Brentford extended their unbeaten run to 12 games in the Premier League with a comfortable 3-2 victory over Fulham in a frantic west London derby at Gtech Community Stadium on Monday.
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The victory leaves Brentford (38 points) 9th in the PL table, but moves them level on points with 8th-place Brighton and to within one point of 7th-place Fulham (39 points). 6th-place Newcastle (42 points) sit three points ahead as both the Bees and Cottagers chase European qualification. Meanwhile, perennial west London giants Chelsea (34 points) sit 10th.
Brentford came out of the starting gate as if they were launched out of a cannon, winning virtually every 50-50 ball, keeping it deep inside Fulham’s half of the field and creating multiple emergency situations inside the Cottager’s penalty area — and they received their just reward in the 6th minute. After Fulham failed to fully clear a corner kick, the ball was recycled to Ethan Pinnock atop the box, and the center back smashed a side-volley off the leg of Tim Ream to wrong-foot Bernd Leno and find the back of the net for his second career PL goal.
After Brentford didn’t allow a single shot in the opening 37 minutes, the Bees gave up three in 92 seconds, the last of which was headed home by Manor Solomon to make it 1-1 and extended the Israeli winger’s scoring streak to five straight games (all competitions, including four straight PL games). Andreas Pereira smashed a free kick off the front of the goal frame and the ball bounced across the six-yard box to Solomon, who found himself unmarked and cleaned up the rebound.
WATCH BRENTFORD vs FULHAM FULL MATCH REPLAY
Ivan Toney broke the deadlock and put Brentford back on top from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute. Issa Diop was deemed to have kicked Christian Norgaard’s foot as the Danish midfielder played the ball inside the penalty area, and Toney, one of the best penalty takers in the game today, used placement over power to beat Leno, who went the right way but couldn’t quite reach the ball at full-stretch.
10/10 – Only Yaya Touré (11/11) has a better 100% record from the penalty spot in Premier League history than Ivan Toney (10/10). Inevitable. pic.twitter.com/eqMaSw7Rzi
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 6, 2023
Mathias Jensen tacked on what initially seemed to be a late insurance goal in the 85th minute, but turned out to be the winner after Carlos Vinicius pounced upon a David Raya spillage in the eighth minute of second-half stoppage time.
How long will Brentford’s unbeaten run last?
Thomas Frank’s side will face two more relegation-threatened sides — 19th-place Southampton and 15th-place Leicester City — in their next two league fixtures before back-to-back tricky trips to face Brighton and 3rd-place Manchester United away from home. Whether they extend the run another one or two or three or four further games, a dozen games unbeaten in the Premier League, the most competitive league in the world, for any side — let alone the one with the smallest wage bill of 20 teams at just over $18 million this season.
For comparison’s sake, the PL’s 10th-highest wage bill (Newcastle) is estimated at $74 million this season; and Manchester United’s wage bill, which is reportedly highest in the PL, is nearly $270 million for the 2022-23 season.
Stars of the show
Up next for Brentford is a trip to Goodison Park to take on 18th-place, relegation-threatened Everton on Saturday (10 am ET). The following morning, on Sunday, Fulham will host Premier League leaders Arsenal at Craven Cottage (9 am ET).
How to watch Brentford vs Fulham live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3 pm ET, Monday
TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Ivan Toney has been the undisputed superstar of Brentford’s sensational second season in the Premier League with 14 goals scored (4th-most), but the 26-year-old’s continued involvement is now in serious doubt after pleading guilty to multiple charges of breaching the FA’s betting rules between February 2017 and January 2021. Toney faces a lengthy suspension in the coming weeks or months, but he will be available for Monday’s game and has been picked in Thomas Frank’s team.
Fulham, like Brentford, have leaned heavily upon star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic (11 goals, 6th-most in the PL) for the vast majority of this season, but more recently it has been 23-year-old Israeli winger Manor Solomon who has scored each of the Cottagers’ last three league goals, including stunning strikes to beat Brighton and draw Wolves, picking up four additional points along the way. Solomon, who signed for Fulham in the summer and missed the first half of the season after suffering a knee injury in preseason, has scored in four straight games across all competitions.
Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Thomas Strakosha (ankle)
🐝 Your Bees line-up for tonight’s derby#BrentfordFC | #BREFUL | @bluejeansnet
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) March 6, 2023
Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Palhinha (suspension), Tom Cairney (ankle), Neeskens Kebano (achilles) | Layvin Kurzawa (knee)
The derby XI. 💚#BREFUL pic.twitter.com/khDHB8GAMH
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) March 6, 2023