Are we really looking to press the button? Or choose a pen?

24 Jan

And let’s all relax. Winter break is upon us. We’ve no football for a fortnight. A time for Brentford to take stock, complete any transfer business before the window shuts (come on already Christian Eriksen) and then we’re back to it. The FA Cup tie with Everton followed by the trip to Manchester City in the league, a visit from Crystal Palace and then off to the Highbury library for Arsenal. Nobody said it was easy, that’s for sure. Yet off the back of several defeats (a sequence that includes losses to Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and a very strong Wolves team in the last thirty days) I’ve started to see mutterings of panic on these pages – in the comments – and also social media. Quelle surprise…. Here’s the question though. Is it time to press the big, red panic button?

Fingers at the ready

Cripes, one commentator even posted he would expect us to beat ‘teams like’ Brighton and Southampton. Teams like. Teams.. Like….…. Insert Picard emoji. The simple fact of the matter is that there are no easy games at this level. The standard of goalkeeping we have come up against is like nothing we’ve seen before. Mendy and De Gea in particular but they are not alone in the elite ‘keepers club. Whereas in the Championship we got a dozen chances per game and generally scored two or three of these, we’ve stepped up the ladder and how.

There have been some wonderful performances and we’re fourteenth everyone. Fourteenth. Out of twenty. Look at the precarious state Burnley are in if you want panic. The slide that Everton are on. Managerial sackings and more shots on target against Aston Villa from the crowd than the first team. Kids, don’t throw things.

There have also been some shockers. Burnley, Southampton and Brighton away in particular. You can’t be ‘any good’ every game and it’s true that when we’ve been off the pace we’ve been awful. There’s the 100% attention that is needed every game and at times we’ve been off it. Yet still with a team that is, mostly, made up of Championship players. Kris Ajer being the only new signing to regularly feature in the starting XI. A team that is missing one of the best goalkeepers in the division and whom we have really struggled to replace. The importance of David Raya cannot be underestimated. The confidence he exudes. The shot stopping ability. The distribution.

David Raya has been missed

Failing to replace / cover at full back has been the other, obvious, key difference. We love Sergi Canos but so much better to play him higher up. We can’t when Rico is out. The goals scored by Wolves all emanating down that side of the pitch. Mads Roerslev has impressed but his is only a recent emergence. Oh to have persuaded Henrik to stick around for one more campaign.

We’ve been decimated by covid and injury. We’re also missing Josh Dasilva. If he returns next month and Christian Eriksen joins us too, suddenly the central midfield options look magnificent. We’ve two and a half weeks until the next Premier league fixture. Plenty of time to regroup and recharge. Transfer business, if any, will be minimal.

Ultimately, we’ve had a wobbly run. No question. We’ve looked patchy at times. No question. We’re still playing a more all-round team set up rather than channelling everything through Ivan Toney. The yards he is covering from box to box are immense. Equally the performances of Bryan, Rico and Christian Norgaard have been magnificent. They’ve made the step up look oh so simple. David Raya, too, until that injury against Leicester City.

We’re not far off getting back to our best. The difference is marginal but that small gap does feel like a gulping chasm at times. Looking back to February 2021, I remember the meltdown after we’d lost against Coventry City up at St. Andrews. It was as poor a performance as we’d seen all season. We’d played three games more than Swansea City who were tucked right up behind us in third place. The wailing and gnashing of teeth, especially form a certain clique, was up there with the most ridiculous things we’d ever seen. Cripes, imagine if Twitter had been around in the Rosenior / Butcher eras.  The Swans responded just a few hours later by getting thumped by Huddersfield and going on an equally poor run themselves. Parity restored and the reminder delivered that a season is determined by results over 46 (now 38) games. Not from a snapshot in time when spirits are, understandably, low.

