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Venue: Community Stadium, London
Premier League
Saturday 28 November 2021; 3:00pm
1 0
Toney (pen) 24'
Half Time: 1 - 0 
Attendance: 16,957
Fixture 13
Referee: Darren England

Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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  Jansson booked
  Canos booked (Wissa 87')
  Onyeka booked
  Norgaard (Baptiste 70')
  Janelt (Roerslev 77')
  Mbeumo booked
  Subs not used

  Godfrey booked
  Townsend booked (Gray 70')
  Rondon booked
  Subs not used
Holgate (suspended)
Richarlison (suspended)
  Calvert-Lewin (injured)
  Davies (injured)
  Gomes (injured)
  Mina (injured)
  Nkounkou (loan)
  Broadhead (loan)
  Gibson (loan)
  Virginia (loan)
  Kean (loan)

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle
Brighton 0-0 Leeds
C Palace 1-2 Aston Villa
Liverpool 4-0 Southampton
Norwich 0-0 Wolves
Brentford 1-0 Everton
Burnley P-P Tottenham
Chelsea 1-1 Man United
Leicester 4-2 Watford
Man City 2-1 West Ham

1 Chelsea 29
2 Manchester City 29
3 Liverpool 28
4 West Ham United 23
5 Arsenal 23
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20
7 Tottenham Hotspur 19
8 Brighton & Hove Albion 18
9 Leicester City 18
10 Manchester United 17
11 Crystal Palace 16
12 Brentford 16
13 Aston Villa 16
14 Everton 15
15 Southampton 14
16 Watford 13
17 Leeds United 12
18 Burnley 9
19 Norwich City 9
20 Newcastle United 6

Match Report

Surveying both the fixture list and the injury absentees crippling an uncomfortably shallow squad as the last international break began, Rafael Benitez will surely have viewed this trip to Brentford as a vital one in terms of picking up much-needed points to not only boost morale but also buy some time before the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucouré returned.

The Bees may have started the season strongly, as newly-promoted teams, hopped up on the adrenaline from promotion to the top flight often do, but as their own injury problems have set in, Thomas Frank’s men have been struggling for points as much as Everton in recent weeks. Indeed, they hadn’t won at home since the opening day of the season when they comfortably beat Arsenal and Ivan Toney’s last goal at the Brentford Community Stadium was six months ago.

Naturally, the Toffees obliged to help their hosts end that winless home run and Toney to score in front of his own fans, in the process extending their sequence of matches without a victory to seven. Depressingly, Brentford were poor on the day, a shadow of the side that beat the Gunners and rallied so impressively against Liverpool to draw 3-3 here two months ago, and really were there for the taking had Everton been able to get their act together in the final third.

Instead, Benitez’s men were staggeringly inept for long stretches, particularly in the second half where they controlled the match but proved incapable of breaking Brentford down until Demarai Gray stepped off the bench with 20 minutes left to add some desperately-needed creativity. Unfortunately, with his manager persisting with the much-maligned Salomon Rondon while a trio of alternative or supplementary attacking players remained idle on the bench, Gray’s efforts were in vain and the Blues’ players were left to face the ire of almost 2,000 frustrated, worried and angry supporters at the final whistle.

Doucouré may have returned from a fractured foot to line up alongside Allan in midfield but it wasn’t enough to overcome the twin absences from the starting XI of Gray and Richarlison which meant that Rondon had to lead the line alone with Alex Iwobi playing behind him. Central attacking midfield is supposed to be the Nigerian international’s preferred role, one he has only occasionally been allowed to play since arriving from Arsenal two years ago, but he failed to grasp the opportunity to impress. Rondon, himself badly in need of something to convince Evertonians he should even be in the squad let alone the line-up, was equally ineffective, although he did come closer than anyone in blue to scoring when he forced a decent save from Alvaro Fernandez in the first half.

