Brentford lost in the forest.

6 Oct

That was 90 minutes we’ll never get back. Urghh. Brentford came away from Nottingham Forest on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline after a game that turned into an insomniacs wildest dream. That goes for both teams where despite a lot of huff and puff there were few chances and entertainment was at an absolute premium. The footballing equivalent of watching Mrs. Browns Boys with the volume on. Well, not quite that bad but it was certainly hard going. A masterclass in defensive solidity, with the exception of the host’s goal where they took advantage of some very generous positional play. The unmarked Ben Watson volleying home a corner that had been headed into his path by the unmarked Joe Worrall. And when The Bees had a rare break forward, Forest closed us down quicker than a small business post Brexit. Credit to them. Frustration for us.

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Defensive discipline at The City Ground

Positives? Are there any? Well we were up against one of the division’s form teams. They started the day in fourth and ended it in second. They are where they are for a reason. Sabri Lamouchi would pay Brentford compliment at full time and my guess is we’d all have been happy coming away from that one with a point. At nullifying a team with genuine aspirations for promotion. That a hard fought game on the road was the price to pay for remaining unbeaten. But that’s not how football works and that’s not what happened.

When the chance came, Watson took it. Despite over half an hour to go there was an almost palpable feeling of dread and expectation as to how this would now finish. That didn’t stop the Brentford fans from cheering the boys on. If anything, the noise was even louder in an attempt to drown out the singing that had finally started from the home supporters. Mind you, if ‘Mull of Kintyre’ was our ‘go to’ song, I can imagine we’d be quiet too. Hey, at least it’s not ‘Hi-ho Silver Lining’. Or some of the other dreadful efforts for the McCartney back-catalogue. ‘Spies Like Us’ or ‘The Girl Is Mine’, anyone? 

Dreadful film. Even worse theme tune

Yet despite the ever vocal exhortations from The Bees faithful there was no way through. Forest too disciplined at the back to be troubled by a somewhat off-colour looking Brentford forward line. Too quick to break and avert any threat of potential danger. Leading goal scorer Ollie Watkins drifting out wide time and again, leaving the central role vacant. Nikos Karelis given far too little time to make any impact. Sergi Canos forced to limp off the pitch with all our subs having been used.   

I saw a tweet from Brentford official whilst travelling home, quoting David Raya. His observation that “‘The game plan was going well at half-time, then we switched off for one second and conceded a goal” telling us all we needed to know about this one. Containment was the order of the day. Stifle the hosts. Pick up a point. We didn’t look close to threatening, let alone scoring. The one real save that home ‘keeper Brice Samba was forced in to making came when a Mathias Jensen free kick took a wicked deflection and momentarily threatened his unmblemished net. However, he moves well for a big man and was very much Forest’s Jensen interceptor.

Overall, it was poor viewing and a struggle on pitch. We’ve got great players and I’m utterly convinced it will come very good, very soon. Thomas Frank is a wonderful motivator and certainly has a challenge on his hands as to how he fits the pieces together. I’m not joining the vitriolic Twitterati in calling for a sacking. Anything but. However, he does have to figure out if Ollie Watkins is the solution to our centre forward conundrum, do we give Nikos a few starts (assuming fitness is not an issue) or is it just a case off hanging in there until January when the transfer of Halil Dervişoğlu from Sparta Rotterdam completes? Yesterday saw us looking dreadfully lopsided. It’s fine against the weaker teams such as Derby County and Barnsley. Not quite so good against a disciplined outfit. 

Either way, the international break is well timed. We can all cool off. We can all forget about a dreadful game of football. We can all put our feet up until visit of Millwall. At least, on the supporter side. I’d imagine for the players things may be somewhat different…..

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Nick Bruzon

7 Responses to “Brentford lost in the forest.”

  1. simonsapper October 6, 2019 at 10:40 am #

    Very well put Nick, as ever restoring sanity and perspective! But there are to my mind some underlying issues that go deeper than the team getting used to playing with each other. There were too many poor passes, losses of possession, pondering rather than pressing forward. And tactically? Yes, I get the need and wisdom of a containment strategy, but the midfield we started with was too flat to allow us to break when we could. Hey-ho. I’m just a numpty in the stands (to borrow a phrase) but the international break is certainly welcome.

  2. David Carney. October 6, 2019 at 10:56 am #

    Why pick on the forwards. In both the Forest and Bristols games the defence allowed unmarked opposition players time to select where to place the ball in the net. You can’t blame forwards for that. Cool heads in defences needed, but also the defenders are all still getting used to working together.
    There is nothing wrong with this team. Swings of form in a season balance out. Brentford won’t do a Leeds, they will get better as a unit.
    There are still 105 points to play for, we need just about 75 for the play offs, 12 in the bag so we only need 60% of points available to achieve that.
    There is the depth as well as the quality to win 60% of the ponts on offer – and the play offs.

