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Crystal Palace 0 – 0 Brentford

Brentford maintained an unbeaten start to their first Premier League season with a goalless draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles had the better of the chances in Patrick Vieira’s first home game in charge, with debutant Conor Gallagher hitting the inside of the post early on.

Captain James McArthur then saw a curling effort from the edge of the box tipped away by David Raya after the break as the Eagles pushed for a breakthrough.

The best opportunity for Thomas Frank’s Brentford, who beat Arsenal in their opening game last weekend, came when Bryan Mbeumo’s free-kick from out wide clipped the top of the crossbar.

For Crystal Palace, this game was always likely to be a more accurate guide to the early progress made under Vieira than last weekend’s defeat at European champions Chelsea.

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On this evidence, effort and commitment are not in doubt, but the Eagles lack a killer instinct in front of goal.

Vieira is looking to impose a new, more progressive style of play and called for his side to be “really brave” on the ball against Brentford, deploying an attacking-looking 4-3-3 formation with Christian Benteke recalled as the central striker.

Their cause was helped by a raucous welcome from the crowd and perhaps buoyed by that boisterous welcome, Palace made the better start, harrying Brentford when they were in possession and going close through Gallagher, who put in an all-action display.

However, their attacking threat waned as the game wore on, allowing Brentford to regain some control.

It was perhaps little surprise that the home side’s best chance after the break came from an effort from distance, with McArthur, a captain in absence of Luka Milivojevic, firing in an effort that was superbly tipped over by Raya.

In contrast to Palace’s summer of change, Brentford has largely picked up where they left off last season, with Frank keeping faith with the majority of the players who secured promotion from the Championship.

He named an unchanged starting XI from last weekend’s raucous win against Arsenal, but they offered little attacking threat in the opening stages, although Ivan Toney went close with a snapshot from distance.

After that uncertain start, the Bees grew into the game and ended the half on top, with Mbeumo’s free-kick clipping the bar and Frank Onyeka having a fizzing effort from distance saved by Vicente Guaita.

Toney remained their greatest threat in the second half, twice going close with headers from corners, while they rarely looked like conceding at the other end.

A return of four points and two clean sheets represents a fine start to what is their first top-flight campaign for 74 years.

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The Brazilian, who scored home and away against the Toffees last season, struck with 18 minutes remaining of a pulsating, ferocious and closely contested match played out to near-constant noise from the stands. learn more

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