What happened ? A real rogue one despite late strikes back.

24 Oct

That was quite the experience. And not in a good way. Brentford went down 3-2 to Stoke City on an afternoon that was nowhere near as close as the scoreline suggests. A tactical reshuffle that saw three centre backs selected in lieu of the injured Pontus Jansson ended up with the Bees rushing to a 3-0 deficit. This, before Marcus Forss pulled back two late goals which suggested that if we are to tinker with the formation then going heavy up top rather than at the back may be the way to go. With Norwich City next up, could we start that one the way we ended this?

Close but no cigar

It was awful. The back five pulled out of position time and again. The left flank eventually exposed for the first goal after being torn apart on the other side. The right for the second. Brentford not even close. A (legitimate) shout for a first half penalty aside, we weren’t even second best in the opening period. The chance to level things up at 0-1 down was denied with both Dalsgaard and Toney seeming to be rugby tackled. As one North Stand observer would note, “Apparently not a penalty in the eyes of the man who blows his whistle like he’s on an Ibiza club night”.

Two down at half time ( Steven Fletcher and James McClean) saw Thomas Frank left with little choice but to revert to a more familiar strategy. I’ll defend Thomas to the hilt against the social media hate mob – coaching staff pick teams, not keyboard warriors – but today’s decisions seemed bizarre. Talk about throwing Charlie Goode in at the deep end. A new formation. New faces. And at Stoke City of all places. They were only going to play one way and, sure enough, they did.

But when we took things to the other extreme, kerchingg!! By then it was too late. We’d somehow conspired to go 3-0 down despite taking the game to our hosts as soon as the second half had begun. The more familiar positioning getting caught short and, instead, a push the other way seeing Marcus Forss and Ivan Toney playing together. Wow !! 

Let’s not pretend I would have had the cognisance to start this way. I wouldn’t have. Would you? Honestly?  Five at the back stunk from the off. And that was prior to kick off. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but going in the other direction was past the cusp of even this numpty’s expectation threshold. Yet, say what you want, it worked.

The first blasted home by the young Finn and the second, as we entered five minutes of storage time, converted from the tightest of angles. It was almost horizontal yet the finish was calmness personified. A Forss awakening to give us a new hope in front of the Obi stand. Despite two almost identical finishes, there was to be no further attack of the clones (ok, getting tenuous now). Instead, it finished 3-2 to Stoke with big questions to be asked before the visit of Norwich City on Tuesday.

Questions in a good way, I hasten to add. We lost. The reasons for this are quite apparent and, to be fair, easily fixable. The process that took us there one which I am sure will be ironed out behind closed doors. How many times in recent seasons have Brentford tried moving to a three CB formation before soon reverting back to the tried and tested?

That’s not to say there isn’t room to change things at the other end of the pitch. The Toney-Forss pairing one which offered a genuine Plan B. Unlike the defensive shambles and midfield holes that allowed Stoke to press up higher than Simon Cowell’s waistband.

We all saw it. It wasn’t great. Keith Stroud as random as ever. Every decision against / missed adding a further slap to the face when any help would have been gratefully accepted. Instead, we were left reliant on the man who will never be able to escape the mantle of that night at Bramall Lane. But we shouldn’t need the ref to turn the game. Not this much. Stoke City played us like a cheap fiddle and good luck to them. No sour grapes at their own approach. They were hardly going to sit back when we invited them on to us.

That’s me done on this one. It happened. We move on and go again. I’ve not even heard Thomas’s post match conference but will be keen to catch up on that one later. To this short-sighted fool, the reasons seemed apparent. Too many players going awol in an unfamiliar formation. Equally, it’s one game in a long season to come. Everybody is up agasint this relentless fixture list. I get the logic behind resting players. I don’t follow the mentality in switching things up to his extent. 

Perhaps that’s why I’m the numpty on the terrace rather than the Brentford head coach. Chin up Thomas. Chin up Bees. We can’t change what happened but we can look to the next games. And they start with Norwich City on Tuesday night.

