The unbeaten run is over. What next for Lasse and the Bees?

28 Jan

The unbeaten run is over. Brentford went down 0-1 at home to Norwich City in a game that won’t live on in the memory for long. Dean Smith would say afterwards that ”I feel that the better team got beaten” going on to add later that I think Norwich will feel fortunate that they have gone away with all three points”. He also confirmed the news everybody suspected the moment that the team was announced and Lasse Vibe wasn’t in the squad. Namely, that he is in discussions with another club – albeit all parties need to reach agreement.

My own source close to the club, and about as good as they get, had also confirmed the news prior to kick off. Noting much as Dean would later do, however, that the deal wasn’t done by any stretch. I say source. We’re hardly in wikileaks territory here, far from it. Yet at the same time it is marvellous who you bump into walking through the stand just before kick-off. Likewise, what a straight answer you can get to a straight question if you just ask.

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Norwich came and conquered

On the plus side, Romaine Sawyers, also missing from the matchday 18, was confirmed as sitting this one out for genuine reasons – having been taken ill. The progression of Romaine’s game this season has been one of my own highlight’s of the campaign – seeing that ability shine through as he really has stepped up a level. The effortlessness with which he can spray the ball around. The rapier like way he bisects an opposition defence with one, killer pass. Not to mention the goals. Get well soon, Romaine. Here’s hoping we see you at Derby County on Saturday.

Dean would also use his post-match interview (and you can catch that article and video on ‘official’) to make a swipe at the crowd about Neal Mauapy, in for Lasse from the start for this one. His observation that I would have liked our supporters to have got behind him a lot more today” was lost on me, I have to be honest. Perhaps things were different on the New Road side but there was no negativity from where we sitting opposite. The cheers when he was replaced, along with a very poor Josh McEachran – sorry, but he didn’t have a great game – being more for the simultaneous arrivals of the ever popular Sergi Canos and, of course, Alan Judge.

How wonderful to see Alan back in action and in the first team. We all know what happened. We all know how long that road to recovery has has been, We’re all indebted to that anti-gravity treadmill – fair to say that has been ‘value for money’. We’ve all read that story and the follow up from earlier in the week – personally, I didn’t waste my time on it (long term injured footballer now back to fitness and wants to play – well d’uh!). Here’s hoping we have Alan for another few months – at the very least.

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How good to see Alan Judge back out there

Dean really would go for broke or, as one terrace wag would note ‘Wow. He’s throwing the kitchen sink at it’ by also adding Emiliano Marcondes to the mix. Certainly, the second half saw a vastly improved Brentford performance after Norwich had threatened to run away with things in the opening period. James Maddison opened proceedings with barely five minutes on the clock. Whilst he was, perhaps, afforded space in the middle, his long range pile driver from well outside the box would have beaten just about any goalkeeper and was a goal you can only doff your cap to. Certainly, there is no blame attached to Daniel Bentley for this rare moment of seeing his nets bulge (not a euphemism).

Indeed, with Norwich continuing to push he had to visibly remonstrate with his defence on more than one instance. Whatever Dean would say about Brentford being ‘the better team’, I’d disagree on that first half showing. Norwich had the lion’s share of action and opportunities. They were well set up and an overly cagey Brentford couldn’t penetrate.

That’s football though. We haven’t got a divine right to win every game. To take things for granted. It’s certainly not the end of the world. More an opportunity missed to potentially climb even further up a Championship table that, for the fourth successive season, sees Brentford sitting in the top ten.

Sky have the highlights up already. You know the drill. They’re worth a watch, even just for Maddison’s goal. One even Nico Yennaris would have been proud of.

As for Lasse, here’s hoping he makes the right decision. Certainly, he’s one of the form players on the Championship at present. Whether for goals or assists. Supporters are worried about who will replace him should he leave. Equally, Matt Allard on Twitter nailed this one just about bang on.

Personally, it just feels like territory we’ve all been in before. I’ve given up worrying myself. I don’t want to see players go. Who would? Yet at the same time, life’s too short and if the last few season have taught us anything it’s that the club, the squad and our new acquisitions, will continue to surprise us.

Maybe it’s just the fuzzy head kicking in after four weeks of alcohol related abstinence that came to a tumultous end yesterday. Yet, genuinely, I’m not phased this morning. We may lose a few games along the way. We’ll hopefully win a few more! Yesterday it just wasn’t to be. Would Lasse have made a difference? Possibly. At the same time we still had enough talent out there but the set up was out of kilter from the off. Once the subs kicked in it looked a different team.

