Brentford 1-2 Aston
Villa: Bees drop lead in ill-tempered affair
Photo by Nigel French/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images. 

Aston Villa earned a hard-fought three points at the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday, seeing second half goals from Alex Moreno and Ollie Watkins to remain in the top three. 

Keane Lewis-Potter's first-ever Premier League goal brought Brentford an early lead right at the end of the first half, after 45 minutes of tense play from either side.

Up until that point, neither team could break the other's defence, with Aston Villa keeping to a high line and Brentford packing their box tightly with defenders.

But it was Ben Mee who broke that calm, after his sliding challenge went studs up into Leon Bailey and sent the Bees down to ten men. After that it was Brentford on the back foot, having to hastily defend against the oppressive force of Aston Villa's forwards.

The win sees Aston Villa put into third place for now, and Brentford behind their west London rivals, Fulham and Chelsea, at 12th.

Story of the Match

With several of Thomas Frank's many injured players watching from the stands, including Ivan Toney and Josh Dasilva, it was always going to be a difficult game for the Bees. Other injuries included Mathias Jensen, Kristoff Ajer, Aaron Hickey, Rico Henry, and crucially, forwards Kevin Schade and Bryan Mbeumo.

Aston Villa, on the other hand, have enjoyed wins over Manchester City, Tottenham and Fulham in recent games, and looked keen to continue their unbeaten run of four games. On their end, Youri Tielemans, Emi Buendia and Bertrand Traore were ruled out.

It always looked like an uphill climb for the Bees, and the opening half had every fan in the Gtech on the edge of their seats, with Villa holding most of the possession for the first few minutes and Alex Moreno looking ready to pounce, with a few chances just shy of the goal and one sent high above the crossbar.

Finally, on the 45th minute Keane Lewis-Potter opened the scoring with his first Premier League goal. As the Villa backline seemed unable to clear Saman Ghoddos' corner, it was nudged out for the young forward who planted it in the bottom left hand corner.

The second half started with Brentford hanging back, allowing Aston Villa time on the ball, with passes being danced around the edge of the box and Matty Cash sending several crosses in that found no one.

Then, Pau Torres and Yoane Wissa's heads hit in a nasty aerial collision, which was unfortunate for the defender, as it looked to be a decent attempt if not for the DR Congo international's challenge.

A rough sliding challenge from Ben Mee saw the referee raise a yellow, before consulting the pitchside monitor. He overturned the yellow card and Ben Mee was sent off for his studs-up slide against Leon Bailey, putting Brentford's hopes of victory in jeopardy.

With Thomas Frank less than thrilled at assistant manager "Pako" Ayestarán, his temper worsened, when Alex Moreno was given a floating pass by Leon Bailey, which he headed between the sticks to equalize at 1-1.

Not long after, a corner found Boubacar Kamara, who flicked the ball across to the former Brentford man Ollie Watkins who drove it home with a bullet header to get the score to 2-1.

He celebrated in the net, gesturing at the home supporters, much to the annoyance of Saman Ghoddos, who attempted to drag him out of the goal, this caused a bundle of arguing players behind the goal line. Yellows followed for Ezri Konsa, Saman Ghoddos and Jhon Durán for their involvement in the altercation.

A near own goal scared the away fans, as Leon Bailey sent a fast pass back to Emiliano Martínez, who wasn't ready for it, yet just managed to keep it out with his foot. Neil Maupay, who followed close behind, earned himself a yellow for nudging the Argentinian keeper to the ground.

 

More fouls followed, with Emiliano Martínez appearing to push Neil Maupay to the floor and when the Frenchman did not get up, he grabbed him by the collar. 

This kicked off more arguments between a few players, including Boubacar Kamara to grab Yehor Yarmoliuk around the throat and Boubacar Kamara was also sent off with a red. Martinez and Yehor Yarmolyuk also received yellows.

With a total of 25 fouls across the board, including 10 yellow cards and 2 red cards, it was a fiery match, which started out as a calm display of high lines, close chances and counter-attacks. Aston Villa's win will place them 3rd, only one point behind table-topper Arsenal.

 Player of the match - Ollie Watkins

Despite playing his old team, the 27 year old forward attacked the ball relentlessly throughout the 90 minutes, and held back from getting too involved with the frequent arguments that broke out across the pitch.

His goal also helped secure Aston Villa's much needed victory if they want a shot at the title.

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