EPL

Brandon Williams chooses life, not strife, in Christian Eriksen's eventful first start since heart trauma

By Sports Desk March 05, 2022

Christian Eriksen was about to feel the full wrath of an affronted Brandon Williams, and then Norwich's on-loan Manchester United man took a second glance at who had hauled him down.

Just as Williams prepared to unleash fury the way of the offender, with whom he tumbled to the Carrow Road turf after a midfield tussle, he clocked it was Eriksen.

The man who nine months ago collapsed on the Parken Stadium pitch during Euro 2020, suffering a cardiac arrest from which he almost died.

So this was not the moment for rage, but for reality. It was a moment to choose life over strife, to drop the snarling attitude and show a forgiving side.

Waking up to the fact it had been far from a brutal challenge, Williams' scowl changed to a broad smile and he gave the Dane the warmest of hugs as they lay on the ground. Seconds later, both men were back on their feet, the game resuming. Rivals again. Still five minutes to play in the first half.

Eriksen went into referee Anthony Taylor's book, nonetheless. Moments later, the former Inter man had a shot blocked just outside the Brentford penalty area.

By half-time, Eriksen had produced the most successful passes by a Brentford player in the Norwich half (12) and played a team-high four crosses.

There is the possibility that Brentford have acquired a player who will be pivotal in their quest to survive this testing first season since promotion to the Premier League. Alternatively, it might not work out, but it did on Saturday, with Eriksen playing the full 90 minutes.

It was Ivan Toney's hat-trick, featuring two penalties, that saw Brentford to a 3-1 victory, but Eriksen was instrumental to the Bees stinging the Canaries.

It was his corner that led to Brentford's opening goal in the 32nd minute, with Eriksen credited with what Opta defines as a second assist – 'a pass/cross that is instrumental in creating a goal-scoring opportunity'.

The Dane's perfect inswinging delivery from the left was flicked on by Kristoffer Ajer for Toney to fire in at the far post.

Another Eriksen corner led to Brentford's second goal too, with Pontus Jansson impeded by the high boot of Ben Gibson as he went to head the dangerous delivery at goal.

Eriksen ended with team-highs in successful passes (38), passes attempted in the opposition half (27), crosses (8), touches (68) and even possession gained (8 - level with Vitaly Janelt).

It was all-action stuff. Brandon Williams was not alone in finding it rather life-affirming.

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