Brentford's big guns finally turn up when they need them most to seal Premier League dream

29 May 2021 07:30

Cast your mind back to 4 August 2020.

Brentford turned up at Wembley Stadium for the 2019/20 Championship play-off final as favourites to beat a Fulham side who'd looked shaky at times throughout the season and only secured their place in the top six with a late flurry of wins.

Ivan Toney was superb against Swansea | Athena Pictures/Getty Images

When we say 'Brentford turned up' we mean that purely in the sense that they were present at Wembley that evening - because they really didn't turn up.

The Bees had not only finished above Fulham in the league that season, they'd scored 16 more goals and conceded 10 fewer, meaning their tag as favourites was richly deserved.

All they needed to do was play as they had done throughout the campaign and if star men Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins turned out the sort of performance they'd produced with such regularity over the last year the result would surely take care of itself.

Not only were the aforementioned duo utterly invisible, the supporting cast of Bryan Mbeumo and co were nowhere to be seen either, leaving Thomas Frank's side facing another season in the Championship as the Cottagers were promoted to the Premier League.

When Brentford booked their place in the second tier showpiece event this season the question on everyone's lips was very much the same as in 2019/20 - will they turn up?

And this time, they finally did.

Frank's side were superb against Swansea on Saturday afternoon, though more importantly their match winners were all present this time.

Ivan Toney, Mbeumo, Sergi Canos and Emiliano Marcondes were all absolutely brilliant as the Bees swatted aside a helpless Swansea side in the glorious London sunshine, and with just 20 minutes played they already had one foot in the Premier League.

Since Frank took charge of Brentford in 2018, the club has become synonymous with fast paced, energetic, high-octane football, and their Wembley display was arguably one of the best performances since the Danish tactician took charge.

Mbeumo had a huge hand in setting the tempo of the game, harrying the opposition and winning himself a penalty after producing a scything run through the Swans backline.

The outcome of the penalty never looked in doubt as Toney slotted home like he was playing with his mates down the local park and from that point onwards the result never really looked in doubt.

Brentford had finally turned up on the big occasion and you could tell their players were playing with more confidence than ever, with a wonderfully crafted counter-attack cutting through the heart of he Swansea team once more to double the lead before Toney nearly put the game to bed with a sumptuous 20-yard volley which bounced agonisingly off the underside of the crossbar.

Brentford deservedly won promotion at Wembley | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

While the Bees' attacking players will rightly be given the credit for essentially winning the game in the opening 20 minutes, credit should also be given to their backline.

Swansea may not have really offered them too many problems over the 90 minutes, though what they did muster Brentford dealt with comfortably, with one minor lapse in concentration from Pontus Jansson affording Andre Ayew the Welsh side's only real clear-cut chance of the game.

Basically what we're trying to say is everyone turned up and after a comfortable 2-0 win Brentford can finally - deservedly - call themselves a Premier League outfit.

They've just got to produce another 38 of those performances next season now.

Source: 90min