Josh a rare Raya sunshine on an otherwise dreadful day.

6 Feb

At least we can concentrate on the league…. There you go. Tick. That said, it would be nice if Brentford could concentrate on actual defending because dial in anywhere near that level of backline based ineptitude against Manchester City on Wednesday night and it’s going to get grammatical (if you know what I mean). Do we need to spell it out? Brackets!! Brentford gave Frank Lampard the most generous of debuts as Frank Lampard’s Everton went through to the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday afternoon. A 4-1 victory for the Toffees the result that, as ever, doesn’t tell half the story. Thankfully. Lampard given the warmest of welcomes by the Bees in the most miserable of conditions. It was wretched. Dismal. Dank. Overcast. The weather was shite too, matching the performance of our centre backs as the goals rained in.   

Two goals conceded from corners. Nobody moving to try and direct the ball outwards for either.  The second corner in particular an absolute horror show as Mads Bech elected to head the ball goalwards and right into the path of Mason Holgate – one of several unmarked players btw. The Everton man making no mistake from close in but, then again, presented such an opportunity even Ian Moose might have come close to an early birthday present (tomorrow is the day). Possibly. 

If you pause the highlights, you can see the defensive masterclass in full effect

It was the nail in the coffin of a relatively even game which Ivan Toney had pulled us back into with a trade mark penalty for 2-1 down and then come painfully close to levelling things up. Brentford had been in the ascendency at that point. The travelling support sensing the chance to reassert ourselves into a cup tie that had looked like getting away from us.

This, after Yerry Mina had been left unchallenged in a first half corner routine and danger man Allan (hey, we did say before) freed Richarlison to burst clear with the second half barely minutes old. David Raya (not a typo !!!!!!) in nets left cruelly exposed and despite rushing off his line, unable to stop the lead being doubled.

Raya was back – and played the whole game

Ah yes, David Raya. The cheer from the few Brentford fans pitch side when his name was announced at 2pm (the crowded vomitories a much better idea in hindsight) was louder than anything our hosts mustered most of the game. It was a strangely lacklustre atmosphere, with the singing not even starting until the third goal had rained in. Not even as the teams entered the pitch to the shrill whistling of the theme tune from TV’s Z-Cars. Dogs left howling at the moon all around Goodison.

It should have set the mood for the messiah but instead, the mood felt more one of caution amongst a fanbase who hadn’t seen their team take the lead since October 23rd 2020. They needn’t have worried. It’s Brentford, inniit. Our defending of – and also, for the record, taking – set pieces as atrocious as it comes. And has been for much of the season. Long throws are predictable. Free kicks tepid. Corners need to be headed clear. Not watched. 

Ethan Pinnock had been named initially at 2pm before going awol when the players came out and the team sheet recirculated. No idea what happened here. Late Covid test ( sadly, Bryan also missed out after testing positive for the dreaded c word  once more)? Dressing room bust up? Fat fingered typos from ‘official’? Whatever the reason, his aerial presence was missed. Much like our attempts to head the ball clear. Mads and Pontus amongst those who really won’t want to watch this one back but should be forced to, in full. Twice.

Now you see him, now you don’t

Poor Alvaro Fernandez. The stick he has taken. Understandably for a lot of it (oh, that Liverpool backpass thing alone) but perhaps not just down to one man as the frenzied mob on Twitter may have you believe.

Look, at least David Raya was back. Being honest, I didn’t expect him. Surely this was too soon with just 60 minutes of a friendly under his belt? Apparently not. Seeing him warm up was reason alone to brave the elements rather than go backstage for that prematch pint. Oh, the throws, The catches. The confidence. His distribution once things got going for real was reason enough to feel the optimism coursing through the veins even moreso than usual. That we were back to our old selves.  Then he was sold up the river as the midfield and defence invited Everton to help themselves.

The other huge plus point was the return of Josh Dasilva. My word, his twenty minute cameo late on was about as welcome as they get. Not just the relief in seeing him back out there for the first time this season but, like David Raya, the comfort with which he slipped straight back in. The excitement he engenders. The optimism he inspires. That ‘next level’ movement on the ball. “Shoooot’ implored the crowd as he worked it round the edge of a crowded penalty box. Alas, it didn’t come this time. Instead, the net only rippled at the other end when Andros Townsend was invited to administer one final, injury time kick to the private parts of the Brentford faithful. Down and now very much out. Out of the cup. Out of the game. Out of the misery of desperately hanging on for a late goal then last gasp blitzkrieg assault. Of David Raya heading home for 3-3 on 90+4.