Rondon might also have had a penalty were there any consistency in the application of the rules as they pertain to shirt-pulling in the current rules but the lack of any appeals from the Everton players perhaps spoke volumes about the collective mentality of this massively disappointing collection of players. In that sense, they got what they deserved — absolutely nothing — and it was the same when Sergi Canos probably should have picked up a second yellow card in the second half for a cynical foul on Lucas Digne. The Toffees went down with barely a whimper and the worrying thing is that it was emblematic of a general air of resignation that seems to have set in at Finch Farm; Wednesday’s Merseyside derby is terrifying for that very reason.

The contest started in fairly hectic fashion but once it had settled down, Brentford looked the more likely of the two teams to cause the opposition defence problems. Benitez’s decision not to deploy Fabian Delph in a midfield three meant that Everton were light in that area as a somewhat rusty Doucouré tried to feel his way back into action.

Frank’s players had clearly been instructed to close Benitez’s men down quickly and deny them space, particularly Anthony Gordon who was his usual purposeful self even if quality the final third remained elusive. The teenager won a corner in the 10th minute that came to nothing but it was following a set-piece at the other end that Brentford were awarded the decisive penalty.

Andros Townsend waved a high foot into the face of Frank Onyeka as they challenged for a loose ball and though referee Darren England saw nothing untoward at the time, he was eventually persuaded by Video Assistant Referee Jon Moss to review the incident on the pitch-side monitor, after which he reversed his decision and awarded a penalty which Toney confidently stroked home from the spot.

Rondon’s chance immediately afterwards was a rare moment of promise in the final third for Everton. Digne found the striker with a low cross from the left that he controlled and tried to fire across Fernandez but the keeper diverted it wide with his leg. After that it was the home side who had the only other half chance in the first period, a half-volley from Bryan Mbeumo that was comfortably saved by Jordan Pickford.

However, Rondon had a strong case for a penalty of his own in first-half stoppage time when Charlie Goode almost pulled his jersey over his head as they challenged for a centre by Townsend but Moss did not see a “clear and obvious error” from the match-day referee on this occasion.

With Brentford offering almost nothing after the break, Everton just needed to find some rhythm and the semblance of an attacking plan to break the Bees down. Rondon had had a shot charged down in the 57th minute and Iwobi’s snapshot was saved by Fernandez three minutes later but despite seeing much more of the ball in the second half, though, Benitez’s men remained pitifully toothless overall.

It wasn’t until Gray came on for Townsend, who had his worst performance in an Everton jersey so far, that they finally looked capable of causing their hosts problems but while the substitute managed to deliver three inviting crosses from the flank he found no takers in the middle until Rondon met one of his crosses but could only steer a header well off target.

Somehow, Rondon remained on the pitch for the full 90 minutes as the only striker with Benitez opting not to make any further substitutions, leaving Cenk Tosun, Ellis Simms and Lewis Dobbin watching on from the bench. It was further evidence of the Spaniard’s lack of faith in youth when an injection of precocious exuberance and fearlessness (in the case of the latter two), even for just a few minutes at the end, might just have been enough to rescue a point.

As it was, the game fizzled out in uninspiring fashion from the Evertonian perspective and though most of the players went over to thank the visiting fans for their support, they were told in no uncertain terms how unsatisfactory the overall performance was. Gordon in particular seemed to be genuinely affected by the reaction – given his local roots and relative youth, that was understandable – and Coleman held his hands up by way of apology but none of it will mean anything until things change on the pitch.

More of these kinds of displays and this Everton team is going to get sucked into a relegation scrap for which they look singularly ill-equipped on this evidence; certainly with this personnel and lack of inspiration from the dugout. Games against Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Leicester loom before Christmas and it’s difficult to see where the next goal is coming from let alone the next point.

