West Ham United may have beaten Brentford in a pre-season friendly back on 31 July but the newly-promoted Bees have beaten them twice in the league after a 2-0 win at The Brentford Community Stadium this afternoon.
David Moyes made three changes to the side that drew their UEFA Europa League quarter-final first-leg against Olympique Lyonnais three days ago as Łukasz Fabiański returned in goal in place of Alphonse Areola and Manuel Lanzini was back in the starting line-up after missing last two games due to the after-effects of a car accident with former Brentford man Saïd Benrahma dropping to the bench. There was also a welcome return for Vladimír Coufal, as he came in for Ryan Fredericks who was also amongst the substitutes.
West Ham saw this as a great chance to grab their first away win since the 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day but it didn’t start well for the Hammers. Although they had more possession than the home side, they could only muster two goal attempts.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Moyes was forced into an early change, as Kurt Zouma had to be replaced by Issa Diop with barely thirty minutes played.
The hosts were keen to add to their recent winning run and had a chance to go ahead through Bryan Mbuemo, while the Pole was also called into action and had to save twice from January signing Christian Eriksen.
Mbuemo, who scored as the Bees won 2-1 in Stratford back in October, tried his luck again but he firstly sent an effort wide while also seeing a low shot blocked by Aaron Cresswell.
West Ham created an opportunity of their own as the two Czech internationals combined, only for Tomáš Souček to head Coufal’s cross straight at home goalkeeper David Raya.
The visitors could have fashioned another chance when they were awarded a corner just before half-time but unfortunately, Cresswell couldn’t convert Jarrod Bowen’s delivery and only succeeded in slicing it wide.
With that, referee Martin Atkinson blew the whistle for the break and although the deadlock was still to be broken, the East Londoners knew that they would have to do a lot better if they stood any chance of getting anything from this game.
That hope soon evaporated just minutes after the action restarted, as Mbuemo made it two in two against the East Londoners, beating Fabiański to open the scoring.
Moyes could see that his team needed a helping hand, so eight minutes later, Benrahma was given another chance to feature against his former club, as he took the place of Lanzini.
Things were to get worse for the travelling contingent on sixty four minutes when Thomas Frank’s men doubled their advantage through Ivan Toney, surely extending West Ham’s dismal recent run of form on the road.
The Hammers’ boss introduced another change as Nikola Vlašić replaced Michail Antonio.
Frank’s men were clearly the fresher of the two sides, having had four extra days to prepare for this game and they could have had more goals but fortunately for those in the away end, Mbuemo fired wide, while Sergi Canos saw his effort held onto by Fabiański.
West Ham only rediscovered their rhythm as three minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the ninety but Captain Declan Rice was off target with his effort, while Benrahma’s attempt only found the roof of the net.
It looked as if it was going to be a good weekend for West Ham with other results going in their favour but they failed to capitalize on the opportunity and remain in sixth place in the Premier League table.
They can now focus on the second-leg with Olympique Lyonnais and try to finish the job off in France and progress to the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night.