Opinion very much divided as rumours persist and Boro’ await

12 Jan

Brentford take on Middlesbrough tonight, hoping to put the cup defeat to Walsall behind them and get back to winning ways in the league. An obvious statement, perhaps, but anybody who bore witness to just how below par Saturday was, where we were outplayed for huge swathes of the game, will be fully aware that a reaction is needed. Moreso, with a game against play off rivals Burnley just three days after this one.

I mentioned in yesterday’s article that Boro’ have beaten us five times in the last 16 months. What I didn’t realise was that they’ve actually done us the last 8 times out of 8. Whilst, understandably, some people are calling Middlesbrough a bogey a team, I’m not having a bar of that. The only bogeys I care about are the ones up my nose, with a heavy cold putting attendance tonight in the balance.

pen 1-0 boro

View from the terrace – Middlesbrough proved tough opponents last season

Besides, it may be horribly clichéd but you are only as good as your last result. Ahhhh. Yes. Walsall. But that was the cup, where we played with a black hole in the centre of the park, sucking all life and creation into a morass of nothingness.   In the league, the Bees have recorded 5 wins and a draw out of our last 7 (seven) games at Griffin Park.

Yet, tonight provides a real problem for Head Coach Dean Smith in one respect. Who does, or can, he pick to start for Brentford? With the flurry of transfer rumours doing the rounds might his hands be tied? Tarks keen to go to Burnley and Toums asking for a transfer request being the pick of the pops yesterday.

Could wandering minds impact performance?

Both players were sorely missed at the weekend. Toumani in particular. It is a tremendous insult to either player to suggest they’d give any less than 100% yet, at the same time, if (and it is a huge IF) somebody would rather be elsewhere then will the absolute focus be there? Will they stick their foot into that 50/50 challenge?

I’m not a professional footballer and I don’t have the answer to that question. I’d hope that once you pull on the red and white shirt, all else goes out of the window. Regardless, I’d be starting with Toums, Tarks and Alan Judge unless injury or orders from a higher power than Dean Smith said otherwise.

Given Alan’s appearance from the bench on Saturday, I’m sure we’ll see him from the off. As for the other two, let’s just hope ‘the injuries’ that caused them to miss the cup game have cleared up.

The middle of the park was a mess on Saturday. If Swift or McEachran start I’ll be really quite frustrated tonight. P*ss poor performance should not be rewarded with another chance. Josh, for all his potential, was off the pace whilst Swift is fast becoming the new Jonathan Douglas. Don’t let the odd goal and surging run disguise the lack of impact when things are against and defensive frailty when the ball is going the other way. Even Dougie would stick his foot in from time to time.

And the reason I mention our former man was an article by West London’s Premier Journalist, Tom Moore, looking to analyse the reasons for our cup exit. Fair play to Get West London for running an opinion piece – always much more interesting than a ‘double transfer swoop’ scoop that turns to nothing.

As I said myself on Saturday night, it was the sort of game crying out for Sam Saunders. That’s a point also picked up on by Tom, with him actually going one further to suggest this could be the beginning of the end for the mercurial wing wizard. I hope not but fear he could be right.

Where I don’t agree is in his comments regarding Dougie. “While it is clear that Douglas was difficult to handle off the pitch, what he brought on the pitch is still being missed.

He would mop up attacks and charge forward, turning Brentford’s 4-2-3-1 formation into one more akin to a 4-1-3-2 and Douglas scored eight goals last season”

Sorry Tom. I respect your opinion but on this one I feel you’re wrong. It’s an emotive subject, for sure. Dougie was a hero to many and nobody could deny the amount of goals he scored.

But it was this charging and chasing forward, especially last season, that saw us cruelly exposed time and again. You didn’t need to be a genius to know we’d be done by the long ball over the top of the midfield or see the hole that he kept leaving. That’s without any of the ‘off field’ issues that are alluded to. Even when he came back with Ipswich Town, Jota was the man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A great player at his peak, Dougie’s time had definitely come and, for me, it’s less a case of missing him as more needing the new breed to step up and do what they are supposedly able to.