Ahh. One can dream. Instead, we endured a living nightmare.

Look – I hate to put the boot into our team. We’ve made the step up to top flight football with a largely Championship side (Kris Ajer aside). We’ve mostly held our own, too. I don’t care for getting upset about our transfer policy. Keep on shouting into the echo chamber of social media, kids. It won’t change what or how we do things. It certainly won’t change the ability of those players out there to show some guts. Show some fire in the belly when under the cosh.

And they didn’t do that yesterday. Not even close.

Everton were there for the taking. Instead, we offered them hope, comfort and the ball. They took all three gifts and fully deserved to win the game. You could see them grow from strength to strength as the Bees became shakier and shakier. No sour grapes there. Well played. I just wish Brentford could have done similar.

sledgehammer like unsubtlty to show how shaky we were

The other way to look at this was that the game was a ‘free hit’. True, we’ve fuelled the Frank Lampard hype train which nobody needs (and it will be interesting to see if this goes on to become a flash in the pan or solid foundations) but haven’t, actually, dropped any points. If we were going to go ‘full abject’ then at least this was the time to do it rather than when chasing a top ten finish.  

The league table still sees us in 14th place with Watford and Burnley drawing 0-0 in their much postponed game last night. We’ve got another free hit on Wednesday evening with the trip to Manchester City. Nobody outside TW8 expects anything of us given their all conquering squad, form and current performance levels. The team are 9 points clear at the top of the Premier League with Liverpool the closest to think about about trying to hang on to their coat tails. They’ll win the league at a canter. You don’t need to be Nostradmus to see that. The only question being if Brentford can possibly slow them down.

Play like this and there’s no hope. It’ll take more than Josh, David and Christian Eriksen (who only arrives in West London today). Forget the set piece coach. We might need an actual coach on the goal line. Yet if Thomas can do his usual ‘dwell on it for 24 hours only’ thing then move on, who knows what might happen? We’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. This is the chance to truly test ourselves at the very highest level. On the toughest of stages. 

Don’t expect any formation rejig. Three CB has been the way we’ve played all season – and the back end of last.

Manchester City away is not the place to experiment.

Manchester City away IS the place to up your performance levels and, at Everton, they were sub zero. 

No more said. We all know. We were all there (well, 2.300 of us). We’ve all seen the highlights although here if you want to torture yourself again they’re here. We can’t change what happened. We can change what comes next. 

Now bring on City.  

It all looked so good pre kick off

Nick Bruzon


14 Responses to “Josh a rare Raya sunshine on an otherwise dreadful day.”

  1. Paul Klein February 6, 2022 at 8:58 am #

    There are always positives in any situation so having Reya and Dasilva back was great to see. As loyal a supporter as I am I have to admit that I wasn’t surprised as the alerts started coming in for the Everton goals…. Even if you’re not at the match in question you can see it playing out in your head as it’s the same sequence of events every match. We miss what chances we have and as soon as we come under any pressure at the other end we are behind.
    Yes it’s true we are a championship side in terms of the quality of players but when you watch the top championship sides they get the basics right. Look at yesterday for example at the two headed goals, why is the shortest player on the pitch marking the tallest player in the pitch?, why are our defenders always not goal side when they are tracking a run?, why is our ratio of chances to goals still going down. What do they do all week on the training pitch. I don’t know if you’ve ever done this but in the warm up have a look at the session where they shoot on goal from 15 or so yards out…. It’s embarrassing.
    When the move to Lionel Road was announced we were told that this would generate the levels of revenue required to purchase quality players which in turn would generate success and in turn attract other quality players. Where are those players… name one player of premier league quality that has arrived at the club (apart from the rehabilitation case… welcome though he is). When you watch other Premier league teams, even those below us they have players who when they get the ball you know something is going to happen. When you watch us, let’s be honest here what is the usual outcome?… we give the ball away, an over hit final ball, or a scuffed, missed chance to score.
    I spoke to a very high ranking person at the club at the Stoke league cup match so it wasn’t that long ago , and he didn’t think there were any issues, that we were going to carry on as we were and we would stay up.
    It’s so disappointing that after the initial couple of months every match is now following the same script and the players have not improved since being promoted.
    Let’s end on a positive note though and hope that with our injured players back and the addition of a quality midfielder things start to improve.

