an unlikely lead when Harry Kane, Dejan Kulusevski and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all had efforts on goal in the space of five seconds or so, but Brentford put their bodies on the line and the danger was eventually punted away by Mads Bech Sorensen.

But Tottenham's mini-revival was fleeting as the Bees soon got back on the front foot. First, Eriksen's driven effort from 25 yards nearly nestled in the bottom corner, before Pontus Jansson's glancing header in the next attack forced Kane into a headed clearance off the line and Lloris saved from Eriksen on the rebound.

Spurs went straight down the other end and earned a corner from which Rodrigo Bentancur headed just over the target. As we entered the final 20 minutes of regulation time, it looked unlikely this match was going to end goalless as both sides ramped up their efforts in attack.

With their final chance of the match, it looked for all the world as though Brentford had deservedly clinched it. A characteristically wicked delivery from Brentford was met by Toney, rising highest in the box to clatter a header off the up-right before Mbeumo poked wide with the follow-up. That was their moment.

Tottenham then went very close indeed when an in-swinging cross from Kulusevski tempted Kane into an overhead kick from a tight angle — he demonstrated outrageous technique to make such sweet contact with the ball, but watched in vain as it whistled past the post.

And that was that: it finished just as it had started, a goalless result doing very little to help Tottenham in their quest for Champions League qualification but one in which performance, more than points, speak the volumes for Brentford.

Takeaways from the match

Bees should have made more of Spurs' lack of vitality

Take nothing away from how well Brentford performed today — they went toe-to-toe with a top six side and looked far and away the better of the two. In the end, although a point against Spurs is no mean feat on any day, Thomas Frank's side may feel a little aggrieved they didn't secure all three.

They had the chances to do so. Mbeumo and Toney looked threatening as ever but weren't as clinical as they have been in recent weeks, spurning a handful of chances at both the beginning and end of the match which would almost certainly have swung the result in their favour.

However, the performance is what will matter more to Brentford today as they produced an impressive display which couldn't quite take their winning run to four games but did at least carry them over the 40-point mark in what has been a remarkable inaugural Premier League campaign on the red side of west London.

Tottenham's miserable away record in London dents their top four ambitions

But whilst the Bees should be credited for their display, it would only be right in turn to lambast Tottenham for theirs — their lack of intent, urgency and dynamism was frankly staggering for a side that still have an awful lot to play for this season.

Interestingly, this result continues an unwelcome trend for Spurs: they have now won just one of their last 12 away trips in London, but did manage to put an end to a run of five consecutive defeats in such encounters.

After an impressive, free-scoring spell over a month or so covering the end of March and start of April, Antonio Conte's side have stuttered in their last two matches just as a place in the top four fell into their hands, and they'll need to pick themselves up quickly if they are serious about qualifying for next season's Champions League.


Brentford: Raya; Roerslev, Jansson [c], Sorensen; Ghoddos (Wissa 78'), Jensen (Dasilva 78'), Janelt, Eriksen, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney.

Unused subs: Lossl, Stevens, Jeanvier, Baptiste, Fosu, Peart-Harris, Young-Coombes.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris [c]; Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson (Lucas 85'), Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon (Sanchez 74'); Kulusevski, Kane, Son.

Unused subs: Gollini, Rodon, Reguilon, Winks, White, Bergwijn, Scarlett.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Up next

Following this draw here, Brentford travel to the northwest to face an out-of-sorts Manchester United side at Old Trafford a week on Monday.

Meanwhile, on the Sunday, Tottenham return to their north London home to welcome visitors Leicester City as they look to continue their quest for Champions League qualification.