Douglas hits jota post Ipswich

Dougie – last seen on Beesplayer giving Jota a ‘girly slap’

For me, and I may be in a minority, one of the few good things that happened under Marinus was to end ‘the cult of Douglas’. Despite his longevity and past heroics, at the end it felt as though he was keeping his place on reputation rather than ability. I do wonder what might have happened had Warbs given things a bit of a shake up towards the end of last season.

Still, that’s all conjecture and why we love football so much. Wallowing in the memories of past legends with the beauty of rose tinted glasses isn’t going to change what our current, youthful, team do. Or don’t. One person’s hero is another’s villain. Poor Harlee Dean certainly seems to be the fall guy in that position, amongst some supporters, this season.

We could talk about this for hours. That’s what podcasts are for.  Perhaps instead  a topic for Beesotted over the coming days? For now, I’m only interested in the current team and tonight’s performance against Middlesbrough.

If Dean looks to crowd the midfield again, let’s just hope they don’t trip over each other’s feet and, likewise, look to get the ball forward. We’ve got as tough opponents as you could expect in the league and it’s going to be hard. Very hard.

On the flipside, if ever a reaction from the previous game was needed then it is now. And what a team it would be to give it against.

See you there. Hopefully.

Nick Bruzon

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4 Responses to “Opinion very much divided as rumours persist and Boro’ await”

  1. Roderic January 12, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Following his, ultimately, ignominious treatment by BFC, Douglas was snapped up for Ipswich, by an astute manager and is a valued first team regular, who has been scoring goals; a has been? He was an intimidating persona in midfield for opponents, who now face a couple of weedy kids. Let’s be real, BFC need Middlesborough to have a very bad evening, to squeeze a point. If T and D leave for fresher pastures, the lightweight signings of the current season, will be cruelly exposed. D, still values the special qualities of a sorely missed manager, to travel to other end of the country to join forces; this speaks volumes.

  2. RebelBee January 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

    Agree with a lot of what you said here, and especially after the Walsall defeat. Can’t completely agree on Douglas though. After trudging away from the Riverside in May I reluctantly concluded that to properly push on we needed to improve on JD and Toums in midfield. Clayton and Leadbitter ran all over them that night, and had the edge every time we met. But we haven’t improved – far from it. JD is doing well at Ipwsich and would’ve given us another decent season as we transitioned.

    His fall out with BFC saddened me, and the snidey whack on Jota wasn’t good to see either. I’d have loved for us to have improved the midfield so as not to look back, but imo he’d be more than useful in the current squad.

  3. Lanesra January 13, 2016 at 12:19 am #

    They can hide behind money ball , facts and stats.
    The club has one from serious challengers to making up the numbers
    Sadly as the spine of the team is removed we will be left with the johnny foreigners who are just here for the pay day. Lasse Vibe or Andre Gray ……. I know who I would pick. Vibe is not good enough to lace Grays boots.
    Sadly the demise of the club will only get worse as the spine of the team is removed, expect to see the following leave in January or end of season :Alan Judge, Toumani Diagouraga, James Tarkowski, Harlee Dean, Nico Yennaris and Jota.
    Swift goes back to Chelsea and we are left with the imports who just are not good enough.
    Have to agree Roderic, the money ball light weight signings are not good enough and where we may finish mid table this season, sadly next year without the British players we will be struggling to stay up.

    • nickbruzon January 13, 2016 at 7:30 am #

      I thought we played well last night and plying the ‘johnny foreigner’ card is not territory I’m going to go near or subscribe to.
      Being British does not make you good by default and is grossly unfair to the likes of Jota, Sergi Canos and Max Colin.
      We’ve made some questionable signings for sure and I’d include the extension of Swift’s loan in that – he is powder puff and needs to man up, fast

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