  2. Brighton Bee February 6, 2022 at 9:22 am #

    I kind of agree with Paul Klein. It is to the clubs credit that they have stuck by the players who got us up. But after the early season euphoria it was obvious that we do not possess PL quality players who are going to help the club push on. The lack of activity in the latest transfer window was not totally surprising as the club have never done a lot of business in this window, always blaming high prices associated with the lack of quality players available. However, it is obvious that this team needs help, not total re building but help. For me, a real example of this need is at RWB where the continued lack of a Dalsgaard replacement is a mute point with a lot of supporters. We have looked weak on the right hand side all season and Roerslev is not PL quality and neither is Canos as a RWB. I was not impressed with PG’s reasoning in his latest interview regarding the transfer window. I think he and MB have crunched the numbers and believe they can stay up by getting say four more wins by beating the likes of Burnley, Newcastle, Norwich, Palace etc with the current squad. It’s a risky strategy but I guess that’s what being a gambler is all about. I really hope the returning players and CE can help turn this current appalling run around but it’s going to be a nervy end of season based on their current form and application.

    • hobbo February 6, 2022 at 5:28 pm #

      Some perspective on transfers required lads, we bid 29 mil for 2 players did we not ? plus i believe another 8/9 mil for the Brazilian full back that went to Monaco, if club or player refuses hardly PG or MB fault and as for Dalsgaard ,good attacking full back but would have got roasted defensively in the prem in my opinion.

      • Mark February 6, 2022 at 7:53 pm #

        Very much Giles and Benhams doing in my opinion.Fact is that we are not and have not been very good at ‘plan B’ in recent years.We are now seeing the fruit of that, locked into a 3-5-2 formation that is clearly not working .They should be looking at multiple targets in case the one they’ve pinned their hopes and league status on falls through.Loaning out fringe players in positions we are short of seems like a mad decision too. Hopefully they will be vindicated in their decision making come may.It will be genius with a touch of luck.

  3. MARK February 6, 2022 at 10:31 am #

    It wasn’t a great defensive performance once again and I have said this before and you disagreed, Sorensen is an awful defender, constantly out of position, can’t jump and head a ball, no problems passing backwards though, not even up to the Championship as a defender but clearly a TF favourite and t with Goode now out on loan, (brilliant eh) there you go, and as for Jenson, he has his moments but another one that that is clearly out of his depth and who should be on the bench to be used as a stop gap, he’s just not good enough.
    Not bothered about Man City, thats a nailed on loss, but it’s the games prior to and after Arsenal, with Palace, Newcastle, Norwich & Burnley, TF needs to sort it or the sleep walk to the Championship will continue.
    Clearly Raya and Josh was brilliant to see back playing and with Eriksen coming in, that will knock Jensen back out of the side, we may just get over the line but these awful defense mistakes have got stop.

  4. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) February 6, 2022 at 11:31 am #

    A struggling Premier League side (yes we are with 5 defeats out of 6) would normally use the first game of February to show 1 or 2 of the players signed to help them stop the rot and push them up the table. But when you sign a 2nd/3rd choice keeper and a player who has not walked onto a pitch since the summer, our faults continue to be obvious to everyone. Our defence dreadful, Sorensen absolutely shocking, still no quality right back, midfield anonymous, and Sergi, definitely not a striker.

    It was a free hit as you said. A great opportunity to bring Raya back. Wonderful to see, but very rusty. Caught out of position twice, but whose distribution is still better than any other keeper we have. With a competitive 90 mins in the bank, he will go into Wednesday with added confidence. Then there was Josh, WOW!!! Just 15 mins on the pitch, yet he was a level above anyone else we had. He looks Premier League already. Its so what we needed. Josh would not look out of place in one of the Big 6. The moment he threaded through a couple of short passes on the edge of the Everton box gave me chills. With Josh in the side, both Ivan & Bryan are going to benefit hugely.

    But generally that doesnt hide the awful performance from everyone else. When you see Kidderminster, Plymouth & Boro make a really good fist of it and made big Premier sides work really hard, we did literally nothing. Everton were there for the taking. New manager, nervous players, a silent Goodison, with Everton starting very tentatively. Then we gifted them goals. Goal 1. Poor marking. MBS & Raya static. Goal 2. Beaten for pace. MBS & Pontus. Raya not having the confidence to go in and possibly get hurt. Goal 3. WTF was MBS doing? Goal 4. I had already stopped watching.

    Wednesday is terrifying. Since we met City at Xmas, we are so much worse. Im assuming we will still be without Bryan & Wissa as they recover from Covid, so expect Sergi to be up front again although why not just go with NYC? Ethan will be back after his Caribbean jaunt & needs to go straight in at MBS’s expense. Rather than risk a 90 mins, lets have 30 mins from Josh with a start against Palace, and with Raya now back between the sticks, lets hope we dont need Alvaro or Lossl again!

