A goal, a goal is all we need…

23 Nov

It’s only Wednesday. The interminable wait until Brentford host Birmingham City on Saturday continues. If anything, it is a wait made all the more painful by our previous outings – the lacklustre defeat to Fulham followed up by Brentford going down by the odd goal in 5 at Blackburn.

In the understatement of the decade, Dean was quoted after that one as saying that he didn’t expect us to concede the goals we did. “I felt this was a place that we could come and score goals. Unfortunately, I didn’t expect us to concede the goals we did”, said Dean etc etc.

Just for good measure, we got a graphic of this one too.

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Whilst it seems obvious, and the gut reaction was one of contemplating whether this was even an act of parody, thinking about it more I think I get what he is trying to say. The goals were all sloppy, all unexpected and all out of character (other cliches are available). Indeed, of our 17 Championship games so far, 6 have seen us keeping clean sheets whilst it would be fair to say that Daniel Bentley hit the ground running between the sticks.

Further, only 7(seven) Championship teams have conceded less than our 19 goals over that period. That said, the left back situation is one I’d like to see cleared up sooner than lately. Nobody can doubt the international class and calibre of Andreas Bjelland but he is still a man pressed into an unfamiliar role. Roll on the return of Rico Henry and then the hope he lives up to all his plaudits . No pressure there.

It is up front where perhaps the situation is more interesting and different to any of our previous seasons playing at this level. In our first Championship campaign, Andre Gray was our top scorer in the league (16) but was ably supported by Alex Pritchard, Jota and even Jonathan Douglas who all weighed in with 13, 10 and 8 goals respectively . Last time out, it was another shared load. But for injury, who knows where Alan Judge would have stopped – he’d got 14 league goals up until that horrific broken leg. Lasse Vibe ended on the same figure whilst Scott Hogan, Sergi Canos and John Swift all managed 7 (seven)

Granted, we’re only just over a third of the way through the campaign but it doesn’t seem to me as though the same pattern is being repeated this time around. Rather than the shared workload, we are reliant on one man. And what a man !

Goal machine Scott Hogan is miles out in front with 10 league goals already. He’s picked up the baton from where he left off last season and is currently just a few behind Newcastle United’s Dwight Gayle in the race for leading Championship scorer. But after that it is a  case of slim pickings in the league. Centre back John Egan is next with 3, Josh Clarke and Lasse Vibe 2 before a handful of players have one apiece.

scott-hogan

Can one man do it all on his own?

It’s great that we have a free scoring centre forward. His timing and technique are clear for all to see. The question now is whether he gets the support that has been so much a part of our game over the last few campaigns ? Whilst, generally, we’re keeping it tight at the back up front we’ve drawn a blank 4 times out of the last 7 (etc) games . Is this a blip? Are teams getting wise to us? Does Dean have a plan B for getting the goals? Does he even need one?

At the end of the day, Clive, I’m just the numpty on the terrace. I’ve no sort of tactical insight and what I know about running a football team you could write on the back of a matchbox. But for a club who, whether rightly or wrongly are held up as one for whom statistical analysis is a a key part of our make up, those are a few for thought.

I’m genuinely not sure which way will it go against promotion chasing Birmingham City. Will the goal machine keep on firing? Could somebody else get their name on the scoresheet? Will it be another blank for the Bees? The permutations in my head keep veering wildly between the three and I can’t call it at this juncture.

However, with our record against the Blues a less than favourable one in recent seasons W0 D1 L3), not to mention a fair amount of historic rivalry, I’d be well happy with a gritty 1-0. Hogan.

We can worry about the bigger picture after that.

Nick Bruzon

7 Responses to “A goal, a goal is all we need…”

  1. RebelBee November 23, 2016 at 10:00 am #

    Midfield & left back are the areas of concern right now. We don’t win big 50/50’s & don’t produce enough shots or dangerous balls into SH. Fix the midfield & the rest will function a lot better.

    Time to beat Brum – been way too long!

  2. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) November 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    Not been able to help but think for some time as we have no recognised left back who is currently fit in the first time squad, why we still play with a system with a left back role. With an embarrassment of riches at centre half, perhaps we should have at least tried playing 3 centre halves with the full backs pushing up and see how we got on with that.

  3. ian west November 23, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

    its about time brentford brought back jota from eibar where he cannot get a game and he was a fans favourite atb gp and he knows how to put in a good cross

    • Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) November 23, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

      I agree. Obviously we cant bring him back before January, but he is arguably our most technically gifted player. With Eibar not playing him it doesnt do him any good, and we need to protect what player assets we have. His continual exclusion from the Eibar squad will mean that his value is decreasing rapidly by the week, and for that reason alone we should consider bringing him back

  4. martin November 23, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

    hi nick main problem is winning the ball in the air in final third, need someone to knock ball down for our midfielders to run onto or flick ball on for Hogan to run onto. so many times long clearances come straight back at us, identifying a problem and fixing it is the biggest headache. at the moment we are establishing ourselves as a just above average championship side with a great owner and a great following, dean smith has great potential so not to far away.

  5. Paul H November 23, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    I know it’s all been said before,but we have come a long way it a short space of time,but when you look what teams are spending in the championship we are punching well above our weight

    • nickbruzon November 23, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      Nobody doubts we’ve made huge strides. But the team at the moment is set up very much in one direction – get the ball to Hogan and score.
      When he doesn’t , we struggle. That’s not a criticism – just an observation. For all we joked about Warburton’s plan B (or lack of) the observation is a fair one that we certainly don’t have that option at present

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