At the end of the day (Clive) we’re talking about not beating Norwich City. Let’s not forget the opposition that were in front of us. Likewise, it’s only our second defeat of the season at Griffin Park in the league. Perhaps Lasse’s absence had people feeling a bit flat from the off. It wasn’t a great afternoon but I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.

Ka-boom. The sound of a name being dropped. Talking to Delia Smith in the drizzle before kick off (not the Lasse source) and coming all this way in the manky weather, the one time  TV chef from the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop looked puzzled and said, “It’s football, isn’t it. Why wouldn’t you?” .

I couldn’t agree more. We love it. Whatever the weather. Whatever the result. There’s nothing better to be doing on a Saturday afternoon. Bring on Derby…

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Ka-boom. The sound of a name being dropped

Nick Bruzon

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13 Responses to “The unbeaten run is over. What next for Lasse and the Bees?”

  1. Mark Hardy January 28, 2018 at 10:48 am #

    Have to say Nick that I, for one am strangely pleased we (probably) won’t be in the mix come the end of the season.
    Why? We’re simply not ready for it…and, if yesterday showed what a team like Norwich can do to us, it’d surely be carnage if we made it upwards.
    When we do manage to reach those dizzy heights, it’d be nice to make a bit more of a fist of it than I think we could do at present…

    • Adrian January 28, 2018 at 5:26 pm #

      I must admit I do agree with you on this. I am not at all sure that we are ready yet and another year or so in the championship would not be a bad thing. That said i am concerned that the club expresses ambition to finish in the top six, but then seems intent on letting their only quality striker move on for what may be a relatively small sum when we are relatively close to our stated aims. If we had quality back up, yes I can understand or indeed if a replacement was lined up, which may be the case of course. if not though, it seems the actions being taken and spoken intent do not quite chime. I also think the performance of all at the club has been incredible over the last few years, given the resources when compared to others in this division and overall the performances and results have been excellent.

      • nickbruzon January 28, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

        Thanks Adrian. Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Well said.

  2. Adrian Sayer January 28, 2018 at 11:37 am #

    I have to say that Dean Smith got it all wing yesterday in the first half. I agree with Nick, the set up was wrong from the start. Maupay is poor when he’s at his best and coming off his sick bed from the day before is just poor judgement- he should not have been near the squad. Sorry Dean , you cannot blame the supporters for what was your bad call.
    If Vibe goes , we will have a poorer run to the end of the season unless they can get another striker in- look at the results when he hadn’t played and they speak for themselves.
    Mid table is where we will finish; that’s still a huge achievement for a club in our budget and situation. I will be happy for another season in the Championship.

  3. Mark soudan January 28, 2018 at 12:09 pm #

    Perhaps smith needs to look closer to home and ask himself why he is putting maupay in this position and not consider a loan out to a league one outfit as the lad is out of his depth at this level at present.needs to gain confidence and experience in my opinion.also why the dof did not look at other options up front is beyond me as they knew vibe was out of contract in the summer and would want to recoup some money for him before he goes on a free.wasted opportunity as i feel if we had more options centre forward wise we would be further up the league.having said this I do believe maupay is very much one for the future but needs to drop a league or two for five months for his own sake if anything

  4. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) January 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm #

    I think the game was lost before it even started, nothing to do with the Lasse situation. Replacing Romaine with McEachran was what did us. Josh plays what is essentially the Ryan Woods role, which in turn means Ryan has to push forward, a role he always looks very uncomfortable with, alongside him, Kamo, yet another more defensively minded midfielder. The result of this was very apparent with the amount of space Norwich were given when bringing the ball forward. There was not the pressing we usually see from the front 5, leaving the back 5 (with a lumbering Josh) rather exposed.

    I have never quite got the lads at the back of ER fan worship of McEachran. The number of quality games he has played for us you can count on one hand. Yet when he comes in to the team it inevitably means the superior Woods has an indifferent game. They cant play in the same team, that has been pretty obvious for some time, yet I dont get why Smith comes back to try yet again to accommodate both. What it needed was Judge or Macleod playing from the start. Maybe, then, we would have seen a different result.

    I too didnt get what Smith was on about as regards Maupay & can only assume those nearest the dug outs were giving a hard time. Of course there was plenty of chat about him, but I dont recall anyone bawling him out anywhere near me.

    Mepham was MOM clearly yesterday in what would have been a match he would have learnt a hell of a lot from, not just because of the pressure he was under, but also watching Grant Hanley at the other end, who was outstanding.

  5. Peterwot January 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

    I was in the New Road stand near the visitors end but did not hear any audible comment about Maupay, just some under the breath muttering about missed chances!

