No fight, No clue, No nothing. Worst. Display. Ever (and that’s just Dean) as Bees go down at Chelsea.

29 Jan

Chelsea 4 Brentford 0 . Well played Chelsea. You can only beat what is put up in front of you and what comes next is by no means meant as either criticism, or over exuberant praise, of our hosts on Saturday. But that was atrocious.

An FA Cup scoreline most outsiders would have expected before kick off yet one which, with the players at Dean Smith’s disposal could have been so much closer. More to the point, with the players at Dean Smith’s disposal it should have been one which involved some passion and fight. Instead, he rolled over and had his belly tickled.

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Stat of the day going into this one..

The BBC match report has the highlights as does Match of the Day on the I-player, approximately an hour and nine minutes in. If you must do it to yourself, I’d suggest going with the latter option purely for Gaby Logan’s sub-Partridge introduction to the game “Two years ago Chelsea lost out to League One Bradford City in the Fourth round. Today’s opponents also started with ‘B R’ and ended in ‘Ford’ but could Brentford give the Premier League leaders another FA Cup thumping?

The answer was a categoric “No”.

It is said that games can hinge on a single moment. This one was the exact moment Dean Smith set up his team. Chelsea were never going to be at full strength with matches against Liverpool and Arsenal in the coming week. Even I could see that and my managerial experience has been limited to two games at the helm of the Brentford legends.(P2 W2 D0 L0. Just saying).

The only chance of getting anything out of this was to go for it from the off, get in their faces and then grind it out later on if needs be when Chelsea brought their big guns on.

Instead, we stuck to the five defenders and four midfielders in  a system totally devoid of any attacking intent. Tom Field was demoted to the bench. Jota and Josh Clarke sat along side him, with Scott Hogan helping make up the numbers. Wing backs without wings. I’ve seen more flare and width on a kipper tie. Brentford invited Chelsea to come at them and it was a tactical decision that was doomed to fail.

We will be going all-out to win the game” promised Dean on Thursday. His team and their tactics – a Marinus era display of sitting deep then passing it sideways and backwards rather than forwards – gave the impression that we would be going all out to sneak a turgid draw.

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Was this Dean’s game plan, left on the Stamford Bridge steps?

It was total exhibition stuff from Chelsea. Rather than Diego Costa, I was half expecting Antonio Conte to bring on the Harlem Globetrotters in the second half .

The opening forty-five was so abject from Brentford that the biggest cheer from the visiting fans came at half time with the news that Paul Hayes had put Wycombe 2-0 up at Spurs. Along with the likes of Aaron Pierre, Myles Weston and Sam Wood (Marcus Bean and Sam Saunders having to be content with a place on the bench) The Swans giving a perfect lesson in how to take on a below strength team at the business end of the Premier League in their own back yard.

I heard supporters berating Romaine Sawyers and Josh McEachran – claiming the latter had been more interested in his recent ‘golf photos’. Neither had great games, granted, but they were as much a product of the tactical decisions going on around them.

Tom Field was dropped. Why, Dean? Why? Even if he was as tired as you made out, at least start him for an hour then bring on Barbet for the defensive role once we are ahead. Given the line he’d spouted two weeks earlier about trusting his players in regards to ‘not picking’ Scott Hogan (because of course, that was your decision and not at all influenced) then why his sudden reversal? Tom had absolutely nailed that position in the last few months and this was as big a slap in the face as a manager/head coach (whatever) could deliver.

There was no attacking intent on the left. Barbet either too scared, or simply not allowed, to try and take it forward. No width on the right. Josh Clarke and Jota were both overlooked in favour of a 5-4-1 formation in which all 5 sat back and all 4 passed it sideways. And backwards. It was an open invitation for Chelsea to come at us. It was an invitation which required no RVSP and no second chance. It was an invitation which came with a party bag marked ‘goals’. Only Daniel Bentley and the linesman’s flag keeping the first half score respectable.

It was abundantly clear what was going to happen. Invite them on and pay the inevitable price.

