Brentford 2 – 0 Bournemouth
A clinical Brentford display heaped more pressure on Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil and extended their own impressive recent form in the Premier League.
Talisman Ivan Toney stepped up and slotted past Neto after being pulled down by Marcos Senesi to maintain his 100% record from the spot from his nine Premier League penalties.
It took him to 13 for the season in the league, beating his tally from last season.
Chances were few and far between but Brentford – who are now unbeaten in seven Premier League games and climb above Liverpool into eighth – sealed the win when Mathias Jensen slotted Joshua Dasilva’s cross into the top corner.
Bournemouth, who are 17th and two points clear of the relegation zone, have now lost six games in a row since O’Neil was appointed permanent manager during the World Cup.
They have only won two of their past 13 in all competitions and one of their past 10 in the league.
Those results have seen pressure build on O’Neil, who started the weekend as a third favourite to be the next Premier League manager sacked, behind Everton’s Frank Lampard and Chelsea’s Graham Potter.
This was the first time Toney had played in 2023 after suffering a knee injury in their victory over West Ham that concluded in 2022.
His run in behind won the penalty with Senasi wrapping his arm under Toney’s, which the Brentford striker then effectively trapped, before falling backwards onto the floor.
Jarrod Gillett had little hesitation in awarding the spot-kick, and Toney took two steps forward before side-footing the ball into the side netting, just above the reach of Neto.
It means he has scored four goals in his last five Premier League games, and Brentford will be hoping any ban that may come from a Football Association charge for alleged breaches of betting rules is not too substantial as they potentially push for a place in Europe.
Overall, it was a relatively flat Brentford performance, until Dasilva burst forward and crossed for Jensen to curl home, with the win meaning the Bees have claimed 19 points from 30 available at home this season.
There is uncertainty about the managerial situation at Bournemouth and that won’t put O’Neil at ease, especially with the club now on its longest winless run since 1983.
Since O’Neil’s appointment, the American businessman Bill Foley has taken over the club, and fans are yet to see how patient he is.
Investment in the playing squad was seemingly guaranteed when he took over, with Foley insisting the Cherries “will not be relegated” this season.
They are yet to make any signings in the January transfer window and saw relegation rivals Wolves, Southampton and Nottingham Forest all win on Saturday.
This was another performance of endeavour, suggesting the players are still behind O’Neil but they lacked a spark in the attacking areas, with Siriki Dembele’s driven effort just one of two shots on target.
Doubts will be creeping in on the south coast. The investment needs to arrive soon if Foley’s bold claim is going to be true come May.
source – BBC