Ivan not terrible. We hope.

18 Oct

Another win under the belt. Brentford chalked up a routine 2-0 over Coventry City that takes us to within two points of the p***-*ff positions in the embryonic table. At the half way mark to it having officially ‘taken shape’. The Bees are up to tenth and Ivan Toney has more than hit his groove. Another brace yesterday taking him top of the Championship goal scorer charts. With a tough run of fixtures coming up between now and Tuesday week – Sheffield Wednesday on, err, Wednesday, staying on the road to Stoke and then hosting Norwich City – we’ll have a much better idea of just how well Thomas Frank’s 20/21 incarnation of the team are adapting to Championship life. More importantly, with Toney being subbed off after suffering a shoulder injury, let’s hope its a case of Ivan not terrible when the teams for the game at Hillsborough are announced.

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though. First things first, the Coventry game. As feels like it is going to be the case for the next few months – at the very least – it was another one where we had to watch on i-follow.

The couch and the wide angle camera – where there was as much of the empty stand on our screen as there was pitch – making the best of the bad job inflicted on us by Corona virus. That said, would it hurt to zoom in a little bit?  Perhaps its just our tv and my shoddy eyesight but I was struggling to identify the players at times. Sergi’s new look hair (or lack of) not helping. Was this the result of a training ground prank / dare that went wrong?

Official published this one – where’s the hair, Sergi?

What we could see looked good. Domination in the first half and the combination of heavy touches, desperate defence and fine goalkeeping (Pontus must be cursing) keeping things level as Brentford took the game to our guests. At one point the stats read 12 shots, 4 on target and 6 corners to the Bees compared with 0, 0 and 0 for the equivalent from Coventry.  Bryan Mbeumo will perhaps rue one chance where he seemed to be clear before getting closed out whilst Ivan Toney has Sky Blues’ ‘keeper Marko Maroši on his toes early doors.

But we all know the old adage about balls in the back of the net being the only thing that counts. Just look back to the season opener at Birmingham City.  With no goal coming and Coventry finding their feet late on, it had all the trade marks of being a classic 0-1 Brentford reverse as the players came in for their half-time cuppas. 

Oh me of little faith. Boom. Another blistering start and there was to be no escape for the visitors this time. No repeat of the second-half debacle we’d seen last time out. Instead, Ivan Toney opened proceedings within a minute of the restart. Marcondes finding Bryan Mbeumo whose ball forward – seemingly neither cross nor shot exactly( if only there were a phrase for that)  – was diverted home by the free-scoring frontman. 1-0 and pressure off. 

Little less than ten minutes later, that lead was doubled. Marcondes instrumental again. This time getting the assist as his cross found the head of Toney who made no mistake from six yards out. The floodgates were starting to open. Sit back, pop another beer and enjoy the rout.

Sadly not. Coventry were made of firmer stuff and, once more, grew into it. Instead we had to be happy with holding on for a clean sheet and sweating on our players’ fitness. Rico Henry went down for a while whilst Toney was subbed off. His replacement the quite wonderful Marcus Forss but with our new man adjusting so quickly to Championship life, his presence will be vital over the coming weeks. Thankfully, Tomas Frank would confirm to Billy Reeves at full time that the injury was not serious but we’ll no doubt be waiting on further news ahead of the trip to Sheffield,  Wednesday.

Vitaly Janelt also came on for a debut and impressed from the off. With Matthias Jensen having his best game in a Brentford shirt for a while, it offers hope that the absence of Christian Norgaard is one which whilst not ideal by any stretch, could be absorbed.

I’m a happy man today. 2-0 is 2-0. It could have been more and we still look a little rusty in places. Yet Ollie Watkins’ loss has not become the on-pitch disaster it could have been. Perhaps some of us are scarred by remembering the attempts to replace Dean Holdsworth with Murray Jones, Philipp Hofmann picking up for Andre Gray or just the car crash that was Nick Proschwitz. Instead we have cash in the bank and goals flying in. The statisticians at the GPG produced an inserting graph (not a typo) last night – 

What a way to illustrate how quickly Ivan has taken to life at this level. Ahead of Ollie and level with Neal Maupay, having played a game less than our much loved king of shithousery.

This is one game. But, as ever with Brentford, we take time to adjust. To find our feet. Look at how last season started compared to how it ended. In general, I mean, rather than those very last knockings. Move along, nothing to see there ! Once we hit our form, the Bees were unstoppable. At least until the game at Stoke City. Something something something p***-*ffs.  

We are gelling. We are winning. We’ve still got a league cup quarter-final to host, too. Let’s not forget the valuable wins picked up in that competition. Sheffield Wednesday away is as tough as it gets. Their own form has actually been better than ours, with only that 12 point deduction keeping them bottom of the table. They’re reeling in those around them already and will no doubt be desperate to get into ‘positive’ points as soon as possible. 

But we’ll be as keen to keep the goals coming. For David Raya to retain the ‘golden gloves’ he won last year. To get closer to the teams at the top of the table. I can’t wait for this one. If only to see how well we fare against a team whose home has been a less than happy hunting ground in recent seasons. Bring it on. 

Nick Bruzon

One Response to “Ivan not terrible. We hope.”

  1. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) October 18, 2020 at 12:54 pm #

    It was important just to get the win yesterday, and realistically we never got out of 3rd gear to get it. Despite all the usual suspects criticising the team selection and demanding the luxuriantly coiffured head of Thomas before the game, for me it was the most obvious team. Ghoddos & Janelt on the bench. In the past we always heard about lessons learnt. Well lessons have been learnt. We cannot just throw in players from overseas with no experience of the English game into the deep end & expect them to be world beaters. We did with the likes of Gogia, KK & Hoffman, and even to some extent Jensen. Whereas others like Said & Christian and maybe even Barbet, benefited from a gentler introduction.. We also have to remember these young players have come to London in a middle of a global pandemic as well. So ultimately the likes of Jensen (who was excellent) and Sergi had good performances, although granted Coventry will not be the most taxing side this season.

    To paraphrase the famous Monty Python sketch. A TV to watch the game. Luxury! I have a small monitor in my back room sat on a hard chair! Actually, i am just glad to see the games at all. Those of us who support EFL clubs dont seem to cause a fuss about paying the occasional £10 to see a game, not like those armchair Premier fans, getting their pyjamas in a twist about paying £15 to see a game they wouldnt have seen anyway!

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