Brentford comeback to beat Aston Villa
Brentford came from behind to ruin Steven Gerrard’s return to the dugout and leapfrog Aston Villa in the Premier League thanks to Mads Roerslev’s late winner.
Danny Ings steered Villa ahead after a delightful link-up with Emi Buendia but Roerslev set up Yoane Wissa to curl Brentford level and the Danish wing-back completed the comeback with his first Bees goal.
Gerrard, returning from Covid isolation after missing the defeat by Chelsea seven days earlier, saw Ings slide Villa ahead with a precise first-time finish in the 16th minute after a sublime piece of skill by Buendia.
The Argentinian playmaker produced an exquisite drag-back in midfield before slipping Ings clear to slide a fine shot inside Alvaro Fernandez’s far post for only his fourth goal since joining the club.
Brentford rode their luck for much of the first half but levelled with their first shot on target three minutes before the break, with Wissa curling home from 20 yards after immaculately controlling Roerslev’s pass.
Villa, without top scorer Ollie Watkins, controlled the majority of the second half but Roerslev poked home the 83rd-minute winner after seeing his initial effort well saved by Emi Martinez.
The visitors almost rescued a point at the death but Fernandez produced an instinctive stop to keep out Ings’ effort from John McGinn’s cushioned pass.
Buendia and Ings combination a positive for Villa
Villa slipped to successive defeats for the first time under Gerrard – albeit he only managed the Chelsea defeat from afar – and were left to rue not making more of their overall control of the game.
While marquee summer signings Buendia and Ings, who cost £58m combined in moves from Norwich and Southampton respectively, have neither fully convinced this season, they linked up well here.
Mads Bech Sorensen’s last-ditch block prevented Ings opening the scoring from a Buendia through-ball before the pair combined brilliantly to break the deadlock.
But Gerrard, who did not confirm the reason behind Watkins’ absence apart from saying Villa were suffering from Covid and injury issues, saw his side waste several promising openings both before and after Wissa’s equaliser.
Late pressure also went unrewarded as Villa came away with nothing, dropping to 13th place.
Bees take another step to safety
After three successive defeats in all competitions without scoring, Brentford boss Thomas Frank might have been a slightly worried man approaching half-time.
However, his team talk changed when they produced a goal out of nowhere, Wissa, like Ings earlier, netting for the first time since October with a wonderful strike to boot.
From there they kept the visitors at arms’ length, paying particular attention to Buendia who has now scored or set up a goal all five times he has faced the Bees.
Ethan Pinnock’s fine tackle on Buendia in midfield proved a pivotal moment, creating a chance for Frank Onyeka, which Martinez superbly tipped wide and Brentford built on that momentum as Roerslev won it at the second time of asking.
While Ivan Toney was again a marginal figure, Brentford are finding goals from other routes and, 12 points clear of the bottom three, a second season in the top flight looks all but assured.