Brentford vs Norwich City. Premier League.
Gtech Community StadiumAttendance16,837.
Match report and free highlights as Norwich secure first Premier League win of the season thanks to Mathias Normann strike and Teemu Pukki penalty; Brentford lose fourth game in a row for the first time since December 2016
Saturday 6 November 2021 20:04, UK
Norwich collected their first Premier League win of the season to give their survival hopes a boost as first-half goals from Mathias Normann and Teemu Pukki from the penalty spot secured a crucial 2-1 victory at Brentford.
But, in an unexpected twist following the win, Norwich announced just hours after the victory that they had parted company with manager Daniel Farke.
Explaining the decision, Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber said: "In continuing to demand the very best for our football club, this decision was not an easy one.
"I know how determined Daniel and his staff were to succeed at this level, but we feel that now is the right time for a change to give ourselves the best opportunity of retaining our Premier League status."
Norwich withstood a second-half onslaught from the Bees, who found a route back into the game when Rico Henry met Saman Ghoddos' cross (60) but the hosts were frustrated by an inspired Tim Krul, whose point-blank save from Christian Norgaard consigned Brentford to a fourth straight league defeat.
Even after the victory, Norwich remain deep in the relegation zone five points adrift of 17th-placed Leeds.
Brentford drop to 14th ahead of the weekend's remaining fixtures.
Brentford: Fernandez (6), Jorgensen (5), Jansson (6), Pinnock (6), Canos (6), Janelt (5), Norgaard (5), Jensen (6), Henry (7), Mbeumo (7), Toney (5).
Subs: Goode (6), Forss (5), Ghoddos (7).
Norwich: Krul (8), Aarons (7), Gibson (7), Omobamidele (8), Williams (7), Dowell (7), Normann (8), Lees-Melou (7), McLean (7), Rashica (7), Pukki (7).
Subs: Sargent (6), Giannoulis (6), Idah (n/a).
Man of the match: Tim Krul.
Norwich arrived in the capital with a remarkable record of not having won in their previous 25 Premier League visits to London. For a club with a mantra of being "on the ball", having just 2.6 per cent touches of it inside the opposition box during their opening 10 league games wasn't what the owners were after.
Farke was understandably under pressure ahead of the game; the Canaries finished 10 points ahead of Brentford in winning the Championship last season but went into this game trailing their opponents by the same margin, despite drafting in a league-high 10 permanent signings and another four on loan deals with the proceeds from the £38m Emi Buendia sale.
Brentford had lost their previous three league games and were still coming to terms with the loss of goalkeeper David Raya for at least four months due to a knee injury, but the hosts made a bright start as Mathias Jensen's shot was diverted wide by Ivan Toney.
Toney was somewhat fortunate only to be shown a yellow card when he caught the Achilles of Andrew Omobamidele, however, it was from his failed clearance that Norwich struck the first blow.
Milot Rashica was found in space down the left and after Normann collected the loose ball, the Norwegian sauntered forward and dragged his shot low into the bottom corner for the Canaries' first away Premier League goal this season.
Bryan Mbeumo returned to the starting line-up for Brentford in their home game against Norwich.The forward was an unused substitute for last weekend's defeat at Burnley after a hamstring niggle. He was joined by Vitaly Janelt in the Bees' starting XI.
Norwich made three changes with Brandon Williams and Pierre Lees-Melou starting. Ben Gibson was back from suspension for the visitors while Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour was named on the bench again.
Farke's side managed to scrape together 21 points the last time they were in the top flight, but their travelling supporters were enjoying themselves on their return to west London, a fortnight on from their chastening 7-0 defeat at Chelsea.
Brentford's problems mounted when Mathias Jorgensen was forced off moments later, but it was from his replacement Charlie Goode's long throw that Thomas Frank's men came close to a leveller. Ethan Pinnock's flick-on landed at the feet of Norgaard, who swivelled and shot only to be denied by the feet of Krul.
Having absorbed a period of pressure, which also saw Pinnock flash a near-post header over, Norwich doubled the away goal tally for the season in one afternoon.
Normann turned provider this time as his through-ball arrived at Pukki's feet off the ball of his heels, and as Goode looked to make a last-ditch challenge, he could only succeed in bringing the Finnish striker to the ground.
Referee Jarred Gillett pointed to the spot and spared Goode stiffer punishment as the last man given his clear attempt to win the ball, but Pukki sent Alvaro Fernandez the wrong way with his spot-kick.
You have to go back to December 2016 in the Championship under Dean Smith for the last time Brentford lost four games in a row, but Frank sought to address repeating that feat by introducing Ghoddos at the break in place of Vitaly Janelt.
His side nearly fell further behind, however, when Pukki was again found in space inside the Brentford box following a fine solo run from Brandon Williams only to fire his low shot a yard wide.
From the restart, Brentford thought they had reduced the deficit when Toney rose to flick on Pontus Jansson's long diagonal but after Mbeumo's shot beat Krul via a deflection off Max Aarons, VAR Lee Mason intervened to rule it out for offside.
