Match Reports

Albion sting Bees with first-half goals

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Trossard and Maupay on target in welcome 2-0 victory over Brentford.

By Bruce Talbot • 26 December 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Leandro Trossard's goal was his first since the 1-1 draw with Newcastle.

Two superb first-half goals by Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay set up Albion for their first Premier League win in 12 against Brentford at the Amex.

Trossard broke the deadlock with a sumptuous chip over the goalkeeper in the 35th minute before Maupay struck a stunning curler into the top corner six minutes later. His seventh of the season took him onto 25 Premier League goals for the club, one short of Glenn Murray’s record.

Brentford fought hard in the second half. Rob Sanchez made two fine saves and Marc Cucurella cleared off the line but victory lifted Albion back up to ninth.

Graham Potter had made four changes to the team which had lost to Wolves last time out. Adam Webster, Maupay, Alexis Mac Allister and Adam Lallana, who was named captain, all returning.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana captained Albion against Brentford.

They had an early scare too when Dominic Thompson’s long pass found Ivan Toney in the inside-right channel and Toney chipped Rob Sanchez only for Dan Burn to get back and clear.

Shandon Baptiste volleyed over from close range during a lively start by Brentford but gradually Albion began to dominate possession and win more second balls.

In the 18th minute Dan Burn looped a header onto the top of the bar from Mac Allister’s corner and nine minutes later Enock Mwepu fired disappointingly wide with his right foot after a sweeping counter started by Sanchez.

Albion had found their stride and they went in front with a brilliantly taken goal by Trossard on 35 minutes. The quality of Mwepu’s pass in the inside right channel was matched by the timing of the Belgian’s run. As goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez came out Trossard volleyed it over the keeper and into the empty net.

The hosts now had their tails up. Mac Allister curled a 20-yard free kick onto the roof of the net before Maupay made it 2-0 on 42 minutes. Adam Lallana won the ball high up and passed to Jakub Moder. The midfielder found Maupay in space 25 yards out and he advanced a couple of paces before bending the ball into the top right-hand corner with his right foot from just inside the D. A goal of the season contender for sure and Maupay’s third in as many games.

By James Boardman
Neal Maupay's goal was his first against his former club.

For the first time since Leicester in September Albion had a two-goal lead although they had to replace Trossard at the break with Danny Welbeck making his return after hamstring surgery.

Sanchez had been a spectator for long periods, but he came to Albion’s rescue twice in the space of a minute on the hour. The Spaniard looked as if he would be beaten when Baptiste’s shot took a big deflection to wrong-foot him but Sanchez managed to divert the ball over the bar with his trailing leg. Moments later he plunged to his right to push away Ethan Pinnock’s header and needed treatment to his shoulder after colliding with the post.

By James Boardman
Robert Sanchez's two superb saves in the second half kept Albion's two-goal cushion intact.

Even with a 2-0 lead Albion needed to be careful but Mac Allister nearly provided them with the comfort of a third with a low drive that was only inches wide of the post.

Brentford kept pushing. Pinnock thought he’d scored with a looping header, but Cucurella produced a wonderful headed clearance from under the bar. Brentford probably sensed it wasn’t going to be their night and substitute Steven Alzate nearly added a third late on but Fernandez plunged to his left to push his shot away.

Albion: Sanchez, Lamptey, Webster, Burn, Cucurella, Mwepu, Mac Allister (Alzate 84), Lallana (Gross 84), Moder, Trossard (Welbeck 45), Maupay.

Subs not used: Scherpen, March, Richards, Leonard, Turns, Ferguson.

Referee: Darren England