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Pre kick off. Yet worse was to come. Much worse

Just look at the way the two managers/head coaches (whatever) performed. Smith, cutting a solitary figure standing motionless on the edge of his technical area. He was a man reverting to the same abject characteristics of his ill-fated predecessor, Marinus Dijkhuizen. He was a man displaying all the passion of a waterlogged stats graph and about as much technical ability.

His opposite number Antonio Conte was like a man possessed. A demented conductor, directing an orchestra of understudies. There he was, driving them on with every gesticulation. A man constantly encouraging his team and barking out orders. This, despite them being two up against a side whose sole purpose seemed to be ‘don’t lose’.

As for the Scott Hogan decision, who knows what was going on there? If there was any chance of taking anything out of the game he should have started. Or been dropped. There’s no room or place for wishy-washy nonsense. Whatever point either he or Dean are trying to prove at the moment is not in the best interests of this team.

The opening twenty minutes of the second period showed just what would happen if we decided to cross the half way line. Attacking the Shed end that housed the 6,000 Brentford fans we began the half the way we should have started the first.

And then it fizzled out as Chelsea started to play again.

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An impressive arena. A less than impressive performance

Only poor finishing and Dan Bentley had kept the scoreline vaguely respectable in that first period. With Romaine Sawyers (whose role yesterday eludes me) unable to go forward,  three static central midfielders passing it amongst themselves and the defence stretched (how can five men get stretched?) the only question was how many Chelsea would get. That it was only two, and eventually four, is a miracle in itself.

In Matthew we trust” , I wrote earlier this month. Well I stick by that. The problem being his trusted lieutenants. The players are there. The talent is there. The motivation and formation isn’t.

For gosh sake, I could have done a better job at motivating them and setting up yesterday . If that was a team designed to go ‘all-out to win the game’ (Dean’s words, not mine) then perhaps he needs a new dictionary or coaching manual.

We haven’t got a divine right to roll over anybody before us. Likewise, Chelsea are where they are for good reason. Roman’s roubles have allowed them to build a squad that is sweeping all before it in the Premier League. But if our ultimate fate was to lose, at least show a bit of passion. A bit of fight . Make a half-arsed attempt to try and get something out of the game instead of trying to chase it when it was already lost.

The most attacking intent shown by anybody vaguely connected with Brentford was from the paunchy geriatrics in the upper tier at full time, as a crazy punch up ensued amongst some agitated supporters.

Instead, we were left with the aforementioned stat of the day from Standard Sport still holding true. We’ve never had a better chance of putting this one to bed. Instead, there was no kapow from Dean Smith.

batman

Nick Bruzon

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18 Responses to “No fight, No clue, No nothing. Worst. Display. Ever (and that’s just Dean) as Bees go down at Chelsea.”

  1. Mark Hardy January 29, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    Brilliant assessment Nick – loved it (and I’m a bit short of ‘loved it’ s this morning!)
    You have to admire the loyalty and passion of our fans – even the ‘paunchy geriatrics’ at half-time – for not showing their feelings before yesterday’s humiliating, inept and totally abject performance.
    Neither Sawyers or Vibe would even get into my local pub team on their current performances. Why is the former right in the middle of what should be the Bees’ engine-room when he currently breaks up more than he creates?
    And PLEASE tell me what this ‘lone striker’ bit is all about when we have NO-ONE at the club (including Scotty) who can take the role on. If he wanted any further encouragement to move on, yesterday had to be it.
    Josh Clarke, Tom Field, Jota? Did it take a moron to work out they would have been the few players in a very average team to have given us some sort of chance from the start?
    Dean himself? Sorry mate…if that’s the best you could have done in a match of such importance to our pride…I THINK it’s time to move on!
    Villa on Tuesday…Brighton on Sunday? Can’t wait!

  2. Gordonbankole January 29, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    I realise it was Chelsea etc. etc., but yesterday’s display highlighted everything that’s wrong with the team at the moment.

    We are a very moderate team with a very moderate manager, who is assisted in his recruitment by two blokes who are not up to the job despite their brave pronouncements about finishing in the top six and strengthening in every transfer window.

