Brentford 0-0 Tottenham: Spurs’ top-four hopes suffer blow
Tottenham’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League suffered a setback as they were held to a goalless draw by Brentford, with Bees midfielder Christian Eriksen impressing against his former club.
The Denmark midfielder, facing Spurs for the first time since he left for Inter Milan in January 2020, was given a warm reception by players and fans before kick-off in west London.
He was central to much of Brentford’s attacking play, particularly from set pieces, and they were inches from a dramatic late winner when his added-time free-kick was headed onto a post by Ivan Toney.
Another Eriksen corner in the first half was also headed onto an upright by Toney, while Pontus Jansson’s header was cleared off the line by Harry Kane in the second half.
Tottenham, in contrast, failed to have a shot on target for the second successive game as their largely lifeless attacking play was repelled by a resilient Bees defence.
England captain Kane went closest to snatching the points when his acrobatic scissor-kick went just wide with Bees keeper David Raya at full stretch.
Antonio Conte’s side are now two points behind Arsenal in fifth after their north London rivals beat Manchester United in Saturday’s early kick-off to move the Gunners into the final Champions League qualification position.
The draw moves Brentford above Brighton into 11th and onto 40 points, with the Bees now looking all but certain of Premier League survival.
Eriksen the star of the show
Much of the pre-match focus was understandably on Eriksen as he continues his remarkable return to English football.
The 30-year-old, who made 305 appearances in a six-and-a-half year spell with Tottenham, was seen hugging some of his former team-mates in the tunnel before kick-off and was given a standing ovation by the Spurs fans when he went to take an early corner in front of the away section.
He was then given an equally raucous ovation by both sets of fans at full time and signed a Tottenham fans’ shirt which had his name on the back.
That contributed to a relaxed atmosphere on a sunny spring evening in west London, with Brentford going into the game 11 points clear of the bottom three and closing in on Premier League safety after a run of five wins from six games.
That revival owes a lot to the arrival of Eriksen, with no Brentford player creating more chances than the Dane since his debut for the club in February.
He had been on the winning side in all five of the games he had previously started for Thomas Frank’s side.
The winning run ended here, but it is still a valuable point that all but guarantees a second season in the Premier League.
With Eriksen’s short-term contract expiring at the end of the campaign, securing his long-term future is likely to be high on Frank’s to-do list as the Brentford boss begins his planning for next season.
Tottenham stutter in front of goal
After netting 25 goals in seven Premier League games, Tottenham failed to register a shot on target in a match for the fourth time in the Premier League this season, twice as many as any other side, as they conceded the initiative to Arsenal in the race for the top four.
They did not attempt a shot of any note until the 27th minute – a wild Rodrigo Bentancur effort that went way over the bar.
Spurs attempted to raise the tempo after the break but struggled to break down a determined Bees backline, with Jansson, Rico Henry and Mads Bech Sorensen all making decisive blocks – though Kane’s athletic volley from Dejan Kulusevski’s cross nearly gave them an undeserved victory.
Conte’s side now face tough matches against Leicester and Liverpool before what looks likely to be a decisive north London derby at home to Arsenal on 12 May.
Player of the match
- 14GhoddosSubstituted forWissaat 78′minutes
- 18JanssonBooked at 66mins
- 29Bech SørensenBooked at 89mins
- 8JensenSubstituted forDasilvaat 78′minutes
12Emerson Royal30Bentancur5Højbjerg19R Sessegnon
- 12Emerson RoyalSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 86′minutes
- 30BentancurBooked at 90mins
- 19R SessegnonSubstituted forD Sánchezat 74′minutes
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 6D Sánchez
- 27Lucas Moura
Match ends, Brentford 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0.
Second Half ends, Brentford 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0.
Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ivan Toney (Brentford).
Attempt missed. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Dejan Kulusevski with a cross.
Attempt missed. Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.
Ivan Toney (Brentford) hits the right post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Christian Eriksen with a cross following a set piece situation.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham Hotspur).
Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Mads Bech Sørensen (Brentford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Mads Bech Sørensen (Brentford).
Attempt missed. Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Rico Henry with a cross.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Lucas Moura replaces Emerson Royal.
Foul by Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur).
Yoane Wissa (Brentford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur).
Vitaly Janelt (Brentford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Hand ball by Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur).
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