Brentford 0-0 Tottenham: Unimaginative Spurs hand Arsenal the advantage in top-four race

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Tottenham stuttered to a 0-0 draw at Brentford on Saturday, handing bitter rivals Arsenal the advantage in the race for fourth in the Premier League.

Arsenal defeated Manchester United 3-1 earlier in the day to open a three-point lead over Antonio Conte's men, and Spurs' inability to follow suit prevented them going ahead of the Gunners on goal difference.

Spurs offered little attacking threat during a first half that Brentford enjoyed the better of, with their set-piece prowess causing the visitors problems and bringing about a great chance as Ivan Toney hit the woodwork.

The contest was more open in general after the interval but still the best opportunities fell the way of Brentford, who again hit the frame of the goal through Toney and only failed to clinch a deserved win due to lacking the finishing touch.

Brentford 0-0 Tottenham
Brentford 0-0 Tottenham

Thomas Frank's side looked fired up from the off and nearly took an early lead when Vitaly Janelt robbed Ryan Sessegnon before teeing up Bryan Mbeumo, whose shot was deflected agonisingly wide.

It was from corners where Brentford posed a more consistent threat, however, with Toney's runs to the back post a regular nuisance.

But their best opportunity arrived when Toney waited centrally for a corner delivery, rising highest and heading against the crossbar.

A brief Spurs improvement after half-time did not amount to much as Brentford were soon in the ascendancy again, Christian Eriksen seeing a 20-yard effort deflect just wide.

From the resulting corner, Pontus Jansson had a header cleared off the line and Eriksen – facing his former club for the first time since returning to the Premier League – was denied by Hugo Lloris.

Spurs had another fortunate escape right at the end, as Toney crashed a header against the upright.

What does it mean? – North London derby victory or bust for Spurs

The race for the final Champions League spot had already looked likely to be decided by the derby on May 12, so nothing has changed there.

But with this result, Spurs have fallen behind Arsenal and – assuming it is as you were heading into the derby – they will need to beat the Gunners to move ahead of them.

Perhaps it will not be as clear-cut as that, but there is little doubt that this result is a blow for Conte.

Eriksen relishes the spotlight

Playing against former team-mates and old friends, Eriksen once again showed his quality. His excellence at dead-ball situations helped Brentford cause havoc, with his four key passes at least two more than anyone else on the pitch.

With reports suggesting he could be heading back to Spurs next season, this performance suggested he certainly still have something to offer – those Tottenham fans who serenaded him at the end clearly want him back.

Sessegnon endures difficulties on his return

Sessegnon had become something of a favourite of Conte's before his injury. Back in the line-up here, the youngster did not look sharp.

His final ball was consistently poor, failing to supply a single key pass, and he was unsurprisingly withdrawn 16 minutes from time.

Key Opta Facts:

– Only Chelsea (18) have won more points in Premier League London derbies than Brentford (15) this season, while the Bees have conceded fewer goals in such games than any other side (7).

– No side has won fewer points in Premier League London derbies this season than Tottenham (10), while they have scored fewer goals in such games than any other side (9).

– Tottenham have failed to register a shot on target in a match for the fourth time in the Premier League this season, twice as many as any other side.

– Brentford have kept four clean sheets in their last five Premier League home games, including each of their last three in a row. They had recorded just two shutouts in their first 12 home league games this season.

– Spurs have now had two 0-0 draws in the Premier League this season, having had just one 0-0 last season. They last had more in a single campaign in 2015-16 (3).

What's next?

Spurs host Leicester City a week on Sunday, while Brentford – who are virtually assured of safety – go to faltering Manchester United the following day.

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