Brentford keep pace in European race with win away to Southampton
Ivan Toney scored one goal and assisted another as Brentford picked up a workmanlike 2-0 victory over Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium on Wednesday.
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The victory sends Brentford (41 points) past Fulham and into 8th place in the Premier League table, now just a point behind 6th-place Liverpool and 7th-place Brighton in what is shaping up to be the unlikeliest of battles for European qualification. Southampton (22 points - 20th place), meanwhile, remain bottom of the table, two points off safety having now played one more game than all but one team ahead of them.
Brentford dominated play for the entirety of the first half, and eventually got their just reward as Toney poked home Christian Norgaard’s flicked-on header at the back post for his 16th PL goal of the season (3rd-most, behind Erling Haaland’s 28 and Harry Kane’s 20).
Despite having two-thirds of possession in the game and trailing for nearly an hour, Southampton managed just 0.51 xG on seven shots in total (one on target). Brentford played their typical rope-a-dope style to perfection, patiently awaiting quality scoring chances rather than frivolously chasing quantity. They had just two shots on target on the night, the second of which also found the back of the net deep into second-half stoppage time.
Toney headed a long ball from David Raya in behind the Southampton defense, and Yoane Wissa chased it down and slotted a cool finish past Gavin Bazunu to seal all three points.
Stars of the show
Brentford will host relegation-battling Leicester (24 points - 16th place) in west London on Saturday (11 am ET), at the same time Southampton host top-four-chasing Tottenham (48 points - 4th place) at St. Mary’s.
How to watch Southampton vs Brentford live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3:30pm ET, WednesdayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Saints have found a way to stay in games and their 4-2-3-1 formation is working well with midfield runners Kamaldeen Sulemana and Carlos Alcaraz causing chaos. Can they score enough goals to keep them up? That is the big question and right now James Ward-Prowse holds the key to Southampton’s survival as he’s their most likely source of goals. If Saints win this game they’re out of the relegation zone for the first time since November. That is their motivation.
Brentford know they could be without leading goalscorer and talisman Ivan Toney for quite some time as the FA continues to deliberate his punishment regarding alleged betting breaches. On the pitch the Bees have been superb this season and sit four points off the top six. Thomas Frank’s side were unlucky not to grab anything at Everton last time out and they can expect a similar game at Southampton as teams respect them and will sit back and soak up pressure.
Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Juan Larios (adductor) | QUESTIONABLE: Ainsley Maitland-Niles (undisclosed)
Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Keane Lewis-Potter (knee), Thomas Strakosha (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Mads Roerslev (thigh)