Bruno Guimaraes scored his first two goals of the season as the Brazilian’s magnificent performance helped Newcastle to a thoroughly convincing 5-1 win over an error-prone Brentford at St James’ Park.
The Magpies went into the game unbeaten at home since April and were never truly in danger of having that record snatched away from them by Thomas Frank’s side.
Brentford’s only threatening moments came when Bryan Mbeumo had an early goal disallowed and Ivan Toney scored a penalty, which made the score 2-1 and briefly gave the Londoners hope.
But Newcastle, who scored twice in the first half through Guimaraes and Jacob Murphy, quickly snuffed out the visitors’ fightback through another strike from the Brazil midfielder, after which a late Almiron effort and an Ethan Pinnock own goal put the shine on a commanding victory.
How Brentford were makers of their own downfall
Brentford arrived on Tyneside with the aim of ending a run of two games without so much as a goal yet alone a win, but only had themselves to blame after making a series of mistakes that made defeat inevitable.
The Bees thought things had started well when Mbeumo’s shot beat Nick Pope a little too easily but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside against Toney in the build-up.
Newcastle quickly established control of the game after that early wake-up call and didn’t take long to turn that dominance into goals, when Guimaraes guided a header past David Raya from Kieran Trippier’s excellent first-time cross (21).
Raya may have had no chance with Newcastle’s first goal but he was entirely culpable for their second after passing the ball straight to Callum Wilson, who unselfishly squared for Murphy to score his first goal in over a year (28).
Toney gave Brentford hope when he converted a penalty after Dan Burn’s needless handball (54) but that goal against his former club was quickly cancelled out by Guimaraes, who pounced on an Aaron Hickey error to drill a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area (56).
Brentford never looked like mounting a comeback after that blow and instead self-destructed. Pinnock marked his first appearance since April by selling Raya short with a poor backpass that allowed Almiron to score the hosts’ fourth, before sending Joelinton’s cross into the back of his own net to cap a miserable afternoon for his side.
Guimaraes is beating heart of Howe’s impressive side
Bruno Guimaraes quickly became a fan favourite at St James’ Park after arriving from Lyon in the middle of last season and it’s not hard to see why.
Since he made his Premier League debut in February, no Newcastle player has scored more than his seven goals from midfield – a clear indication of his importance to Eddie Howe’s impressive side.
Against Brentford, Guimaraes’ two goals stole the show but he produced an all-round performance, leading from the front with and without the ball.
Only Kieran Trippier – who also produced another outstanding performance from right-back – had more touches of the ball among Newcastle’s players, while Guimaraes’ 43 accurate passes led the way for his side.
Guimaraes was also a thorn in Brentford’s side when they were able to take the ball off him. Apart from Sven Botman – who is finally making a spot in Newcastle’s defence his own – no player on either side won possession on more occasions or won more duels than the Brazilian.
While £40m is far from an insignificant sum, Newcastle will view the fee they paid for Guimaraes earlier this year as a bargain, given he has been at the heart of so much of the progress the club have made on the field following the Saudi-backed takeover a year ago.
Howe: Guimaraes goal changed complexion of game
Howe paid tribute to the performance of Guimaraes, saying his second goal helped to grab the momentum back from Brentford just when it looked as though they were ready to drag themselves back into the game.
“He’s top quality in every aspect – his personality, his performances on the pitch,” said Howe. “I thought he was outstanding today.
“The game was in the balance at 2-1. The momentum had swung in their direction but thankfully only momentarily. Bruno’s strike from distance was a really good one at a key moment in the game.
“We had a bit of a slow start to the game but we responded to that and I think the first goal changed the complexion of the game.
“We managed to maintain our intensity throughout the game so I’m really pleased.”
Frank: Officials made right decision over Mbeumo goal
Thomas Frank said Newcastle’s win was “fair and square” and backed the decision to disallow Mbeumo’s goal.
“We know the first goal in a match is very important,” said the Brentford boss when asked about the strike that was chalked off after Toney’s offside, despite the striker not touching the ball.
“That said, when we lose 5-1 we shouldn’t lose time on that. I think it was offside actually, so I think it was correctly disallowed.”
Frank admitted it was tough to “stay calm” after witnessing his side suffer such a heavy defeat and blamed them for the majority of goals they conceded.
He said: “That’s the most difficult part of being a football manager – after you lose a game, when you lose the way we did today, and trying to control your emotions and stay calm.
“Newcastle won fair and square. It’s very difficult to win a football match if you make four big mistakes – two huge build-up mistakes, an own goal and a mistake on the set piece.
“Fair play to Newcastle but it’s a relatively simple thing to do, to follow a man.
“We live by the philosophy that we win or learn, so we definitely learned a lot today.”
England World Cup squad watch
Nick Pope – who is battling for the back-up goalkeeper in the England squad – may have been on the winning side but did not enjoy his finest afternoon in a Newcastle shirt.
The Toon No 1 was fortunate to see Bryan Mbeumo’s goal ruled out after allowing it to power through his attempted save, while he flapped at a cross to concede a needless corner and nearly lost the ball when racing out of his area during a nervous few minutes in the second half.
Kieran Trippier once again shone from right-back, claiming an assist with a glorious cross for Bruno Guimaraes’ first goal to strengthen Gareth Southgate’s argument for taking him to the World Cup.
Callum Wilson was frustrated to miss a good opening in the second half but did register the assist for Jacob Murphy’s goal as he makes a late bid for a seat on the plane to Qatar.
Ivan Toney, one of Wilson’s rivals to back-up Harry Kane, did score from the spot but was otherwise kept quiet at his former club.
The deadline for Gareth Southgate to name his squad is October 19. The World Cup begins on November 20, with England’s first game against Iran on November 21.
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