Premier League

Watford 1-2 Brentford: Player ratings as late Jansson header breaks Hornets hearts

Tom Gott
Brentford left it late
Brentford left it late / Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

Watford were pushed one step closer to Premier League relegation on Saturday as a 95th-minute header from Pontus Jansson earned Brentford a 2-1 win at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets were woeful in the first half and fell behind to a strike from Christian Norgaard, but they improved significantly after the break and deservedly levelled things up through Emmanuel Dennis.

Watford had plenty of chances to secure a winner, missing some sitters as the clock wound down, but it was Jansson who made the decisive impact as he headed home from a free-kick with what was almost the final touch of the game.

The two sides exchanged decent half-chances early on. Christian Eriksen curled wide for the visitors before Ismaila Sarr found himself unmarked in the box as he headed over David Raya's bar.

Watford had some nice moments but first blood was eventually drawn by Brentford. Ethan Pinnock's long throw was flicked on by Kristoffer Ajer and into the path of Norgaard, who couldn't miss from just a few yards out.

As the clock ticked on, Brentford began to take control of the game. Eriksen's strike from range went straight at Ben Foster, before some pinball from a corner ended with a volley from Vitaly Janelt that should have been better.

Ajer nearly fired into his own net with a really bizarre clearance. His falling volley whistled agonisingly past Raya's post, allowing Brentford to carry their deserved lead into the break.

The second half began with some nice possession by Watford, who were clearly playing with more energy and urgency but still lacked that cutting edge in front of goal.

The Hornets did get the ball in the back of the net ten minutes into the second half through Dennis, who celebrated for an age before he realised the offside flag had gone up. Fortunately, VAR came to his aid and confirmed the goal stood. Game on.

That goal rejuvenated Watford and Hodgson's men came roaring forward in search of another goal, while Brentford were still happily doing the same.

With a few minutes to go, a combination of Raya and the crossbar came to Brentford's aid as a Dennis free-kick threatened to snatch the win for Watford.

The woodwork would again thwart Watford before the final whistle. Imran Louza fired wide when faced with an open goal after Josh King rounded Foster and struck the post, with Watford's luck simply not in.

To make matters worse, they would be made to pay for that profligacy as an Eriksen free-kick landed right on the head of Jansson, who powered home his effort to snatch all three points.

Watford vs Brentford player ratings

1. Watford (4-3-3)

Emmanuel Dennis
Dennis bagged a huge goal / Luke Walker/GettyImages

GK: Ben Foster - 6/10 - A handful of solid saves but struggled to deal with Brentford's crosses.

RB: Kiko Femenia - 6/10 - A really dangerous cross which nearly led to an own goal from Ajer.

CB: Christian Kabasele - 5/10 - Looked a little off it. Indicative of Watford's whole season.

CB: Samir - 6/10 - Put in a decent shift to deal with Toney's aerial threat.

LB: Hassane Kamara - 5/10 - Mbeumo got in behind him a few times but nothing too fatal.

DM: Imran Louza - 5/10 - Poor in the tackle and failed to offer much cover for his defenders.

CM: Juraj Kucka - 8/10 - Put in a real shift. His energy and drive absolutely changed the game.

CM: Moussa Sissoko - 6/10 - Lacked quality on the ball in the first half but played with significantly more energy after the break.

RW: Ismaila Sarr - 5/10 - A comically poor first half but sorted himself out after the break.

ST: Joao Pedro - 6/10 - The odd classy moment but his quality in front of goal was lacking.

LW: Emmanuel Dennis - 6/10 - Got himself in a few nice positions and eventually made that count with a nice finish shortly after the interval.

SUB: Josh King (84' for Pedro) - N/A

SUB: Tom Cleverley (84' for Kucka) - N/A

SUB: Craig Cathcart (87' for Femenia) - N/A

2. Brentford (4-3-3)

Rico Henry
Henry had some excellent moments / Luke Walker/GettyImages

GK: David Raya - 6/10 - A semi-busy second half but dealt with almost everything.

RB: Kristoffer Ajer - 6/10 - Good assist for the opener but very lucky not to have scored an own goal.

CB: Pontus Jansson - 8/10 - Too physical for Pedro. Kept the young striker relatively quiet before making the decisive impact late on.

CB: Ethan Pinnock - 6/10 - A great long throw for the opener but hobbled off after 20 minutes through injury.

LB: Rico Henry - 8/10 - Some outstanding challenges to keep Brentford in control of this game,

DM: Christian Norgaard - 7/10 - Another classy performance and the simplest of goals.

CM: Vitaly Janelt - 6/10 - Not his best game, but not his worst.

CM: Christian Eriksen - 7/10 - His vision and creativity give Brentford a whole new edge. Really dangerous from set-pieces even before the eventual winner.

RW: Bryan Mbeumo - 6/10 - Got into some nice positions but couldn't make them count.

ST: Ivan Toney - 5/10 - A little sloppy in front of goal and couldn't always compete with Jansson.

LW: Yoane Wissa - 6/10 - A few good moments before being replaced by Ghoddos.

SUB: Mads Bech Sorensen (21' for Pinnock) - 6/10 - Had a lot of work to do after replacing Pinnock early on.

SUB: Saman Ghoddos (65' for Wissa) - 5/10 - Didn't get into the game.

SUB: Mathias Jensen (74' for Janelt) - 6/10 - Nothing spectacular in his short spell on the pitch.