Brentford 3-0 Burnley: Things go from bad to worse for beleaguered Clarets in one-sided defeat
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Vincent Kompany’s men returned from the international break languishing inside the Premier League’s bottom three having taken just four points from their opening eight games - five of which came against sides sitting in the top six.
But with games coming up against Brentford, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace - teams expected to be in and around them in the table - it was hoped the Clarets would begin to put some points on the board on a more regular basis.
Instead, they were condemned to a seventh defeat in nine by a dominant Brentford side who could and perhaps should have made the scoreline more comfortable.
The Clarets were fortunate not to be out of the game at half-time such was the Bees’ control of the game, but Thomas Frank’s men wasted a number of gilt-edged chances in front of goal.
While Kompany’s charges improved at the start of the second-half, it wasn’t enough to get anything from the game and Brentford ran out comfortable and deserved winners.
The Clarets were handed a boost prior to kick-off with Ameen Al-Dakhil being ruled fit.
The defender was a fitness doubt having withdrawn from Belgium’s squad during the international break after coming off in the defeat to Chelsea.
Vincent Kompany made three changes to the side that lost 4-1 to Mauricio Pochettino’s side, with Dara O’Shea, Connor Roberts and Zeki Amdouni all coming into the side.
Hannes Delcroix, Vitinho and Josh Brownhill were the three to make way.
Nathan Redmond, who has been out injured in recent weeks, returned to the substitute’s bench, where he was joined by Anass Zaroury - who had previously been left out of Kompany’s squads.
Hjalmar Ekdal, Jordan Beyer, Johann Gudmundsson, Manuel Benson and Michael Obafemi all remain sidelined.
As for Brentford, former Claret Ben Mee returned from injury to start on the bench.
Thomas Frank also made three changes to the side that squandered a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 late on against Manchester United in their last outing.
The Bees were straight out of the blocks on this occasion, putting Burnley under fierce pressure from the off.
The hosts could and probably should have taken an early lead, too, when the Clarets were caught out by a quick free-kick.
Neal Maupay was picked out in space inside the Burnley box but thankfully for Kompany’s men the striker could only stab wide.
The next opportunity fell to Maupay’s strike partner Bryan Mbeumo, who got it all wrong after the ball had been lofted towards him at the back post.
The Bees had the ball in the back of the net on seven minutes through Maupay, who slammed home from close range after a free-kick had been headed towards the back post. But fortunately the linesman’s flag was raised for offside and the official’s decision was subsequently backed up by a VAR check.
Burnley’s first sight of goal came through Lyle Foster, who caused danger with his pace in behind Brentford’s backline leading to Mike Tresor dragging a low shot just wide of the upright.
But the hosts issued another warning when Frank Onyeka was left completely unmarked, only to head weakly at James Trafford in the Burnley goal.
At the other end, Burnley felt they had a good shout for a penalty turned down when Tresor was scythed down in the box as he attempted to reach Foster’s pullback. Nothing was given though and the incident wasn’t even checked by VAR either.
The Bees continued their onslaught of the Burnley box with a couple of quick chances in quick succession. The first was a hooked effort from Christian Norgaard which Charlie Taylor deflected wide with his thigh, while Trafford was then forced to claim Bryan Mbuemo’s header from the resulting corner.
A sign of Burnley’s malaise on the ball came when the ball was played back to Trafford, who was instantly charged down by Wissa who managed to get a block in - but fortunately the ball only ricocheted behind for a goal kick and nothing more embarrassing.
The Clarets weren’t able to hold out for much longer though with Brentford finally making the most of their pressure midway through the first-half.
Sander Berge was caught dawdling on the ball in the middle of the park, allowing the Bees to pick out Mbuemo down the right wing. The forward had the composure to play the ball across the face of goal where Wissa had a simple tap-in to give his side a deserved lead.
One almost became two a moment later when the returning Al-Dakhil had been caught on the ball, allowing Maupay to go one-on-one with Trafford.
The keeper managed to get a hand to the striker’s relatively weak shot but the ball still rolled towards goal, but Dara O’Shea was able to get back and clear off the line.
Burnley weren’t learning their lesson though and Brentford continued to bombard the box - with Trafford forced into another key save to deny Norgaard who had directed a wayward shot towards goal.
Maupay almost added a second on the stroke of half-time when he got a shot off on the turn following a long throw, but once again Trafford came to Burnley’s rescue to tip over the bar.
Despite being second best by some margin during the first 45 minutes, the Clarets came within a whisker of levelling matters in first-half stoppage time.
Tresor was again the creator, pulling the ball back from the right flank to Zeki Amdouni, whose vicious curling effort was pushed behind by keeper Mark Flekken.
Such was Burnley’s malaise in the first-half, it wasn’t a great surprise to see Kompany make a change at the break with Luca Koleosho coming on to replace the quiet Wilson Odobert.
The 19-year-old looked to make an instant impact, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position within seconds before cutting inside from the left flank and sending a dangerous, dipping effort towards goal, only to clip the head of Nathan Collins and go beyond for a corner.
The Clarets were much improved at the start of the second-half, putting the Bees under concerted pressure for the first time in the afternoon and regularly working their way into the final third.
Amdouni almost pounced upon a defensive slip when he let fly from about 18 yards out, but unfortunately he was unable to keep his rising shot down and Flekken was able to watch it fly over his crossbar.
Nevertheless, the Clarets were finally asking some questions and this time it was the home fans who were beginning to show signs of anxiety.
Burnley needed to make the most of their pressure when it came, but they showed a frustrating lack of quality in the final third in the decisive moments.
They were ultimately made to pay just after the hour mark when Brentford doubled their lead with a well-worked goal from their perspective, but a soft one from Burnley’s.
The hosts were allowed to hit the Clarets on the break but they still had plenty of work to do, but Maupay unselfishly laid the ball off for Mbeumo to curl home into the top corner with aplomb.
Burnley’s backline fell to pieces in the wake of Brentford’s second, with some calamitous defending in their own box almost gifting the home side a third as Mathias Jensen blazed over.
The Clarets could have made things interesting 15 minutes from time when Foster put the ball on a plate for Koleosho at the back post, but the winger made a complete hash of the chance in front of a virtually open goal.
Things went from bad to worse three minutes later when Burnley were reduced to 10 men - Connor Roberts the man shown a second yellow card for a foul on Wissa as the Brentford man looked to run through on goal.
Reacting to the dismissal, Kompany withdrew Jacob Bruun Larsen just 14 minutes after bringing on the winger, bringing on Hannes Delcroix to sure up the defence.
There wasn’t a great deal Delcroix could do to stop Brentford sub Saman Ghoddos hammering home a third from long range to pile on further misery on Kompany’s beleaguered charges.
Thankfully no more goals arrived, although a fourth was almost added when Burnley were caught playing out from the back once again - but on this occasion Trafford was able to salvage the situation and save his side from further embarrassment.
Brentford: Flekken, Ajer (Roerslev), Collins, Pinnock, Janelt, Norgaard, Onyeka (Ghoddos), Jensen (Yarmoliuk), Mbuemo, Wissa, Maupay (Olakigbe)
Subs not used: Strakosha, Zanka, Mee, Ji-soo, Brierley
Burnley: Trafford, Roberts, Al-Dakhil, O'Shea, Taylor, Cullen, Berge (Brownhill), Amdouni (Redmond), Tresor (Bruun Larsen, Delcroix), Odobert (Koleosho), Foster
Subs not used: Muric, Cork, Zaroury, Rodriguez
Referee: Josh Smith