Brighton player ratings vs Brentford: Three 8s but two 5s as Albion held to dull draw

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Brighton missed the chance to move above Newcastle and West Ham in the race for Europe as they played out a dull 0-0 draw at Brentford.

Boosted by the return of top scorer Joao Pedro – but without Evan Ferguson and Ansu Fati – Albion were ultimately toothless in front of goal on a frustrating night.

Substitute Danny Welbeck had the games’ two best chances but failed to convert them as the clock ticked down.

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Roberto De Zerbi cut an exasperated figure on the sidelines, with Albion winning just two from their last seven Premier League games.

Lewis Dunk impressed for Brighton in a goalless draw at Brentford. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)Lewis Dunk impressed for Brighton in a goalless draw at Brentford. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Lewis Dunk impressed for Brighton in a goalless draw at Brentford. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

This was likely seen by the players as an important game to win, with the Seagulls still yet to face title hopefuls Arsenal and Manchester City – and European challengers Newcastle and Aston Village – in the final eight games.

Yoane Wissa missed a big chance for the hosts in the first half but Brentford barely tested Bart Verbruggen – with his defence able to expertly keep Ivan Toney quiet.

Brighton thought they had a penalty at the end of the first half when Dunk went down under a challenge from Wissa. After checking the monitor, Andy Madley ruled that Dunk initiated the contact.

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In a dull second-half, Brighton dominated possession but were restricted to long-range efforts. That was before Welbeck came on and was played in one-on-one - but was denied by Kristoffer Ajer’s block. De Zerbi fell back on his chair in disbelief.

The veteran striker then put an effort wide in injury-time after a powerful run – with Jakub Moder arguably in a better position to score if Welbeck had looked up.

The result means Brighton stay in ninth place with 43 points. Chelsea, in 12th place, sit just three points behind them and could overtake them if they win their two games in hand.

Here’s how we rated Brighton’s players against Brentford:

Bart Verbruggen – 7: Barely tested but did his jobs well when called upon. Got down well to low crosses.

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Joel Veltman – 6: Solid defensively but struggled going forward. No nonsense defending to clear the danger. Blasted a shot over the bar early in the second half. Heavy touch and then fouled his man in good position. Nice idea with header towards Adingra but defenders were alert to it. A couple of important blocks.

Jan Paul van Hecke – 8: One of the standout performers from the season – the Dutchman was brilliant again. Brilliant defending to keep Toney quiet. Ambitious effort from distance to win a corner – showing his confidence. Beautifully weighted pass to switch the play as Albion searched for a winner.

Lewis Dunk – 8: Backed up his fine display at Liverpool with another assured performance. Set the tone with a firm challenge for his first touch of the game. Initially looked like he was dragged to the floor by Wissa but no penalty given after VAR check. Composed header back to his keeper with Toney lurking. Kept the striker quiet – the pair shared an embrace at full-time.

Igor Julio – 8: Confident on the ball and strong defensively. Decent long range effort. Crucial block to deny Toney.

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Pascal Groß – 7: Quietly went about his business with his usual style. Just lacking that killer ball tonight.

Carlos Baleba – 7: Looks more confident and showed glimpses of his quality with some accurate passing. Won most of his aerial duals. Had a few harmless shots from distance – was not able to get the right connection.

Facundo Buonanotte – 5: Clattered early doors. Worked hard in attacking areas but was wasteful. One cross in particular had far too much power. He was booked for a reckless challenge – RDZ was not happy

Adam Lallana – 5: A rare start for the former Liverpool man. A good effort on goal was not far wide. Shot over the bar after some nice one-touch passing – De Zerbi did not look pleased with the end product.

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Simon Adingra – 6: Full of running, with good intensity, but lacked end product. Had a shot easily saved. Nice cross early on for Joao Pedro, whose header wasn’t far away.

Joao Pedro – 7: Great to have him back, he's been sorely missed. Looking to get on the end of Adingra cross but header just over. Tame shot easily saved after turn. Nice work on the left hand side before creating chance for Veltman. Tried to get the crowd behind the team in closing stages. He will be vital in the final eight games of the season. De Zerbi, in his press conference, was full of praise for Pedro’s performance.

Substitutes:

Julio Enciso – 6: Dangerous run but poor shot – story of the game. Decent shot saved. Injected a bit of energy into the game.

Tariq Lamptey – 6: Decent cross led to Baleba chance. Shot blocked from close range

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Danny Welbeck – 6: Looked set to score when played in on goal but denied by Ajer’s excellent block. Header wide from close range. Should have squared it to Moder after great run in injury-time.

Jakub Moder – 6: Only on for a few minutes but had a shot blocked and made a good run to support Welbeck.

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