Do this again and the next game will be brutal. The next game will be brackets.

27 Dec

Is there a way to dress that up? Can Brentford take any consolation in the no show at Brighton (sadly, we don’t mean the home fans). What next for the visit of Manchester City on Wednesday evening? With Pep Guardiola’s team bracketing Leeds United the other week and then falling one short of the magical 7(seven) against Leicester City themselves, that one has all the potential to be a turkey shoot if the Bees don’t find whatever was missing at the Amex. Starting a game without Vitaly Janely (covid) and Rico Henry (hamstring) was always going to be tough. Moreso, given the longer term injuries felt by David Raya and Kris Ajer. Yet, yet, yet surely we could have offered something, anything, more than a first half so laid back as to be practically horizontal. Beautifully taken first-half goals by Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay (of course, although kudos to the man for his own reaction and post-match comments) were the least Brighton deserved but by the time Brentford got their arse into gear, it was too little too late.

Neal. Class, as ever

There are no words to really describe how frustrating this one was. Bryan Mbeumo limped off with little more than a half hour gone whilst Matthias Jensen was pulled off with the tea cups still being thrown around the dressing room at half-time. The makeshift defence having twice held open the door for Brighton to seize the initiative and put this one beyond reached after the initial threat that Brentford had been hinting at disappeared into the ether. By the time we rediscovered our mojo in the second half, the game had already been put to bed. Robert Sánchez in goal for the Seagulls preserving their dignity when Baptiste and Pinnock got the ball goalwards.

Having now caught up on the highlights, it feels even more deflating than seeing it at the time.

The legs, as much as the door, held open for the second goal

Perhaps we have been spoiled this season. Perhaps it is as much the fact that, at times, we’ve made the step up to the Premier League look easy. Perhaps games like this – whether outclassed or just not showing up – were always going to happen. Likewise, there is the dreaded Covid factor to factor in. An added element of pot luck to chuck into the mix of trying to prepare for big games with key names already absent. 

I’m certainly not in the doom and gloom camp – anything but. Prior to this we’d had two wins, two draws and a solitary defeat in our previous five league games. It could, probably, should have been three wins but for the 95th moment up at Leeds United. The only performance of real concern being that one at Spurs. This ranked alongside it. Alongside Burnley away. Signs as much has anything else that the Premier League is just so, so tough. Play slightly below your best and watch that gulf in class unfold into a gaping chasm.

We don’t generally do match reports on these pages. Not huge ones, anyway. Besides, we’ve all seen the game – whether at the Amex of c/o our friends at Sky. Thanks a bunch, again. Instead of regurgitating what we all know (albeit the player feature will be up later) , it is as much about where we go from here. Manchester City, Aston Villa and Liverpool (a) are next up in the league. Assuming, of course, Covid doesn’t do its thing in either camp. They’re going to be as tough a set if fixtures as they come. One could almost argue they are games with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Moreso given we know that Christian Norgaard will also be on the casualty list for the City game, given his (soft) yellow card now takes him to five and a mandatory one game ban. 

Certainly, there’s a chance for a midfield bereft of him and Vitaly to either crank it up a notch or be brutally exposed. Given the current popularity and wayward form of his Danish international team mate, one can guess which way supporter feeling will be leaning. 

The pace of Rico Henry was another crucial dimension to our game missing last night. Here’s hoping his stint on the sidelines is as short as possible albeit hamstring injuries don’t, as a rule, cure themselves overnight. On the plus side, Shandon Baptiste is really adjusting to this level well and looking more and more exciting with each game. Had Sanchez not been equal to his effort early in the second half we could well have been sitting here in a different frame of mind today. But we aren’t. That’s not how football works.

So close – Brentford ‘official’ capture the moment on their Twitter feed

Crying over being below par won’t help us recover. It certainly won’t help us against Manchester City on Wednesday. Just about the toughest job in football – stopping pep Guardiola – will only become ten times harder if we aren’t all fully on it.

So, yes, it was a terrible performance. No question. It shouldn’t take that long to get out of first gear – at any level. But it is the Premier league and the game is now over. We put it to bed, file it under b and move on.

