In fact, Christian Eriksen returned to the field on February 14, when he played in a friendly match with Southend. He ran 60 minutes and provided an assist for Josh da Silva (Brentford won 3-2, Da Silva scored a hat-trick). And already on February 21, Eriksen gave two assists in a friendly match with the Rangers (2:2). Find best 22Bet sports betting odds on 22Bet website.
“Every day it becomes easier and easier to work in training, my debut is not far off. Let’s see what happens. My first goal is to get in shape, be able to play as many minutes as possible in the Premier League and prove that I can still play football well. I want to help Brentford stay in the league,” Eriksen told the club’s website.
Before the game against Newcastle, Brentford manager Thomas Frank confirmed that Eriksen is ready: “Yes, he will be in the line-up and take the field. This is a big day for all of us and especially for Christian and his family.” The team really needs a surge – after a vigorous start, Brentford slowed down: only one victory in the last 11 matches of the Premier League.
The updated Newcastle, on the contrary, is rising. Eddie Howe’s team has already left the relegation zone and approached Brentford on a six-game unbeaten streak.
Without Eriksen and Ivan Toni, who recently recovered from injury and was also on the bench, Brentford created nothing in attack in the first half: 0.00 xG to Newcastle’s 1.38 according to Understat. In addition, da Silva retired in the first minutes – he fouled rudely.
Eddie Howe’s team, even without Saint-Maximin, Wilson and Trippier, staged a shooting for David Rye – 13 shots on goal in the first 45 minutes. Especially cool was Ryan Fraser, who became the leader of Newcastle in terms of creation at the end of the match: 1 assist, 7 passes under the blow, 17 with advancement, 32 passes in someone else’s final third.
Brentford’s biggest problems were defending from flank attacks, as well as crossing into the wrong half of the field. Back in the days of Steve Bruce, Premier League fans were used to Newcastle defending deep even against table rivals. But now the situation is different – Eddie Howe is slowly putting pressure on the team. And in this particular match, Newcastle surpassed Brentford in intensity of pressure: 5.63 passes allowed per defensive action versus 11.62.
One of Eriksen’s strengths is his ability to break pressure and pressure with smart advance passes. At the 52nd minute, Eriksen’s return officially took place, he came out instead of Matthias Jensen. It is clear that in the first match one could hardly expect a gap from the midfielder – eight months without football, plus an uncomfortable 0:2 on the scoreboard. But in general, Eriksen improved Brentford’s possession and even organized a couple of promising attacks. Understat credited him with one key pass. Good for a start.
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