Watching Bournemouth going down 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield last night, the nagging thought was, “That could have been us”. Not in the losing part – Brentford have got four points from six this season – but in general Premiership participation. Whilst Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City fully deserve their chance to take on the likes of Liverpool as part of the regular campaign, it was yet another reminder of how close we came last season.
Good luck to them. Seriously. Eddie Howe’s team game a very good account of themselves although if I hear the phrases ‘offside’ and ‘controversial’ again it will already be too soon. But, equally, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of admiration for last season’s rivals at the reward for their success – a chance to mix it with the, so called, ‘elite’ of English football and have their games beamed all round the world. This, despite the inconvenience to fans of Monday night fixtures rather than the traditional Saturday afternoon.
However, there’s no point Brentford fans wishing life away on ‘if onlys’. We had our chance but couldn’t, quite, take it. Let’s move on and use it as the inspiration to go one better this time around.
The good news is that despite the horrendous slew of injuries we have suffered and the worst playing surface since, well, ever (I’ve seen better pitches on Dragon’s Den) the Bees have had an unbeaten start and lie third in the early season table. To put that in West London terms, we are three points clear, already, of both Fulham and the Loftus Road mob. Whilst the league is a marathon, not a sprint I’d rather start the campaign ahead of our rivals than behind them.
It’s a crying shame tonight’s game at home to Birmingham City has had to be postponed due to the aforementioned pitch. Momentum has been killed stone dead and it gives the other teams a chance to steal a march on us. Much like the aforementioned marathon analogy, I’ve always said that “points in the bag are better than games in hand” (just about the only two football clichés that are worth their salt) but with James Tarkowski being the latest addition to the casualty list after suffering that facial injury on Saturday, could this delay be a blessing in disguise?
Likewise, it gives new right back Maxime Colin extra time to bed in with his new team mates although then, of course, presents Marinus with a (nice) problem for Saturday’s trip to Burnley – does Alan McCormack make way for the new boy from Anderlecht?
Questions, questions, questions and, ultimately, not worth getting overly hung up about. The pitch is spannered, the game is off and there’s nothing else we can do about it except wait for the weekend.
The other selection poser Marinus may well be considering is that of Sam Saunders. The fan favourite played 70 (seventy) minutes of the development squad game on Monday, bagging a goal in the process. Could we see a return, even on the bench, for the perma tanned wing wizard?
As ever, Twitter was the place to be for the up to the minute news on that one. Along with the club breaking the news of his participation and sharing the latest action, Sam later responded to the question, “Could Turf Moor be Saunders Territory?”, with the update ”very much hoping so, hopefully have a good weeks training and let’s see”
You don’t need to be a genius to be aware of the effect Sam has on the team and the fans. His enthusiasm and ability are second to none – the Boxing Day game at home to Ipswich Town bring a prime example of what he can bring to the side.
Whilst places shouldn’t be given based on former glories (as Jonathan Douglas discovered) I’d love to see Sam back in the team on merit.
We’ve had a bright start to the league campaign.Could our enforced rest tonight actually help it get even better?