Richarlison’s return for the derby will add some steel up front and if Gray can start, he will offer more incisiveness in attack but unless the team toughens up in midfield, tightens up in defence and can add both Calvert-Lewin and Mina back into the ranks in fairly short order, on the evidence of today it promises to be a miserable month ahead with Everton sinking further down the table.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton head to the Capital for a fixture that has assumed enormous importance given the team's poor run of results that extended to no wins in six games with last weekend's defeat at Manchester City.

Abdoulaye Doucouré has fully recovered from a fractured metatarsal and starts. Allan also plays despite the knock picked up at the Etihad. And Iwobi gets another start despite being a completely ineffectual player.

Demarai Gray's adductor problem is not as serious as first feared but he is on the bench.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was back in light training but is not involved today as he continues to rebuild his fitness levels. Mina is still out injured and Holgate is suspended.

Richarlison serves a one-match suspension this weekend after picking up his fifth booking of the season at the Etihad Stadium and it means that Salomon Rondon returns to the starting line-up again despite being next to useless on the field of play, with potential replacements like Simms and Dobbin continuing to be overlooked and left on the bench.

Cenk Tosun is also on the bench again. Gordon plays his third game in a row.

Everton kicked off but it was a scrappy story of sloppy lost possession that soon saw the Brentford moving forward. Gordon had a nice run but Everton just weren't atune to forcing any sort of fluid passing in attack. A decent cross in forced Pickford out to punch away for an early corner but Brentford declined the chance to test Everton's infamous zonal marking.

Iwobi was dispossessed easily by Goode but Everton were getting to see more of the ball without getting close to the hosts' penalty area until Townsend got a cross in. Gordon pressed to win Everton's first corner, defended into a breakaway by Brentford.

The need for more desire, commitment, aggression did not seem to have been heard as The Blues stood off in accommodating fashion without the ball. Gordon lost out in a footrace with Goode, then barged into Canos, giving up a free-kick that was easily repelled by Rondon.

But Everton's use of the ball was frankly abysmally. Easily thwarted by numbers down the right, either a poor backpass to Pickford or an even poorer hoof forward was the out-ball. Brentford won another corner that Allen headed behind. The next attempt led to panic in the Everton area. Townsend's raised boot as Onyeka runs across him forced a late VAR review that led to a ridiculous penalty call that Darren England reviewed and confirmed. Toney smacked it past Pickford from the spot after he moved the wrong way.

Digne had a good run in, fed Rondo who turned his not inconsiderable bulk and shot low for the keeper to save with his foot. It was a golden chance really, with the far side of the goal wide open. Brentford then attacked with Onyeka crossing well but Pickford was out to snaffle the cross at the feet of ____. Then another opening for Brentford but Doucoure made a vital interception to deny _____. From a throw-in, Pinnock had a clean header straight at Pickford.

Townsend went to cross but no-one was on the same wavelength, much to his annoyance. Everton's attacking play was poor at best, mostly sideways and backwards. Digne eventually crossed to Rondon who was being easily marshalled.

Gordon was fouled but Digne's lofted ball in lacked any subtlety and was easily caught by Fernandez. Everton persisted with the slow development of play from the back that saw a sloppy loss of the ball and Townsend fouling, for a yellow card.

Everton were gifted the ball in a poor clearance but they had not a clue what to do with it and eventually fouled a defender to end what should have been promising possession around the Brentford area.

As the attack broke down, Mbuemo got a worrying chance but just played it softly at Pickford. Onyeka touched Gordon's back, who went down and that too was a yellow card... leveling up? Digne totally wasted the well-placed set-piece, as is the Everton Way.

The half ended with Pickford needing to come out and punch the ball away again, for another long throw-in from Goode.

Townsend put in a decent cross that Doucoure met well enough on the run but right in his path was Rondon being grappled by a defender, but of course no penalty even considered. What a really poor half from Everton... not complete rubbish, mind, but at best one step above. Pitiful really, all things considered.

Brentord attacked from the restart, Canos with a reaction shot over. Everton playing out from the back and getting stalled by Brentford's high press. Gordon went on another run to nowhere, in this case, a pathetic pull out by Iwobi.

