A brutal evening ends with a reset needed for Sunday.

12 Jan

Where to even start with any of that ? Brentford were humped 4-1 at Southampton in a game that saw a sub-Burnley level of frustration. Even Vitaly Janelt comparing it to Brighton in his own post match comments to ‘official’. In a season packed with so many giddy highs, this truly was as moribund and frustrating an experience as they come. Moreso, given that on paper the return of Kris Ajer and a central midfield of Janelt, Norgaard and Baptiste should have given us as strong a heart as they come. Instead, there was no answer to the hosts combination of fast pressing and long balls forward. With Liverpool next up on Sunday, dial in even half as close a performance – and the word is used in the loosest sense – and we’re going to be in trouble. Regardless of who they have missing at the African Cup of Nations.

Thomas acknowledges the fans at Full Time

We’ve all seen it, I’m sure. Whether through being there, the re-run that began at 9pm or via the video highlights that are now online. Go dig them out, if you must. I have but wish I hadn’t. What felt painful last night looks even worse in the cold light of day. Southampton on top of us at all times and not giving Brentford any chance to breath. Pushing. Pressing. Chasing. Closing us down. Winning just about every second ball. The Bees adopting a much more zonal set up, in that we seemed to be playing in a different time zone. The fetid whiff of 2006/07 and Rosenior-Butcher hanging over the team like a bad smell. Defence awol. The freedom of Saint Marys being handed to our hosts time and again. My word, they punished us. Hard. 

The first goal conceded within minutes. A corner flicked over and through the entire Bees defence. Yes, it was a fast ball but nobody reacted. Nobody got close to even trying to attack it, Ivan Toney aside. He and Fernandez offering little resistance to Jan Bednarek. Urghhh. 

Yet then Brentford hit that little patch of hope. First Vitaly levelling up with the most exquisite left footed volley, his leg at right angles to the pitch, after picking out a ball from Bryan. Then, the same man forcing Fraser-Frster to go full stretch. Promising. Might we actually show the spirit seen so often? The fire and guts that hauled us back time and again when Liverpool came to visit? That roared us on to the last minute at West Ham? 

Err, no. Ibrahima Diallo ligning himself up for a shot on the edge of the box that was predictable as the outcome inevitable. Nobody charged him down or even tried. The merest of shrugs from Ethan as the ball went past another Fernandez dive that didn’t, quite, reach the ball (longer gloves needed? Better positioning?). Either way, he shouldn’t have been beaten on his inside post and even though saved by the post, the ball ricocheted straight into his hand and the back of the net. Urghhh. Hearts sank. Half time came. Surely we’d start at 100 mph? Surely?

Alas not. A long ball forward caught Pontus short. 3-1. A long ball forward caught Pontus short. 4-1. He wasn’t alone btw. The entire defence awol for most of the game. The nonchalant fannying around cross the box lucky not to hurt us further. A brief flurry at the end where Bryan, Wissa and Ivan came close was far too little, far too late.  An absolute 0 out of 10 performance from Brentford, even despite the ref moment of joy elicited by Vitaly’s goal  

The biggest challenge of all then being after full time and attempting to complete the usual post-match piece where we find the top five Brentford performers. Well, I’ve done it on the way home and you can find that here. Please do go take a look. Let us know who, if anyone , missed out or should  / could have been included.   

The positives, if we can, being that this was very much out of character. This is Premier League football where no game is easy. The gaps for a team off their game likely to be exposed even more easily than at any other level we’ve played before. Likewise, one absolutely needs to acknowledge Southampton’s desire. Their drive. Their refusal to give us an inch. The difference bing that when faced with this approach before (e.g . Chelsea, home) we’ve generally hung firm at the back and avoided the avalanche. Not this time. Oh for a T-Rex last night. Or a defence. Or the ability to take the ball to our opponents. 

It happened. Its over. It was one game. No matter how unpalatable it felt at the time. Let’s never talk of their goals ever again and, instead, hope Thomas can pick the boys up in time for Liverpool on Sunday. Hope he can give us the Brentford that travelled to Wolves and West Ham so wonderfully. Not this.

On the plus side, if Rasmus Ankersen was looking to impress his new consortium in charge at Southampton with talent they may be interested in then they’d have laughed him out the ground. The wonderful recruitment strategy he was so instrumental in at Brentford offered up nothing more than … well, we get it. No point dwelling further. The frustration around was evident last night. Having slept on it, one has to remember what this team can do when they are on it. 

Was Rasmus in the boardroom or on security?

Over to you Thomas. Can you get us back to our best for Liverpool?  One thing’s for sure, I can’t wait to find out. Bring it on and see you there.

In the meantime, that ‘heat of the moment’ post-match analysis is here. Go strap on a tin hat…

Nick Bruzon   

5 Responses to “A brutal evening ends with a reset needed for Sunday.”

  1. Gordon January 12, 2022 at 9:04 am #

    Very well written a good account of the match. Brentford have not become a poor team over night. Tony was very lucky not to have been shown a red a poor performance bullied through out by Salisu. Ajer rusty not on his game we seamed to be playing a zonal defence which got taken apart. We will survive as the poor teams are a hell of a lot worse.

  2. Paul Klein January 12, 2022 at 10:02 am #

    It was a very disappointing display especially defensively which wasn’t even Championship standard in terms of marking and anticipation. It was also worrying that apart from Da Silva and Henry that was our best team. I think the January window now takes on more significance and if we don’t get in a right back a central defender, creative midfielder and goal scorer, all of Premier League experience we could find ourselves in trouble very soon. On the plus side Janet continues to improve and impress, I though he was our best performer and although a number of our team don’t have premier league quality you can’t fault their effort.

  3. Rod Davidson January 12, 2022 at 12:01 pm #

    There is still a lot of goodwill out there for what the players and the club have achieved this season. But that was abysmal.
    Before we let Marcus Forss go out on loan we should look at how we can use him to help an isolated and frustrated Ivan Toney. If Ivan gets a red card – for goodness sake – what then ?

  4. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) January 12, 2022 at 1:05 pm #

    That was so painful last night, I left early, I havent done that since we lost 6-2 at home to Bristol Rovers in the Wally Downes era. It was truly that bad. No one came out of it with any distinction. Defence hopeless & missing. Midfield largely anonymous. Wing backs found wanting. Ivan his worst game and lucky not to be shown a red. Fernandez, im sorry, he is costing us too many goals, he has to make way for Lossl or even Gunnarsson, he is NOT a Premier standard keeper. Even the big away support was too shellshocked to raise any encouragement.

    The coaching team and Phil Giles need to sit down and work out where we can improve. Yes we need new signings, but its not as easy as the Twitterati think. Dont send Forss out on loan, having seen Ivan yesterday we need to keep hold of him for cover. A rethink is needed, maybe even a change of formation or tactics is needed too

  5. Robert John Lindsay January 13, 2022 at 4:33 pm #

    It was indeed a painful experience on the night 2nd to every ball and not winning 2nd balls. We did not summon up our usual mental resilience but these nights were predicted by many before the season started and how wrong were they. We must look at what has been achieved so far this season treat this non performance as a blip and move on.

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