Nick Bruzon

17 Responses to “What happened ? A real rogue one despite late strikes back.”

  1. Brighton Bee October 24, 2020 at 5:23 pm #

    Some great points Nick. Personally, once I saw the team selection I was worried. Why does TF persist with the 3 CB option when it clearly doesn’t work for Brentford. His team selection and tactics in the first half were appalling. It improved marginally after the break when we went 4-3-3 by really by then the damage had been done. Just like the penultimate game of last season we were far too cautious against what is really a very ordinary Stoke team. There has to be a massive improvement by the management and players on Tuesday night

    • MARK HIRIART October 24, 2020 at 6:20 pm #

      I’m afraid Frank is clearly tactically stupid once again

  2. Simon Sapper October 24, 2020 at 5:36 pm #

    Would only disagree by saying Stoke are a team that’s turned the corner and I’d expect them to be in or around the top 6. Having said that……

    • MARK HIRIART October 24, 2020 at 6:17 pm #

      Frank is tactically stupid, unbelievable playing Sorensen, who’s not good enough, nightmare defensively, why the hell was Jeanvier put out out on loan, words fail me.

      • nickbruzon October 24, 2020 at 6:52 pm #

        You’re wrong re Sorensen. The issue here is the system he was put in to. Not sure why we went down that route but the failings were clear for all to see

  3. George October 24, 2020 at 6:58 pm #

    You know how Millwall sing “no one likes us we don’t care”? Your “numpty on the terrace” is getting as boring and as transparent that. If you really thought you were, you wouldn’t keep going on about it. Passive aggressive has become a regular theme of your blog. Frustrated at the performance and result? Yeah, we all are, but do stop going on about those horrible keyboard warriors. You’ve become no better.

    • nickbruzon October 24, 2020 at 7:12 pm #

      You don’t like it , don’t read it: simple

      • Martin O October 24, 2020 at 9:19 pm #

        Nick, equally, if you publish your opinions, you have to take criticism as well as praise. I did not think 5 at the back was a good idea, but with Charlie having so little game time, and Mads lacking experience, I can understand why it was tempting against a physically strong team. I was surprised that Henrik played his role so badly in the 1st half, whether that was totally his fault or down to instructions I am not sure.

      • nickbruzon October 25, 2020 at 6:25 am #

        Cheers Martin. Oh, I get that. Everything online is there to be criticised and I can take that. My thoughts on the set up are that Thomas Frank gets a horrible amount of unjust criticism. Last year was horrific in the first few months and look how that went…. Likewise, Sergi is becoming the current target for the hate mob. That’s football – it happens at every club and I’ll defend them if I think it fair.
        I won’t pretend to understand the tactics – I’m a fan. Not a coach. I am a numpty. I don’t deny it. There’s a lot about the game I don’t get. It should be so simple in theory. It clearly isn’t. If that makes me a bad man then , as I say, people are not obliged to read.
        However, if you want to criticise offer something constructive. Not a personal attack on my ‘style’ which hasn’t really changed in the 7(seven) years I’ve been doing this.

        Cripes, regular readers know what they’re. going to get by now: we don’t do match reports; orange balls; brackets; kit; a bit of insight from time to time; some dodgy photoshop; keeping my powder dry rather than jerking the knee and putting the boot in (post Birmingham City triple transfer swoop aside) and challenging the club, the coaches and the set up when there is the need.
        I’m not BIAS. I don’t have the relentless production line of Beesotted. There are no videos or podcasts.

        It’s simple stuff from a simple man. Most people seem to enjoy it for which I am truly grateful.

        To those that don’t then at least have some class about it or, as I’ve suggested before, the internet is a big place – why not get out there and do your own thing?

