Brentford are already demonstrating a canny edge in the Premier League

Brentford are already demonstrating a canny, streetwise edge in the Premier League… their careful, clever game management against Wolves proves Thomas Frank’s side can stay up

  • From first whistle to last Saturday’s match last precisely 99 minutes, 28 seconds 
  • The ball was only in play for around half that time – 50 minutes and 43 seconds 
  • But Brentford’s time-wasting was smart as they were down to 10 men after a red

From the first whistle to the last, Saturday’s game lasted precisely 99 minutes and 28 seconds but the ball was only in play for 50 minutes and 43 seconds. That was no accident. That was Brentford.

We shouldn’t bash them for that. As Premier League newbies, sometimes they will need to eat up the seconds. Especially in the situation they found themselves in at Molineux Stadium. 

Leading 2-0 and with Shandon Baptiste shown red in the 64th minute, wasting time was necessary.

Brentford’s canny play which helped them secure a win against Wolves shows they can stay up

The Bees time-wasted expertly and managed the game after Shandon Baptiste (r) was sent off

Wolves (3-4-3): Sa 5.5; Kilman 5, Coady 5.5, Saiss 5 (Hwang 46min, 6); Semedo 5.5 (Silva 82), Neves 5.5, Moutinho 5, Marcal 5 (Podence 72, 6); Trincao 5, Jimenez 5, Adama 6.

Booked: Sa, Saiss, Neves, Coady. 

Manager: Bruno Lage 5.

Brentford (3-5-2): Raya 7; Ajer 7.5, Jansson 7.5 (Jorgensen 82), Pinnock 7; Canos 7 (Onyeka 68, 6), Baptiste 5.5, Norgaard 6.5, Janelt 6.5, Henry 6.5 (Roerslev 75, 6); Mbeumo 8, Toney 8.5.

Scorers: Toney 28 (pen), Mbeumo 34.

Booked: Henry, Baptiste, Jansson.

Sent off: Baptiste.

Manager: Thomas Frank 8.

Referee: Darren England 6.

Attendance: 29,724. 

Wolves manager Bruno Lage was not happy with Brentford’s tactics, however, least of all when goalkeeper David Raya decided to change his gloves not long after the second half had started.

To that, rival boss Thomas Frank responded: ‘I would ask him what he would have done if he was leading, as a newly-promoted team — we are just a ‘bus stop in Hounslow’ — playing against Wolves, an established Premier League side with 10 times the budget, and you are leading 2-0 away with 10 against 11.

‘Look at the game. Did we get a deserved win? On expected goals, big chances, everything, 11 against 11, 10 against 11. Don’t use excuses. Don’t spin it. ‘We lost to a better team on the day, blah blah blah’. That’s how I’d do it.’

What of Raya changing his gloves? ‘He had a big hole in his glove. I will bring it in and take a picture to put on the website so it’s not in doubt any more.’

Maybe it was innocent, maybe not, but there is no doubting that Brentford’s players are well versed in how to wind down the clock. If there is time that needs wasting, they know how to do it.

Ivan Toney was on fire on Saturday. He won a penalty, then scored it, then assisted his strike partner Bryan Mbeumo for Brentford’s second. Toney could have bagged a hat-trick, with two other strikes disallowed by VAR.

Wolves did not manage a single shot on target by comparison. Their best chance fell to Raul Jimenez, who missed the target with a header. 

Jimenez, who suffered that skull fracture last November, responded by throwing away his protective head guard in frustration. The club are bound to have a word with the striker, who is supposed to wear it for safety.

It was that kind of exasperating afternoon for Jimenez and Wolves. Brentford loved every minute of it, including the ones they wasted. 

Wolves manager Bruno Lage (pictured centre) criticised Brentford for their gamesmanship

Ivan Toney was on fire on Saturday. He won a penalty, then scored it, then provided an assist

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