A poor attack saw Digne slip over as he crossed but the ball fell for an acrobatic attempt by Rood - he had to swing his foot. Needless to say, it flew yards over the Brentford goal.

A typical Iwobi cameo saw him so easily squeezed out when trotting ahead to pick up a nice forward ball. Such a total lack of any competitiveness at all. It was horrible scrappy football that was going absolutely nowhere, summed up by Townsend and COleman messing up a simple overlap.

Coleman had a decent run to make amends and the ball fell for Rondon but his shot was into a crowd of defenders. Townsend then wasted a cross, putting it behind. Everton were starting to play the ball forward a bit more but nothing was really happening for them. Another attack saw DDoucure waft at the ball and then Iwobi taking a shot at Fernandez.

Another better-worked attack looked to create space for a shot but it was repelled, Then Gordon on the overlap was offside. Probably Everton's best spell of sustained forward play but nothing to show for it.

Gordon bundled off the ball, no foul. Allen challenges, foul. The inconsistency was appalling, but thankfully a terrible free-kick by the home side. It all got a bit silly when Henry went down but Brentford kept playing on. Then Everton continued and the crowd roared until Digne was fouled and all the handbags came out. Rondon and Jensen booked.

Benitez finally decided to act, giving Gray 30 minutes but the Blue impetus had been broken and Brentford mounted a worrying attack with time running out for the Blues to rescue anything from this latest dismal showing.

A sustained Everton attack went absolutely nowhere as Brentford backed off and parked the bus. The next cross was straight to the goalkeeper. Everton huffed and puffed again with Gray not connecting properly on his shot. It was going to take something special to break through and that's just what Everton do not have: anything special.

Gray picked a ball from Iwobi and crossed well but Rondon was 3 yards behind it and just ambling forward. Pathetic. Godfrey was booked for a pull-back, earning them a rare set-piece that they managed to put straight behind.

Pickfod tried to speed things up with a great release ball to Gray but the cross came back and then Rondon got a distant header off-target. Everton had possession but absolutely no idea how to create anything as they played around in triangles until Gray finally crossed but Rondon just ambling around, no attack on the ball.

Iwobi put a better cross into the danger area, forcing a corner but Gordon's effort was defended away. Iwobi had a soft weak header that was technically on target but was never going to score.

Gray was doing his best to create something but the solid Brentford wall of defenders was impenetrable. Five minutes of added time added nothing to another dreadful game from Everton against awful opposition and an absolutely abysmal result, with Brentford evening getting a shot on goal after some horrible head tennis in Everton's half. Simply atrocious preparation for Wednesday's Goodison derby.

Kick-off: 2pm Sunday, 28 November 2021

triangles around until

Brentford: Fernandez, Goode, Jansson [Y:67'], Pinnock, Canos [Y:51'], Norgaard (69' Baptiste), Henry, Onyeka, Janelt, Toney, Mbuemo [Y90+2'].
Subs: Cox, Thompson, Jensen, Forss, (87' Wissa) Ghoddos, Sorensen, Roerslev.

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey [Y:80'], Digne, Allan [Y:63'], Doucoure, Iwobi, Townsend [Y:38'] (70' Gray), Gordon, Rondon [Y:67'].
Subs: Begovic, Kenny, Delph, Tosun, Gbamin, Branthwaite, Simms, Dobbin.

Referee: Darren England
VAR: Jonathon Moss

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton head to the Capital on Sunday for a fixture that has assumed enormous importance given the team's poor run of results that extended to no wins in six games with last weekend's defeat at Manchester City.

The Blues go into the weekend sitting in 11th place, eight points off fourth place and only six above the bottom three with a run of difficult fixtures between now and Christmas that continues away at Brentforf.

There could be a glimmer of good news on the injury front, however. The sight of Abdoulaye Doucouré in training in images released by the club from Finch Farm has offered hope that he could play some part.