Frank was again berating his side's misfortune when Krul made a brilliant save to deny Norgaard from three yards out from Goode's flick, but Brentford established a foothold in the game on the hour-mark.
Substitute Ghoddos was afforded too much space down the right to cross and Henry was totally unmarked to prod home a cushioned volley from an acute angle.
Norwich had ridden their luck and had a long half an hour to hang on, but Frank smacked his thighs in despair again when Canos cut inside Williams having collected Mbeumo's cross only to be thwarted again by Krul.
Farke's team were on the home straight now, and they may have regained their two-goal lead when substitute Josh Sargent was denied at the far post by a brilliant challenge from Jensen to deny a certain goal, but it would not prove costly as Norwich finally could celebrate a long-overdue win.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank: "I'd say it's a poor run of results rather than a poor run of form. We've performed very well in three of the last games in which we've lost. Against Chelsea, Leicester and Norwich. In the second half, I thought we destroyed Norwich and then we conceded a goal where Normann suddenly turned into Messi, beating a few players and then scoring with his weaker foot.
"But we still stayed in the game so when we perform like we've done in these games, I see no reason to change system. I would only change things if I felt the need to. We changed the system in the second half with three up front so we did everything to win the game. We had a top mentality and if we keep doing this, the law of statistics tells me we will be fine.
"I will take one game at a time, and if you get three points today or at Chelsea, it's the same number of points so you can't think in terms of taking points of those you imagine will end up close to you in the league.
"At this moment in time, I hate losing, I'm devastated and my body is burning. I'm very irritated so it's important I get asked good questions as I just hate losing. When I watch the video back on Monday, I know it will be more calming as I feel we are on the right track. It will be impossible if we don't collect more points if we keep performing as we are. All the xG tables tell me that it will change so we just have to keep the faith and the results will turn around."
Speaking before news of his dismissal, Norwich boss Daniel Farke: "We are there finally. It's been a long wait and after a tough start it's great to get the first win under our belts. It's great for the mood, the confidence and the self-belief. The lads deserve to have this winning feeling back in the dressing room.
"There's no replacement for wins for the self-belief and let's be honest they're all young lads. I think it's the youngest Premier League XI so it's not easy for them. Everyone is criticising them so they deserve this. We've got a great team spirit.
"Last season, we were winning game after game but the fans weren't able to celebrate with us so also for them it's a great celebration. They've had to be very patient. Everyone was so committed today to bring home the three points.
"Every game at this level is about fine margins but the key to today was going back to our DNA, keeping the ball and making short passes. We had to defend in the second half but we still had the chance of scoring a third in the second half."
Sky Sports' Ben Grounds at the Brentford Community Stadium:
"As manager Daniel Farke strode over to embrace his supporters for the final time unbeknownst to him, the German remained under no illusions of what this hard-fought victory in west London must represent for the club.
"This can only be the start for Norwich, who ended a 20-game winless Premier League sequence straddling two seasons to kickstart their latest quest to show they belong at this level. Farke thumped his chest to conduct the celebrations as he headed down the tunnel at the Brentford Community Stadium, and while his sacking later on Saturday naturally came as a shock, Norwich must regroup. They showed here they are already in survival mode.
"The 45-year-old had said in the build-up that he would ignore the 'rotten tomatoes' and press on undeterred at Carrow Road but his successor must now build on this result.
"This was not quite last-chance saloon for Norwich, and while it is a bittersweet victory for Farke, it silences those murmurs that Derby's wretched record of 11 points in the 2007/08 season was about to be eclipsed.
"Norwich's next three games read Southampton (home), Wolves (home) and Newcastle (away). This spirited victory must act as a springboard to further points in those games if momentum is to be maintained."
Make no mistake, there were several big performances from those in yellow and green, but their first Premier League win since overcoming Leicester in February 2020 was always going to require collective heroics.
And behind the bravery of Mathias Normann in midfield and brilliance of the returning Ben Gibson and Andrew Omobamidele in defence, Norwich had Tim Krul.
The Dutchman gave signal of his inspired form with a fine save from Canos after a quarter of an hour. Brentford knew then they were in for a long afternoon in seeking to cancel out Normann's early opener, made harder when Goode was forced into conceding a penalty.
Krul's reflex stop from Norgaard later in the contest is certainly a candidate for save of the season, and he will require a few more afternoons like this if Norwich are going to stave off relegation. Following his mistake for Rodrigo's strike in Leeds' win at Carrow Road last weekend, this was a response full of character.
On Krul's display, Farke said: "I don't have to say anything about Tim as he deserves all the praise. He always wants to be perfect and wants to carry the team all on his own at times. He likes carrying the weight on his shoulders and you can see the emotions he plays with. It's a sign of his quality and his character."
Brentford travel to face Newcastle at St James' Park after the international break on Saturday November 20; kick-off 3pm. Norwich host Southampton at Carrow Road on the same day and at the same time.