  4. Brighton Bee October 24, 2020 at 10:55 pm #

    I’ve just seen TFs post match interview, that’s two minutes of my life I’ll never get back. To me, the most annoying about these interviews is that numpty from the Bees You Tube Channel who asks the questions or should I say agrees with everything TF says. I realise he is probably a Brentford employee but have a bit of journalistic professional pride – ask him some difficult questions, put him on the spot, get a reaction. Anything but the run of the mill turgid interview that tells us nothing.

    • nickbruzon October 25, 2020 at 6:14 am #

      That’s never been one of our strong points. Club interviews will generally consist of a soft ball after softball, gently tossed to the manager / head coach to be hit out of the park . It goes well beyond Thomas who is, typically, quite honest in his answers. Ask him some hard stuff. Dig deeper. Appreciate what the fans are expecting to hear.

      Much as I liked Dean Smith, the lack of challenge to his standard “We deserved to win” despite putting in some shockers and regardless of the result, used to get really frustrating.

      Oh for Billy Reeves and his ‘gentle probing’. The kiler question from our BBC man always one to cut straight to the nub of what we are all thinking

  5. AUSSIE BEE 53 October 25, 2020 at 1:15 am #

    I can’t comment too much on the game as, not for the first time I could only get audio and not visual on Ifollow. I did however say to the better half, when I looked at the starting line-up and bench that Forss deserved more time on the park and particularly given Toney’s mobility and work rate I saw no reason that they should not be on together. ( yes honestly )
    We all have our own opinions so I don’t agree with you all the time but I always look for your posts. Keep up the good work.

    • nickbruzon October 25, 2020 at 6:16 am #

      Thanks. I think it would be pretty boring if we all agreed all the time. At the end of the day, these are my cliche ridden thoughts which I get will be different to others. I don’t think Thomas Frank deserves the hate mob and I think Sergi is getting way, way too much stick – albeit yesterday had a shocker. Like many of the team. That’s me.
      I’m just pleased people keep reading and are prepared to invest the time to comment.
      Even if they’re sometimes wrong 😉

      • Vee Bee October 25, 2020 at 7:57 am #

        One thing about Thomas is there can’t be that many managers who have to adapt to a squad which loses key players and without long term players every season. I appreciate it’s our – pretty successful – model but it’s presumably difficult from a coaching perspective. Would be interesting to know from a stat perspective what our player turnover is compared to other championship and PL clubs.

  6. Max October 25, 2020 at 8:11 am #

    I agree with you nick. Tf is basically a good manager who the players that we have thrive under. It’s easy to get frustrated and get on the keyboard as soon as we loose (many more posts than when we win). However the back 3 is a bad idea and letting jeanvier go out on loan, with jansons injury history also looks a bad call by the club. Mads looks lost in a 3 and Charlie got skinned for 2 of the goals and doesn’t look up to speed for the championship at present. But the main thing about the back 3 is that we loose one in midfield, which leeves the strikers isolated. With a ref that traditionally gives us nothing Tf went for a more combative selection yesterday and played Stoke at their own game which in hindsight was a massive mistake. Keep up the good work,

  7. Do not sack Phil Holder club October 25, 2020 at 3:02 pm #

    Quality journalism Nick.Keep up the good work.

    I suspect most of these trolls have only seen the good times.

    Although I did not agree with T.F’s set up yesterday,there is a reason he is there and not me.

    Do some people, really think he is not aware of his players weaknesses?

    I can remember several good managers who received no support from the board.We now have the (almost) complete package.The journey from the old fourth division was always going to be bumpy,but with Saint Benham we will keep moving forward.

    • nickbruzon October 25, 2020 at 4:30 pm #

      Thanks. Although journalism is the last thing I’d call it. That’s not my thing – and I don’t envy those who have to churn out the quality under time pressure. It’s more ad-hoc fun.
      That said, TF is no mug. Not are the board. Social media opinions won’t be anywhere near anyone’s decision making process.
      The progress that we continue to make is nothing short of astounding. I won’t deny that yesterday seemed odd but it’s nothing more than a road bump in the longer term.

      Thanks for taking the time . cheers 🙂

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