  5. Mayber February 6, 2022 at 11:33 am #

    Brentford are a club that have a coach for everything including a sleep coach so I am told .I have a small suggestion to make how about a defending set piece coach .Also most people would change to 4 at the back but if we do not do that how about ajer as right wing back ,whatever we do a change is needed ad we are playing like a beaten team at present .On the plus side obviously David and josh but also Ivan scored again and we still have most of the teams below us to play at home and that is what will decide our season.

  6. Mark February 6, 2022 at 11:47 am #

    Very,very disappointing.Not sure that we can pinpoint the blame of the shambles we are fast becoming at the players or the coaches feet.Cant help but feel that they have been dealt a rough hand.A lot of our players look out of their depth at this level and getting them to play this 3-5-2 system isn’t helping their confidence either.This isn’t Frank’s fault entirely either , you don’t become a bad coach over night.What I would say is that it is no coincidence that our downturn in form has coincided with the departure of what seems like the brains of the D.O.F outfit as (aside from the Erikson acquisition) it appears that no real effort or thought has been put into how we can evolve the squad or add different dimensions to it,thereby forcing players into positions unnatural to them (Toney looks a frustrated figure right about now,Canos isn’t a wing back,Bryan isn’t a striker).In his interview a few days ago Giles looked as though he was just going through the motions,coming out with clichés that he has used time and again.Loaning out Goode,Thompson and Forrss could very much come back to bite us on the proverbial. If we get relegated (deep down I think we have enough about us to stay up) Giles will look like the Ernie Wise of his partnership with Ankerson.If we stay up Benham will look like the professional gambler of all professional gamblers we all suspectthat he is.Next season regardless of what league we’re in we need to have a rethink of our scouting/negotiating strategies.

  7. Rob February 6, 2022 at 12:02 pm #

    At the end of the day it has to be a belief and confidence thing. The same bunch of players were performing like a true PL side in the first 10 games of the season. Injuries and Covid disrupted all that and we havent recovered despite players coming back. That front foot, move the ball on the ground, great 1st touch football we were playing has dried up. The MF are deep, the defence worried about making mistakes which get punished more often than not in this league and opting for safety, and going long to Toney and Bryan and hoping it sticks. They cut an isolated pair upfront. If you rember last season and that shock defeat by Barnsley at home we were all at sea for a good 10 games until finally we changed the formation and gradually we got our mojo back. Off the back of long stinky runs weve changed the formation and that has had positive effects. We have to try something different because weve been doing the same thing now for a number of weeks/months with the same results and we’re just not creating chances like we did. I just thing we’ve worryingly moved away from a syle of football that has served us so well for many years to a percentage 50 yard long ball and hoping something sticks

    • Max February 6, 2022 at 12:28 pm #

      Agree ,it seems that every season this change of formation thing happens and that we are poor until the change happens ,although do think that Bryan is better as a striker t,the lack of a recognised right full back all season is a bad show and maybe the arsenal game made sergi look more at home there than he is .Then Rasmussen scores a goal in a motm performance on the TV and follows it up with 4 nervous performances .I would try ajer their until we get a proper one .but surely its time for 4 at the back.

      • Max February 6, 2022 at 5:33 pm #

        Sorry ment Roeslev

  8. Rod Davidson February 6, 2022 at 5:27 pm #

    Well Thomas, we have just come through the international break – said the interviewer, what did you get up to ?
    Well I carried on writing my book but seem to have a bit of writers block at the moment.
    You see the plot was set and I had no problems with the first chapters but although the plot is not quite lost, it does need a dramatic rethink – I think.
    Yes I can see that – said man from the BBC – Your main hero cannot pull the trigger as he seems starved of ammunition. Why is that ? Well when we raided the Arsenal we only came away with blanks and not the fire crackers I had hoped for. So who’s fault was that ? Difficult to say really but I do need to fill the pages of my book, don’t I ?

  9. Rob Osborne February 6, 2022 at 7:26 pm #

    Think you’re being a bit negative here Nick. I was at the game with my son and his friend and i was pleased to be there .its Everton ffs. We competed against a side that have paid is it £500m on players in recent years and have a history of success way supeiror to our own. Yet we are above them in the league at the moment.

    Let have a senae of realism please. We didnt play that well but could have still won if things had gone our way about the 55 minute mark when we were 2-1 down. Also the whole mood is likely to be transformed by JDS and CE coming in.

    Please don’t go down the bipolar twitterati route. I always had you down as a solid silver-lining true bees fan.

    • hobbo February 7, 2022 at 3:54 pm #

      No Rob Its spelt twatterati for obvious reasons.

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