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Brentford continued to do their job in the promotion hunt with another comfortable 3-0 win, this time at home to troubled Wigan. Beesotted contributor Paul Harrison reviews the afternoon’s events.


On the day when England’s pubs and bars re-opened, freshly-poured pints weren’t the only thing grabbing our attention. A weekend of tantalising Championship fixtures was in the offing too. In one particular corner of West London, a rampant Brentford side were raring to continue their excellent run of form.

The visitors to Griffin Park, Wigan Athletic, had looked similarly strong post-lockdown. Three wins out of three. Seven goals scored. Zero conceded. Under normal circumstances this would indicate a team that could de-rail the Bees’ push for automatic promotion.

But these weren’t normal circumstances for the Latics – plunging suddenly into administration on Wednesday with a twelve point deduction imminent. There are strong rumours of them being plunged into the relegation zone as a result of the plug being pulled by their rather shady new owners is directly linked allegedly to a gambling syndicate.

Fair play to the Wigan fans. They have drummed up some good support within 24 hours. Local MP Lisa Nandy appeared on a the PWU podcast to demand questions be asked of the EFL. And they have raised over £100k in a couple of days.

But result question marks linger. Not just over whether Wigan will survive relegation. But whether the club will survive altogether. We wish Wigan luck in their bid for survival and justice.

Back to the match.

NHS applause. Brentford v Wigan Athletic, Griffin Park. Picture by Mark D Fuller/Focus Images Ltd. 04/07/2020

Before the game Wigan sat seven points above the relegation zone and were predicted to finish 15th this season. But with the impending twelve point deduction, the need to pick up points became crucial once again.

On one hand Brentford were going up against a team in tremendous form with a burning need for three points. On the other, administration might have distracted and unsettled the Wigan players into submission.

Ultimately it didn’t matter which Wigan side turned up. On Saturday afternoon there was only going to be one winner.

Brentford were imperious, putting a stranglehold on the game. And the recorded a resounding 3-0 victory courtesy of a Said Benrahma hat-trick.

Before the game Thomas Frank had said Wigan deserved to stay in the Championship. But there is no time for sympathy in the Bees’ pursuit of Premier League football.


On the pre-match podcast, Adam Pendlebury from the PWU podcast was rather logical in his prediction, going for a 0-0 draw based on both sides’ excellent recent defensive records. And from kick off it looked like Wigan gaffer Paul Cook had his defenders prepared to put their bodies on the line.

Henrik Dalsgaard hit a speculative cross-cum-shot from the right flank that forced visiting keeper David Marshall to parry. Ollie Watkins’ rebound was blocked before Bryan Mbeumo’s effort was deflected over the bar. All three efforts in rapid succession – Brentford were putting the pressure on from the get-go.

Just moments later an injury to Wigan centre half Leon Balogun forced the visitor’s utility man Kal Naismith – who scored two goals from right wing against Stoke in midweek – to drop into defence. Hard to tell if this rattled the visitors, but Brentford continued to control proceedings.

As they had against West Brom and Reading, the Bees took the lead around the 20 minute mark.

Watkins cross from the left was nodded clear to Emiliano Marcondes on the edge of the box. He cushioned a header into the path of Said Benrahma who, in one swift movement, swivelled and volleyed into the bottom corner. The Bees were 1-0 up, again, and Wigan had conceded their first goal since February 15th.

Brentford had the lion’s share of possession and were enjoying success down the left flank – the trio of Rico Henry, Benrahma and Shandon Baptiste linking intricately.

Shandon Baptiste. Brentford v Wigan Athletic, Griffin Park.Picture by Mark D Fuller/Focus Images Ltd. 04/07/2020

It was Baptiste, on his first start post-lockdown, who had a great chance to double the lead, but his shot was hooked off the line by Naismith. Baptiste was then forced off due to injury, with Josh Dasilva coming on in his place.

Brentford came flying out the traps in the second half, with Naismith again clearing off the line after Dalsgaard’s cross was deflected goalwards. The Bees continued to turn the screw, starving Wigan of any momentum. As the hour mark approached you could once again sense that a second Brentford goal was on its way.