That’s the same now. We aren’t at Coventry levels but the mutterings are definitely creeping in. Genuinely, I’m so unphased and laid back as to be almost horizontal. I’m loving Premier League life and want this to continue as long as is possible. The return of Raya and Dasilva will be huge. Christian Eriksen putting pen to paper next level craziness. Perhaps some cover at full-back would calm a few frayed nerves. It might also give us the option to revert to a more traditional back four and strengthen higher up the pitch. Beyond this, I’d be amazed if there’s any further activity before that window ‘slams shut’ ™.

Wolves were so strong on Saturday. They’re also eighth for a reason. Please do take a look at the player review, which you can find here / below. If nothing else, it tries to take a more considered view over the course of the campaign as to where those strengths lie.

Until then, time for some calm. Time to reflect on just what we’ve already achieved this campaign. Time to look forward to those games at Arsenal and Manchester City. Tickets for the former going on sale today.

Enjoy. See you there. Until then. Perhaps a few days off. At least, until Christian Eriksen signs. Whichever pen he uses….. 😉

photoshop skills don’t match imagination

Nick Bruzon


7 Responses to “Are we really looking to press the button? Or choose a pen?”

  1. Garry Shrimpton January 24, 2022 at 7:29 am #

    We have been unlucky with injuries I completely agree, but it doesn’t change the fact we are unable to do the basics right currently.

    We left soft goals in, and we haven’t been taking our chances when they come along. That’s a recipe for disaster.

    Why that is I don’t know, but it will cost you at any level you play at. We need to get that sorted, and quickly, or it’s going to be a nervy end to the season for us.

    Wolves were there for the taking on Saturday, and we came away with nothing.

    • Ben January 24, 2022 at 8:10 am #

      Wolves season ticket holder in peace… everything that you and Nick have said is true… the crux of all this is though is that you are 14th in the table. I remember those heady days of league 1 when we both battled it out at the top. Fast forward to now and I think we would both of snatched anyones hand of to be where we are. Wolves have had the benefit of more finances and a longer time in the prem…. Do not press that button yet.. always enjoy Nick’s articles.. keep up the good work. I had a wry smile after the second game when both teams during both meetings were wasting time to get over the line.. I hope you stay up, good luck for the rest of the season.

  2. Max January 24, 2022 at 8:50 am #

    Totally agree nick ,we are missing david (most of season) henrik and josh from last season along with long absences from others at times it’s been a struggle .However overall we are doing well and still have to play all the teams below us at home ,do well in theese games and we will be ok .

  3. David Carney January 24, 2022 at 10:31 am #

    At the beginning off the season I reckon just about every Brentford supporter would have been delighted to have seen Brentford in the position they are now. There is no point in arguing that there are injuries because that happens to every team every season. the skill is to work around the injuries, the individual loss of form, covid and do it better than the opposition.
    Easy said, but far more difficult to achieve, particularly in the Premier League. What Brentford have done and will continue do is quite remarkable given the resources available.
    It is highly unlikely that Brentford will drop into the Championship, but if they do, then they will be straight back up and stronger, just as they will be stronger next season in the PL.
    It is so very easy to criticise, but what does that achieve – nothing at best.
    When Brentford hit a slump last season the same people predicting any chance of promotion to the PL etc are probably the the same people now suggesting relegation.
    Your comments are valid and your “almost horizontal” position should be adopted by all supporters.

    • hobbo January 24, 2022 at 2:14 pm #

      Chill our clubs in safe hands even if we get relegated ,nuff said.

      • Gazza Bees FC January 24, 2022 at 9:24 pm #

        YEP Quite right, 59 years for me and we have NEVER been run this Well, younger fans who have only seen success Don’t understand and are impatient, we have lost all our better players through bad luck at important times, kept going and I believe.
        Defo need a new good wing back on both sides and a bit of close down training as too many goals from just outside the box, but we will be fine and stronger next season 😁😁😁

      • hobbo January 25, 2022 at 10:50 pm #

        Sorry but just to prove my point ,Derby County anyone .Na thought not.

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