    DS has one hell of a week coming up. If things go badly in the next two games, the pressure really does mount. He has absolutely no rapport with the fans whatsoever, but so far he has had quite an easy ride. Let’s face it, we have been absolute garbage for two-thirds of his tenure (averaging below a point a game and well beneath that if you take Jan-March last year) and this particular barren spell has been going on since the start of October. The team very much fits the mould of the manager – grey, dull and uninspiring.

    Where is the fight in the side? Where are the leaders? Where is the spirit? I just don’t see it. What’s the style of play (other than sideways-backwards-sideways-backwards-hoof)? This is not an enjoyable side to watch.

    DS threatened changes after Wigan. So what does he do? Drop the young lad and let all the other underachievers keep their places. Great, and such a positive message to send out to Tom Field.

    Meanwhile teacher’s pet Sawyers strolls around aimlessly game after game on the basis that once in a while he puts through a sublime pass. He loses the ball far too often and is not that bothered about winning it back – sorry to come out with an English football cliché, but he is not the kind of player you want on a cold Tuesday night at (insert random grim Northern town) when you are under pressure. If he produced more consistently I would not be saying this. When we have someone like Jota who is ideally suited to that position (the one he played at Eibar the first time) and has so much more to offer, you really do wonder.

    Scott Hogan. Seriously, can someone explain to me why he was used yesterday but not the previous two weeks?

    I’ll finish by summing up the team as things stand at the moment:

    We have a goalkeeper who is talented but whose confidence seems to be wavering a bit.

    A lumbering defence whose frailties are exposed even more by playing three at the back.

    A lightweight midfield which hardly ever scores but doesn’t do a great job of protecting the defence either.

    Either a prolific forward who we can’t play because of off-field shenanigans (I hope Phil Giles has recovered from the startling revelation that football agents can behave unscrupulously by the way) or one who is simply not up to the mark with the alternative option of someone who is even worse.

    Apologies for the negativity and I would love it if the team could shove these words down my throat in the next week, but things are pretty painful at the moment. I am fully aware that the situation can change quickly like at the end of March last year, but a number of people are going to have to raise their games many notches if this is to happen. Starting with the manager.

    Regards

    Gordon

    • Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) January 29, 2017 at 10:50 am #

      I dont actually know Gordon, but his piece is very similar to mine and he is spot on with his thoughts. It does shows the anger we are all feeling, and the anger that those in authority seem completely oblivious to.

    • Dave Washer January 29, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

      A brilliant summation, Nick and equally brilliant response from Gordon above. Pretty much nailed it for me.

      Smith’s been in the job for 14 months now and are we any better than when he started? We are not. Like many, I would argue we are now actually quite a lot worse, certainly than when Carsley was boss.

      For every good performance (Newcastle) there are far too many awful ones (Wigan, Chelsea, Norwich, Fulham, Norwich again, etc.). Tactics simply not working, yet 3-5-2 persisted with, regardless of the opposition or circumstances (Wigan had lost 6 IN A ROW AT HOME, yet still Smith played three centre backs!!!!!). Flair players left on bench (Jota, Clarke, Field), yet certain players automatically picked week in week out no matter how poorly they perform (Yennaris, Woods, McEachran, and, of course, the seemingly undropable Sawyers).

      And so it goes on.

      I wasn’t there yesterday (as a lowly member I didn’t come close to a ticket) but I can imagine the disappointment of those who were. Biggest frustration for me – the crap Smith comes out with on a Thursday, which is then totally contradicted 48 hours later! Don’t understand it.

      As the erudite Mr Levack has said many times (both on this forum, Twitter and on Beesotted), Smith has been let down by Laurel and Hardy (aka Ankersen and Giles) but I don’t think we can keep using that as an excuse. In my opinion, he has the players at his disposal to get far better results (and performances) than we’ve seen since this current dip in form began back in October.

      So now we have two huge (and hugely tough) home matches coming up – followed by Preston and Reading away. A good performance and result on Tuesday and again next Sunday and he buys himself some more time. But if the wheels continue to come off over these next four games, I simply cannot see how his position remains tenable. Personally, for the sake of the club, the fans and, crucially, our place in the Championship, I think a parting of the ways would be best for everyone.