    • nickbruzon October 6, 2019 at 7:15 pm #

      “A masterclass in defensive solidity, with the exception of the host’s goal where they took advantage of some very generous positional play. The unmarked Ben Watson volleying home a corner that had been headed into his path by the unmarked Joe Worrall. ”

  3. Rob October 6, 2019 at 3:33 pm #

    We seem to play better as a unit when Mokoto is in the side so was surprised to see him dropped. We took him off when we were 1-0 up against Bristol City and then conceded Yes, we are defensively stronger than last year as Frank mentions. However offensively we have rather dried up and therefore teams are able to attack us more rather than defend themselves. I didn’t understand bringing Karelis on when we’d taken off Jensen and Da Silva, currently our 2 most creative players. It was no surprise we didn’t create anything the last 20 mins…..and I’m just the numpty on the terrace. We have Valencia who has yet to be given a chance, Norsgaard who can do no wrong in Franks eyes, yet doesnt add much to the team offensively and defensively, and our defence STILL concede soft goals. We can’t seem to take a set piece either! As for goalscoring exploits, Forss is scoring for fun at Wimbledon and Dervisoglu scored again yesterday but our biggest misyake was taking a paltry £2.8m for Romaine Sawyers. He was special…we miss him badly.
    I’m pretty sure we have a very good talented squad, however is the manager getting the best out of them at this time?

    • Nigel Garrigan October 6, 2019 at 4:03 pm #

      No is the answer to the last question, but apparently “It’s a team that’s solid and structured” Good grief is this buffoon posing as a coach reading the Theresa May book of effective management? Lets for a moment put the last year of his tenure aside, and do that football thing – take one game at a time. The International break gives plenty of time to ponder and plan, so no excuses. Our next game is full blooded London derby, lets’ see the team selection, tactics and motivation against Millwall, if we win then maybe he gets it, if we don’t, and a bore draw isn’t good enough, then he and others should seriously consider his position, I don’t think that’s unreasonable in a results driven industry.

  4. Rod Davidson October 6, 2019 at 4:02 pm #

    The stats speak for themselves – not scoring enough goals.
    As Thomas Frank was reported as saying “offensively is where we need to improve because WE LACKED QUALITY, SHARPNESS AND FRESHNESS FROM OUR OFFENSIVE PLAYERS”.
    I think TF is only trying to play the hand he’s been dealt, but things are in danger of getting ‘out of hand’!
    Because who, exactly are our offensive players? Ollie Watkins is the only one, isn’t he. He has scored 7 (seven). What have the others contributed ?
    OK there are good players out there, but are they ‘offensive’ enough. I would question that!
    When you look and the number of times that the first option seems to be – to pass, when in a promising situation, rather than test the goalkeeper, you begin to wonder.
    And Watkins is still learning his centre forward trade, isn’t he ?
    Is Canos an offensive player- he seems more creative to me. Mbuemo – lots of promise to come perhaps, but is he creative or offensive ?
    Who have we got in the team who is going to try a snap shot to work the opposing goalkeeper. Can’t pin that label on too many. Benrahma tries to work the keeper but he’s creative isn’t he?
    That doesn’t leave too many ‘offensive’ players in my book, and FORSS has gone to Wimbledon.
    So what can TF do ? Well, he might adapt the system so Karelis gets a start and plays alongside Watkins from the beginning. Maybe his presence would enable Watkins to arrive late into the penalty area as he did when he got his hat trick.
    But please- have a shot on goal, work the goalkeeper. We may get lucky and score through a defenders legs, or get a deflection, and send him the wrong way or something.
    I hate to say it but Shepherds Bush have got a few more goals than us, haven’t they ?

  5. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) October 6, 2019 at 6:06 pm #

    OK, I have only been to the home matches and seen Leeds & Barnsley on TV, but so far what i have seen hasnt been that great. Yes we are stronger defensively, but what has happened to our creativity?

    I wasnt one who was calling for a change of formation. For me the problem was always central midfield, and its lack of effectiveness. I didnt get the call to go to a back 4 because i remember full well what Henrik was like last season at RB! The 3 at the back suited him better. I still dont get why Kamo isnt one of the first names on the teamsheet. Frustrating that someone so talented is constantly getting overlooked in a position where the lack of quality is detrimental to the whole team.

    Nikos is not the answer either. I have always seen him as the new Nick Protschwitz. A panic signing to cover a position. At least he isnt Betinho! Or is he? Letting Forss go was a huge mistake and I fear too much is now being put on the Turkish forward’s shoulders.

    So whats the answer? Bring back Kamo! Encourage creativity and who knows what else! Like you, im not calling for Thomas’s finely manicured head of hair yet but if things dont improve by November, I may be joining those calls and suggesting an out of work former Premier manager and former Bee take over.

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