Is our form all down to one player?

23 Nov

Well, we’re back in action. Whatever that means. Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers was a masterclass in frustration for a Brentford team that had endured similar in the previous game – that 0-0 with Middlesbrough before International break took hold. We’ve back to back fixtures with Barnsley and then Quarter Pound of Rubbish before the weekend. With them, the opportunity to fine tune our game and get the goals flowing once more. Likewise, a chance to prove we are a team. That all our woes (if you can call being six points off second place ‘woes’) are not the fault of one man. Yes, the online hate mob were back and Sergi is once more the player in their sights.

Sergi gets stuck in on Saturday

It was a terrible game played out in a Craven Cottage atmosphere. Rattling around an empty stadium no longer working to our advantage as it did last season when it was a short term ‘novelty’ (and that word is used in the loosest sense). Brentford adjusted to it quickly. Everybody else has caught up. Football is now much more of an 11 v 11 thing with the lack of crowd and passion dragging everybody down. Fans frustrated on their sofas. I know I am.

Its awful. I want to be there. Cheering them on. Screaming. Giving the lino what for. Instead, we still have that sterile feeling of what, to all intents and purposes, has the feel of a reserve game. This should be the Championship. Instead it feels like The Football Combination.   

That’s not to lay all the blame for an awful afternoon at the feet of the Corona Virus crowd restrictions. Brentford still struggled to break down resolute opposition. As we did against Middlesbrough. Fair play to Wycombe. Despite us having the better chances – Bryan Mbeumo in particular and Josh Dasilva late on – they were few and far between. Our hosts locked us out and stifled all flair. Another vital point on the board for the Adams Park outfit. The Bees lacking the tactical nous to get through them – even with the much demanded pairing of Forss and Toney getting a run out for the final half hour.  

You know what? Had Sergi been at his very best then we might have won. But you could say that about anybody outside of the defence. All our frustrations are not the fault of one player. He’s not been at his creative best the last few games but who has? We’re not scoring and we’re not creating. That’s not because of one man. Cripes, some of the replies to this one….

Here are the simple facts. After 12 games we’re in eleventh and a mere six points off second place. We’ve not lost in five league games, conceding just two goals over that run. In Ivan Toney, Brentford have a player going neck and neck with Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong at the top of the Championship goal scoring charts. Let’s not forget, either, we’re in the quarter finals of the League Cup. A tie with Newcastle United , and the bizarre possibility of being one step closer to European football, awaits.

This time last season, played 12, we were in thirteenth place and 8 points behind second placed Leeds United. We’d limped out of the League Cup at the first attempt, to Cambridge United.

Nice work, Sergi et al. We’re doing better than last season, in much tougher circumstances ! Frank IN ! The table doesn’t lie.

Then and now

So yes, it has been tough going the last few games. We’ve not fully found our feet, that’s for sure. In part it’s down to the environment. In part we’re still acclimatising to those departures and new arrivals. Still finding what the best option is. Still recovering from injuries that continue to come thick and fast – Ethan Pinnock was the latest to miss out this time around.

Perhaps, even, still getting over the play-off campaign. Urhghh, watching the awfulness of FulhamL on Sunday lunchtime as they made it 7(seven) defeats out of 9 games was an absolute kick to the nuts. They truly are dreadful – but enough about their penalty taking. Surely we’d have held our own heads higher and put in a better performance than that? Built on our squad rather than readjust to new starters.

It hasn’t been fun in recent games but my own personal take on it is that nobody deserves the torrent of abuse being directed at individuals or the team. We’re hardly in the same position as Wayne Rooney’s Derby County. The Bees aren’t losing, we’re better placed than this time last season and we’ve got a trip to Barnsley on Tuesday night. It won’t be easy but the Championship never is. For years it has been described as the most competitive and exciting in Europe. Few could deny the former this time around, even if recent games have been somewhat lacking on thrills.