      That’s not being disloyal or not supporting the team – that’s looking at simple facts (and results) and putting the best interests of the club we all love first, before a manager who, for quite a long time now, has been way out of his depth.

  3. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) January 29, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    Regular readers will have been unlikely to have seen Nick as angry as this over a display, and I cannot disagree with any of the points in his assessment.

    First things first, we were up against the Champions elect, with the best coach in the country and a side who have the potential to go all the way in Europe, yet we played with so much fear and lacked any energy.

    For the record I wasnt at the game but saw it on Fox Sports USA with an honest Stewart Robson giving his views through the match and he made some excellent points.

    The team selection was shockingly poor. I am possibly Yoann Barbet’s biggest advocate yet left back he is not. He is potentially one of the best players at the club and has been played out of position all season. Field should have started. Jota didnt come back from Spain to get splinters, and if Smith believes Hogan is not up for playing against Chelsea, then he really hasnt a clue.

    The midfield was awful. Nico was largely anonymous. Woods chasing shadows. Sawyers pass completion rate couldnt have been any higher than 15%, and McEachran only seemed to be there for his Chelsea love-in. Stewart Robson’s assessment of him was damning. When comparing him to Fabregas, he said that McEachran is not athletic enough, fit enough, cant defend, and looks back rather than forward, add to that he regularly loses the ball and with 0 goals in 150 odd matches I do wonder whether he has the motivation and desire to be a top footballer as he seems to spend a lot of time with interests outside of football.

    Dean Smith got this so wrong, but we seem to say that every game. I do genuinely believe that when we win, we win by accident and not by design. His main tactic is to leave our attacking midfielders on the bench (Jota, Clarke, KK) so the picked defensive midfielders pass it around sideways, then backwards, and eventually back to Bentley to hoof it up the pitch and give away possession. I am VERY concerned about the outcome of the next 2 games too if we continue the current tactics. I dont think Smith will be fired this season, but I would encourage Matthew Benham to think long and hard whether Smith is the man to take us into the 2017-18 season.

    In my piece on the FA Cup the other week, I criticised the BBC for their dreadful coverage. I think Nick has demonstrated again why they should not be allowed any football coverage, and the BBC’s coverage summed up in one word. Patronising.

  4. peter lumley January 29, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Bang on Nick!Again you must be reflecting the views of virtually every Brentford fan.

    • Mark Hardy January 29, 2017 at 11:17 am #

      Final postscript from me:-

      If Sawyers starts the next couple of matches anywhere near the middle of the field (if it’s deemed necessary to start him at all!) … or Dean perseveres with this ridiculous lone striker thing, I predict ‘pas de points’ from two matches over the next week or so.
      Like everyone else has said:- ‘Prove us wrong Bees!’
      VERY much doubt if they can…

  5. Brighton Bee January 29, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    Brilliant assessment Nick, pretty much summarises my own. Yesterday was desperately disappointing for the 6,000 Brentford fans in attendance. I have said from day one that Smith is not up to it. His team selections, baffling at times and his tactics have left a lot to be desired. I agree with most commentators, that yesterday, we should have gone at them from the start pushed up, crowded the space got our tackles in, left our foot in a few times to shake them up. What did we do? Sat back and watched them play – appalling! Smith has the next two games to inject some passion and positivity in our play otherwise I think someone should call him and his assistant a cab.

    • nickbruzon January 29, 2017 at 11:33 am #

      ThanksBrighton. Dean really needs to come back with bang after this. He’s got a huge challenge ahead of him – Aston Villa and Brighton…..

  6. Dave Washer January 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    A brilliant summation, Nick and equally brilliant response from Gordon above. Pretty much nailed it for me.

    Smith’s been in the job for 14 months now and are we any better than when he started? We are not. Like many, I would argue we are now actually quite a lot worse, certainly than when Carsley was boss.

    For every good performance (Newcastle) there are far too many awful ones (Wigan, Chelsea, Norwich, Fulham, Norwich again, etc.). Tactics simply not working, yet 3-5-2 persisted with, regardless of the opposition or circumstances (Wigan had lost 6 IN A ROW AT HOME, yet still Smith played three centre backs!!!!!). Flair players left on bench (Jota, Clarke, Field), yet certain players automatically picked week in week out no matter how poorly they perform (Yennaris, Woods, McEachran, and, of course, the seemingly undropable Sawyers).