Saïd Benrahma. Brentford v Wigan Athletic, Griffin Park. Picture by Mark D Fuller/Focus Images Ltd. 04/07/2020

Benrahma found himself on the edge of the box, pressed up against the goal line by a Wigan defender. With few options, the Algerian winger whipped a speculative ball towards the far post. Whether it was intended as a cross or shot made little difference – with a helping hand from the wind, the ball looped over Marshall’s head and into the far corner of the net.

2-0. A little bit of luck perhaps? But Brentford fully deserved such a scoreline.

Watkins came mightily close to scoring his 24th of the season, but it just wasn’t to be his day. The race for the golden boot seems to carry less importance for him than helping the Bees secure the three points, and his off-the-ball movement and pressing shone through again.

It didn’t take long for the Bees to get a third. Excellent link-up play down the right, Christian Norgaard surged into the box before pulling it back to Benrahma, who lapped up the chance to notch a hat-trick with a fine finish across Marshall into the bottom corner.

Saïd Benrahma celebrates his hat trick with Josh Dasilva. Brentford v Wigan Athletic, Griffin Park. Picture by Mark D Fuller/Focus Images Ltd. 04/07/2020

From then on it was a procession for the Bees. Wigan failed to muster a single effort on goal, and were reduced to 10 men before the final whistle. Joe Garner, subbed on just minutes earlier, was shown a straight red for a reckless (although likely unintentional) high boot that left Brentford’s Jan Zamburek clutching his arm.

The final whistle couldn’t have come sooner for the visitors. Some of Wigan’s players looked exhausted. It looked like the Latics were itching to draw a line under a miserable Saturday afternoon at Griffin Park and move on to more important matters.

For Brentford though, the charge continues.

Today’s victory marked a club record. The first time in history the Bees have won five games in a row without conceding.

Exciting times to be a Bee as fans remarked on the Pride of West London podcast (link above).

But everybody’s taking it one game at a time.


Brentford head coach Thomas Frank said:

“A very good performance overall. We knew we were going to play against a strong Wigan side who have been doing fantastically. I’m very pleased.”

“Big praise to Said for scoring three goals, but I must praise him for his overall performance and that’s also without the ball. He works so hard for the team.”

“We are confident but humble. We know we can’t take our foot off the pedal. We just need to keep going and produce another strong performance on Tuesday night against Charlton.”

Wigan boss Paul Cook spoke about Wigan fans’ fundraising efforts:

“From all the staff and the players, we thank the fans so much for what they’re doing. We see all the messages of support, the good wishes that they’re feeling.”

“Today was a tough day for us, travelling down with everything that’s gone on. We’re aware of all the positive energy at Wigan.”

“The only thing that I can guarantee the supporters is that we won’t be just lying down and fading away.”



Infogol stats. Brentford v Wigan. June 2020






Player ratings, provided by whoscored.com

Brentford’s dominance is evidenced in the stats, with The Bees having 62% possession and taking eighteen shots compared to Wigan’s  three.

It’s hard to look past Said Benrahma as Man of the Match – his treble landing him a rare perfect 10 rating on whoscored.com. But the hustle and industry so typical of recent Brentford performances was on show again.

There’s no weak links in the starting XI. No chinks in the armour. Squad depth has come on leaps and bounds this season too, with Thomas Frank calling on a plethora of talented bench players to see out games.

xG Map, provided by infogol. Bigger bubbles represent better chances.

In terms of expected goals, one could argue that Brentford were clinical scoring three goals with an xG of 1.7.

The Bees created five very good chances inside the box. Plus a number of lesser chances inside and around the area.

Wigan’s defensive determination could be attributed to the fact that the score was not higher with – blocking 8 of Brentford’s shots on target.

Benrahma’s goals were all worldies by all accounts. Very difficult chances on paper to score.

His 2nd goal – only 6% of similar chances in similar positions recorded actually hit the back of the net. Whereas only 5% of similar chances to his 3rd goal actually make the scoresheet.

Regardless, it highlights how well he did to grab a hat-trick, with those three goals having a total xG of just 0.37 (37% across the three chances).

Wigan’s three  shots, none of which were on target, equated to just 0.13 xG (so on average 4 out of every hundred of each of Wigan’s chances normally hits the back of the net).

For a team who had scored seven goals in three matches post-lockdown, this is another huge sign that Brentford’s defence is becoming more and more impenetrable as the weeks go on.




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