The French midfielder has been absent for the last few games with a fractured metatarsal and has been a huge miss in the centre of the Blues' midfield as the team's winless run extended to seven matches with last Sunday's defeat at Manchester City.

This weekend's visit to London to face the newly-promoted Bees was looking to be a daunting one given Doucouré's potential absence and amid suggestions that Allan's preparations were being hampered by a knock picked up at the Etihad.

However, it seems as though Doucouré could be fit enough to play a role on Sunday but whether that is from the start or off the bench remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, concerns over the severity of Demarai Gray's injury eased this past week even if Rafael Benitez sounded doubtful that he would be available as soon as Sunday.

The winger had to come off having played just a quarter of an hour against City but the adductor problem he sustained is not as serious as first feared. He has taken part in light training sessions over the past few days but Benitez was not able to say whether he will be able to face Brentford.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was back in light training as well away from the group and, like Yerry Mina, this weekend will come too soon for him to make a long-awaited return but there is hope that both could be back in the fold soon.

In the meantime, the team has been undercut further by Richarlison's absence. The Brazilian serves a one-match suspension this weekend after picking up his fifth booking of the season at the Etihad Stadium and it leaves the very real possibility that Salomon Rondon will be in the starting line-up again in his absence.

Struggling for fitness and looking well below the level required since arriving from China over the summer, the Venezuelan striker is few Evertonians' choice to lead the line but with Gray doubtful and Benitez having discounted the prospect of Ellis Simms — and, by extension, Lewis Dobbin — starting, the only other alternative is Cenk Tosun.

Tosun hasn't had a look-in since recovering from his latest serious knee injury but you would imagine that there is a strong chance of him seeing some action this weekend given the paucity of available options.

Brentford have injury concerns of their own in that David Martin, Kristoff Ajer, Joshua Dasilva and Julian Jeanvier are ruled out both Mads Sorensen and Mathias Jorgensen will undergo late fitness tests but joint-top scorer Yoane Wissa is back and their other two goal threats, Ivan Toney and Marcus Forss continue to be fit and available.

Thomas Frank's side laid down a marker for how the fearless way in which they were going to approach their first season in the Premier League following their promotion from the Championship when they beat Arsenal convincingly on the opening day and rallied impressively against Liverpool to draw 3-3 in a game that exemplified not only their never-say-die spirit but also their propensity to cause teams problems by going direct.

Both qualities should concern Benitez as he prepares for this one. Everton have proved to be as susceptible to crosses and set-pieces as they have to being carved open on the deck and the prospect of Brentford slinging balls into the box in the manner they did against Jürgen Klopp's reds is not a comforting one.

Yet, if there is a precedent that should comfort Blues fans it's the fact that former bottom club Norwich went to the Brentford Community Stadium before the international break and won 2-1 in what proved to Daniel Farke's last match in charge.

For Everton, the task will once again be to keep things tight at the back, organised defending dead-ball situations and to find some way of threatening Brentford's defence without the likes of Richarlison and Gray in the side. Doucouré's presence will certainly help in that regard if he can start but there will never be a better time for Rondon to finally get off the mark or, perhaps, one of the younger players to become a hero.

With the Merseyside derby looming and then successive games against Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Chelsea to come, another defeat would only deepen the gloom and ratchet up fears that the Toffees' depleted squad could get sucked into a scrap at the wrong end of the table by the time 2022 rolls around.

A win, by contrast, could set them up nicely for the visit of Liverpool by vaulting them back into the top half and injecting some badly-needed optimism while the manager waits on more key players to return from injury.

Kick-off: 2pm Sunday, 28 November 2021
Referee: Darren England
VAR: Jonathon Moss
Last Time: Brentford 1 - 0 Everton (October 1953)

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Delph, Doucouré, Townsend, Gordon, Iwobi, Rondon

Lyndon Lloyd

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