    And so it goes on.

    I wasn’t there yesterday (as a lowly member I didn’t come close to a ticket) but I can imagine the disappointment of those who were. Biggest frustration for me – the crap Smith comes out with on a Thursday, which is then totally contradicted 48 hours later! Don’t understand it.

    As the erudite Mr Levack has said many times (both on this forum, Twitter and on Beesotted), Smith has been let down by Laurel and Hardy (aka Ankersen and Giles) but I don’t think we can keep using that as an excuse. In my opinion, he has the players at his disposal to get far better results (and performances) than we’ve seen since this current dip in form began back in October.

    So now we have two huge (and hugely tough) home matches coming up – followed by Preston and Reading away. A good performance and result on Tuesday and again next Sunday and he buys himself some more time. But if the wheels continue to come off over these next four games, I simply cannot see how his position remains tenable. Personally, for the sake of the club, the fans and, crucially, our place in the Championship, I think a parting of the ways would be best for everyone.

    That’s not being disloyal or not supporting the team – that’s looking at simple facts (and results) and putting the best interests of the club we all love first, before a manager who, for quite a long time now, has been way out of his depth.

  7. Chasyuk January 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    Interesting, well constructed pieces from all contributors. One can only hope that those in a position to influence things will be aware of the groundswell of opinion/concern and general disappointment at virtually all aspects of recent performances, both on and off the pitch, and do something about it. Gordon summed it up so well “grey, dull and uninspiring”. (For the paunchy, and not so paunchy geriatrics who are old enough to remember, Dean Smith appears to be morphing into the John Major puppet on Spitting Image). As for yesterday, I can only think some players had one eye on the Villa game (joke).

  8. Rob January 29, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    There’s a decent manager doing well with our other ‘B team’ just down the M40 (Gareth Ainsworth’. He’s even getting goals out of Paul Hayes for crying out loud! He showed fighting spirit and passion from a far more limited bunch of players….

    • nickbruzon January 29, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

      “He’s even getting goals out of Paul Hayes for crying out loud!” Rob with quote of the day. Thank you 🙂

  9. Ian garmonsway January 29, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

    I worry with smiths team selection he doesn’t have a plan b to start with five defenders is so negative if u r going to play one up front your midfield has to be spot on and at the moment none of the midfield would get in a pub side no drive no passion no idea smith has to go

    • Rob January 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

      If you play 5 at the back then the two guys out on the flank need to be mobile. To replace a genuine wing back ( Field) with another centre half really doesn’t fulfill the criteria needed to play the system. Agree that the selection is all wrong.

      • Neal January 29, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

        Don’t know if there’s a point in posting to agree with Nick’s piece, and all the other comments, but I’ll do it anyway.
        For me, Smith is done. Like Billy said on Beesotted a while back, this ‘plucky little Brentford’ mentality doesn’t do us any favours. Chances are we were going to lose against Chelsea, so give it a go for Christ’s sake. Negative team selection and constantly picking his favourites when they underperform makes a mockery of all his talk about using the squad and there being competition for places. He seems to hate players with pace or a bit of flair who look forward with the ball. If the lad from PSV was at the Bridge I’m guessing he will be looking at the easyjet website for a ticket home.

  10. Gordonbankole January 29, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    In fairness to Paul Hayes, he has spent most of his career scoring goals (about 120 of them) – it’s just that he had a little break from doing it when with Brentford.

    Also didn’t help that he joined us in no fit state to play professional football, which was strange for someone regarded as a good pro. Because of this I guess he was always playing catch-up from the moment he signed, and he never really caught up (not surprising given his total lack of pace).

    Regards

    Gordon

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Could Aston Villa kerplunk Brentford AND West Ham? Deadline day & match day are here. – Salvation Herald - January 31, 2017

    […] up and putting in a performance to prove the naysayers wrong after Chelsea.And it wasn’t just me on that front. For a very considered read then Billy Grant’s latest Beesotted column on the […]

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