Here’s to Wednesday. Here’s to some good news on the health front. Here’s to Manchester City. Here’s to emulating one of my all time favourite football moments. Perhaps…… See you there.

The quintessential Brentford FA Cup image

Nick Bruzon 


7 Responses to “Do this again and the next game will be brutal. The next game will be brackets.”

  1. Brighton Bee December 27, 2021 at 11:00 am #

    I agree with your comments Nick, last night was really poor, the worst since that abysmal display at Loftus Road last year. The improved second half display shouldn’t fool anyone – we look nowhere near the team that started the season so well. Injuries, COVID,suspensions, the absence of an established right back and the lack of investment in quality resources are all starting to show. I sincerely hope the D of F has resources lined up in January to come in and help the remaining members of our team as some of them look as though they are running on empty.

    The only bonus for me last night was that I didn’t have far to get home after the game!

    On Wednesday against Man City I would like us to start the game on the front foot and by that I mean be aggressive, get in their faces, leave your foot in, upset their balance and generally just go for it. We might as well get beat really trying rather than just sitting back in banks of four letting them dictate the play, picking us off at will.

    Like you, I am not in the doom and gloom camp but personally I would like to see us ditch the over cautious sideways passing out from the back system that has become the way that all stereotyped PL teams seem to play, it’s more like a game of chess and it’s totally boring. Brentford won games at the start of the season by being different, catching established PL teams off guard with playing the game on the front foot with quick incisive passing with 2 players up front. We need to get back to that way of playing asap to build on what we have already achieved.

  2. Max December 27, 2021 at 12:24 pm #

    Totally agree with you nick . However if we are honest the quality hasn’t been in the performances for a while now ,spirit and togetherness got us the results with Watford and Leeds, luck got us the result with Everton. Last nights performance wasn’t good and we do need to bring players into this squad as well as get players back from injury asap ,it appear to me that we have had half a season in the prem now and we have 12 players who are able to play in the prem and a couple of back up players that only seem to play well as sub.The cover goalkeeper appears to be ok to me but every team in this league has a very good goalkeeper, so ok is not good enough. As always this is a very well run football club and I am sure their is a plan in place .Also is it just me or has the price of any player we are interested in doubled now we are a prem team .

    • Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) December 27, 2021 at 3:53 pm #

      I think the answer Max to your points is yes, yes, and yes

      At the moment we are looking like a Championship side playing Cup games against Premier opposition. Granted, our injury list is ridiculous. 19 of our Premier squad have missed games due to injury or Covid. We have got by for the best part of the season with our Championship players. Alvaro is not the answer. I dont think hes tall enough, commanding enough, lacks decision making qualities, and struggles horrifically on his left side. Gunnarsson may be an option come the Villa game. We do need players next month, maybe 3 or 4. Players who are brave and will press and take chances. But the most worrying thing is Wednesday. At home to the Champions and leaders, who are bang on form, and we will possibly be without Rico & Bryan as well as Norgaard, Vitaly and the rest of the long term absentees. Im genuinely fearful of the outcome of Wednesday, and thats something I have never said before. We need a 21st century Gary Blissett!

      • Max December 27, 2021 at 5:02 pm #

        I agree we need 3 or 4 but it’s Difficult to bring in 1 player at the moment, maybe we will need to change policy temporarily and bring in a couple if loan players to plug holes .The goalkeeper position has to be the priority because our opponents are on to it and growing in confidence against us. It will be interesting to see how the d of f,s get us through this.

  3. Alan Yates December 27, 2021 at 10:10 pm #

    I was at the cup tie against City when we won against the odds, we played against Liverpool in the following round and lost as expected. We are playing City next in the Premier league soon to be followed by Liverpool, hopefully get some points from the 2 games, keeping my fingers crossed.

  4. Bill Smith aged 76 and a supporter for 65 years. December 28, 2021 at 3:39 pm #

    One of the things that frustrates me is the lack of up-to-date information on the injured players. We badly need to get some players back from injury but it just isn’t happening. As each game approaches I look for news about the return of important players but, so far, nothing. I wish the club would keep the fans better informed.

    • nickbruzon December 28, 2021 at 4:00 pm #

      I guess the logic here is that if the fans know then the opposition know. Could be interesting come 7.15 though…

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