Much-changed Hammers are bettered by Bees’

Brian Jeeves
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Brentford v West Ham United – Premier League – Gtech Stadium – Report

Brentford 2-0 West Ham United

With one eye cast firmly on their UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final, second-leg tie with AZ Alkmaar, a much-changed West Ham United side went through the motions and subsequently slipped to a 2-0 Premier League defeat at London rivals Brentford.

With their league status all but secured, David Moyes shuffled the pack: “I think the schedule has a possibility of affecting the eleven we start against Brentford,” the Scotsman explained.

“The big thing is that I need to see which players are fit and available after having to play Thursday-Sunday, as we have had it so many times this season. 

“And we had it this time last season as well and we thought it had an effect on us. So, we have to consider all of that. 

“But the most important thing is that we stay in the Premier League and if we can reach a cup final as well then that will be great.”

The Hammers boss made no less than nine changes to the side that had established a narrow Europa Conference first-leg lead, with Łukasz Fabiański, Ben Johnson, Angelo Ogbonna, Emerson, Flynn Downes, Manuel Lanzini, Maxwel Cornet, Pablo Fornals and Danny Ings all handed a start.

However, very few of the incoming squad members would have given Moyes food for thought ahead of the trip to the Netherlands. In a typical end-of-season affair, Brentford, chasing a top-ten finish, went close to opening the scoring when Mikkel Damsgaard’s glancing header drifted narrowly wide following a pin-point centre from the right by Kevin Schade.

But Brentford looked the brighter and they took the lead midway through the opening period when Bryan Mbeumo swept the ball beyond Fabianski after Mattias Jensen had played him in following a swift, sweeping raid.

Fabianski stuck out a glove to rebuff Yoane Wissa’s close-range effort. Meanwhile, Schade dragged another attempt wide as the home side continued to dictate. 

Ben Mee’s was denied following a melee in the East Londoners’ six-yard box. But everything pointed towards another Brentford goal. Wissa provided it, just before the break after Mee had nodded on following a long throw-in.

Mbeumo was unable to profit from careless Hammers defending immediately after the restart. Shortly after, the same player saw his header deflected behind. Moyes had seen sufficient enough to replace Tomas Soucek, Pablo Fornals and Maxwel Cornet with Declan Rice, Said Benrahma and Divin Mubama, the latter handed only his second run out with the top team.

Mee flicked on only for Damsgaard to somehow clear the crossbar as the Hammers’ goal continued to lead a charmed life. However, they came close to reducing the arrears when Bees’ stopper, David Raya saved low to his right from Ben Johnson.

West Ham thought they’d snatched one back when Ings was on hand to nod into an empty from close range. However, VAR called upon referee, Michael Oliver to have another look. The verdict was a handball by Mubama, the goal chalked off.

Benrahma drilled directly at Raya after weaving his way towards goal. But in truth, West Ham deserved very little from the contest. Brentford have now won all four of their Premier League meetings with the Hammers since they returned to the top flight in 2022. West Ham United now turn their attention to the UEFA Europa Conference semi-final, second leg where they face AZ Alkmaar at the AFAS Stadion on Thursday, May 18 (8pm)

Brentford: Raya (Capt), Hickey (Roerslev 84′), Mee, Pinnock, Henry, Janelt, Jensen, Damsgaard (Baptiste 78′), Wissa (Dasilva 78′), Mbueumo, Schade (Ghoddos 84) Subs not used: Cox (GK), Zanka, Onyeka, Ajer, Stevens

Booked: Hickey (foul)

Goals: Bryan Mbeumo 20′, Wissa 44′

West Ham United: Fabiański, Johnson, Aguerd, Ogbonna (Capt), Emerson, Downes, Souček (Rice 59′), Fornals (Mubama 59′), Lanzini, Cornet (Benrahma 59′), Ings (Bowen 83′) Subs not used: Areola (GK), Cresswell, Kehrer, Paquetá, Zouma

Booked: None

Goals: None

Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistants: Lee Betts and Dan Cook

Fourth Official: Thomas Bramall

VAR: Robert Jones

Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin

Attendance: 17,075 (1,685 from West Ham United)


Brian Jeeves