Now bring on Barnsley. Then the small matter of a visit from the Shepherds Bush team……

Nick Bruzon

6 Responses to “Is our form all down to one player?”

  1. Simon Sapper November 23, 2020 at 8:18 am #

    Well said Nick! BCD games are necessary but boy, are they sucking joy out of the game. And I do just wish the authors of some of the, er, frustrated comments on social media put as much energy into thinking/doing something positive.

  2. Rod Davidson November 23, 2020 at 12:03 pm #

    What you say is fair, and we mustn’t lose sight of the steady progress we have made under Matthew Bentham over the last few years.
    We have some good quality players who are evidence of how far we have come during that time, and we have money in the bank as well. So all in all fantastic !
    But as fans we need to react to what we see, and far from being a ‘keyboard warrior ‘ there is also a truthful reaction out there – and that is only natural.
    That natural reaction is evident in the comments during recent live to air broadcasts.
    Let’s hope the ‘new’ five sub rule helps us to stabilise and get back the rhythm we are missing.
    We need certain players to step up to the mark. And hurry back Christian Noorgard, we desperately need you.

  3. Martin O'Brien November 23, 2020 at 2:48 pm #

    I stand by the opinion that Sergio is being made to suffer by playing an inverted winger role that he is less suited to than playing on the right. I also think he does a lot more than he gets credit for (though often from deeper or even off the ball). Given we are continuing the trend of increasingly relying on crosses, and that suits Ivan the Incredible, maybe it is time to try both wide men on their natural sides. I would certainly prefer it to any of the 4:4:2 variants that would shoe-horn the Forssful Marcus in. But heyho, what would I know, I’m just the numpty on……. (Edited for copyright purposes)

  4. Paul Fletcher November 23, 2020 at 2:48 pm #

    If our form is down to 1 player then that player is Said Benrahma. His absence goes a long way to explaining why we are not opening up defences with impunity as we did last year.
    The problem is we haven’t found a way (yet) of doing it without him and that will take time.
    I feel a certain sympathy for TF as the promise from the DOF’s that we will always leave transfer windows stronger than we entered them did not happen on this occasion and this needs to be put right in January,
    Yes injuries have played there part as has the decision to loan out players who might well have featured now the rules regarding substitutes has changed.(we couldn’t even fill the bench at WW ) !?
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I think blaming one person for our inability is wrong.
    There are a number of reasons why we are performing inconsistently and they need to be addressed by the individuals concerned .

  5. Brighton Bee November 23, 2020 at 4:54 pm #

    I agree with Mr Fletcher. It is too easy to blame TF and yes, I have criticised his team selections and / or tactics in the past. However, I do feel the D of F have dealt him a bad hand by not improving the squad over the summer. The loss of Watkins and Benrahma would be a major blow for any team but Brentford seem to have suffered more than you would have expected. Toney is not a direct replacement for Watkins, I feel he is more of a “goal hanger” and to score goals he needs to be supplied with crosses / chances etc but for whatever reason our wide players and progressive midfielders have not been able to do that consistently this season. Have we changed our ethos or have we changed our style of play? At times I am not sure as flash’s of the brilliance we showed last year occasionally happen. For me Saturday was worse than the Boro game. To not be able to beat or at least dominate a team sitting near the bottom of the league is very poor. WW even had the luxury of leaving Akinfenwa on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes – I bet that doesn’t happen often! So, there has to be a massive improvement by all concerned this week, Barnsley on a cold Tuesday night in November is not for the faint hearted and Fridays game against the lot from West London is a must win. I am really hoping that the Head Coach and his many under performing players can pull it round this week. C’mon you Reds!!

  6. Max November 23, 2020 at 5:24 pm #

    Sergi has been a great player for brentford over the years and does not deserve the stick he is getting. However the inverted winger position clearly doesn’t suit him and ghoddos who appears to be signed as saids replacement needs more time and more minutes on the pitch to adapt and maybe a midfield role is better for him at the moment. Surely it’s time for fosu Henry to get a run in the team. However you look at it we have not found a system for the players that we have and time us running out.

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