  6. simonsapper January 28, 2018 at 2:29 pm #

    I think you may be being kind to Neil M, Nick. There was a lot of muttering and groaning caused by him round where I was (barely 20 yards from your good self!) Let’s face it – he didn’t have a good day at the office. Again. And the bad days outnumber the good I’m afraid. That’s why Lasse leaving causes such a worry. But then again, as @NoahBFC quipped on twitter last night, Ollie could move into the centre leaving more space for Alan Judge. He may well be right, but my neighbours in the paddock yesterday were almost pining for the return of the Hoff! In Dean we trust, though. Bring on next week!

  7. Daniel January 28, 2018 at 8:51 pm #

    Think that other teams, Norwich and also Notts County recently, see we like to play from the back and set out to press us up very high which Norwich did with pace and aggression before sitting back further as the game went on. We do appear to find to difficult to manage or adapt when teams do this, just as we find it difficult to break down teams who are content to sit back.
    Didn’t hear any comments about Maupay, more about RWoods yesterday who, unusually for him, didn’t have a decent game. The cheers with the substitutions were for Sergi and especially A Judge rather than a verdict on those taken off.

  8. Rob January 28, 2018 at 10:02 pm #

    Hi Nick, I’m in total agreement with what you said here about the Norwich game. First off, actually how much of a miss Romaine is when not in the side. Creativity, accuracy of passing and a genuine understanding of the game. 3 months ago most people wouldn’t be saying that. First half Norwich could have been out of sight and were the better side until Canos and Judgey came on, then they seemed to sit deeper and were hanging on a bit, but for DS to say we were robbed, i didnt see it that way. Maybe we could have earned a point in the end but that was about it. As for the team setup, it was all a bit wrong at the beginning. 3 mop up / CM in the same 11 with our best player at that role looking uncomfortable further forward, Our best winger on the bench and a striker (enforced perhaps…benefit of the doubt) who’s only really looked good when coming on for the last 20 – 30 mins was too negative. DoF’s will hopefully be looking at bringing a striker in because we do look short of fire power. Agree (again!) With the Allard. Feelings on Vibe have been very up and down from the fans, I’m no different but perhaps more moderate. When hes good (confident) he’s very very good, when he’s bad he’s awful. However he’s in a rich vein of form at the moment and with us hovering just outside of the playoffs how important is a confident Vibe to the side?? Perhaps its out of Bees hands and perhaps DoFs have got something else in mind. Positives i took out of that game? Judgey’s back!! Romaine is more of an asset than fans have given him credit for and (hopefully) he’ll be back soon, and i thought Marcondes looked sharp when he came on for a cameo. Onwards and upwards!!

  9. Brighton Bee January 28, 2018 at 11:07 pm #

    Great article Nick, incisive and entertaining as ever. I have to say that on this occasion, I fully I agree with your correspondent Mr Quackenbush’s comments. I have never understood why people laud Josh McEachran so much. I think he slows the game down, ponders on the ball and tackles weakly. I always think he has his best games away from home, where slowing the play down and frustrating opponents is something he is good at. Sure, when he wants to he can thread a pass through the defence but those occasions are few and far between. That said, what really continues to worry me though is our inability to break down teams who come to defend. We have seen already the likes of Bristol City, Barnsley, Bolton, Burton and Derby etc sit back knowing that Brentford cannot seem to break down a massed defence. Just for once, I would like to see us tank someone and not struggle to win by the odd goal. Personally, I thought our first half performance yesterday was shocking and we really only got into the game when the three subs came on. I’m just the idiot on the terraces but to me we were not set up right in the first half and Norwich could have easily been out of sight by half time. The subs injected some elements of pace and guile that was missing and you have to ask would things have been different had they played from the start? I saw Dean Smith’s comments after the game where he believes he already has the players to cope if Vibe moves on. Clearly, they were not on the pitch yesterday so where are they? You would hope that the DofF have a plan to replace Vibe (and possibly sign a left back) but given their reluctance in the past to sanction moves in the January window, I doubt it. It’s frustrating as we are so close to being a top six outfit with a couple of key additions.

  10. aussiebee53 January 29, 2018 at 3:28 am #

    I think that it will be Marcondes that takes over Vibe”s roll, He has a good scoring record and his one touch lay-offs in his brief appearance showed good awareness.
    On the post match podcast mention was made of Norwich repeatedly giving away possession. We were equally culpable no more so than in the opening minutes when from our second corner in quick succession we threw away a promising position with a needless off-side. No doubt this would have given the Norwich players a lift and I don’t think we got the ball out of our half in the next 3-4 minutes leading up to the goal.
    We are a work in progress & will have our ups & downs but I still believe we are basically “on the up”

  11. Moriarty January 29, 2018 at 11:43 pm #

    Lasse, is leaving, because he has done his best BFC , are going nowhere.

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