Arsenal get cocky. Brentford go home empty handed. Next up, Newcastle…

20 Feb

Arsenal 2 Brentford 1. Defeat for the Bees but one which came with both good and bad. A game played out in a cracking atmosphere with the Bees fans getting stuck in and, unexpectedly, the home support actually making noise. Unexpectedly given their own reputation, our previous visit and the ‘noise’ (or lack of) already experienced this season in the games at Liverpool and Spurs. Big ground does not equal big volume, that’s for sure. Yet despite more empty seats than a studio recording of Mrs Brow… sorry, My Family, it stayed lively throughout. Even turning hilariously tetchy towards the end with one fan getting played like second hand fiddle. What is it about green jackets? Yet none of this bonhomie changes a nil return for Brentford. The forthcoming trio of games : Newcastle United (h), Norwich City (a), Burnley (h), now looking like they will play a key role in helping decide which of those clubs may go down aswell as giving a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our position in the table and calm any jangling nerves.

The Bees come close on a rare sortie into the Arsenal box

Post-match commentary was interesting:

Nice kick about with the boys. The apparently prolific Lacazette proving himself anything but in either goal scoring (nil return) or humility..

fun session today – Emile Smith-Rowe who, up against the defensive prowess of Sergi Canos – we’ll get there in a moment – at least managed to score.

Footballers being footballers, eh? Or arrogant dicks? Take your pick. 

For me, Clive, don’t give it if you can’t take it and the key observation was not from a player but one overheard from an irate Arsenal fan in the queue or the Piccadilly line home:  

We’re getting excited because we’ve scraped past the shittest team in the league 2-1. 

Arsenal twitter – a real work of art

Let’s not make any pretence here, Arsenal deserved to win. They actually played football. Brentford guilty of showing too much respect and, whilst colossal at the back, no real drive forward.  Hardly the shittest team but one that were bereft of attacking desire. Looking to contain rather than go for the jugular. For all that Arsenal were dominant, you could see them wobbling when we eventually stepped up. Christian Norgaard’s goal, sadly too late. 

Instead, we’d already had to endure the usual gamut of sideways and backwards passing in the seeming desire to carve out a perfect opening. Mathias Jensen, mercifully subbed off after an injury. Sergio Canos, not his fault that he is being asked to play out of position, but looked out of his depth trying to defend against this calibre of opposition. Ivan Toney again absent following his ‘minor calf injury’.

That’s all three Premier League games missed since the fuckgate tape emerged. Is the injury report correct or could the player be suffering form a case of video nasty? One thing’s for sure, we need him up top. On the rare instance the ball got into the Arsenal box, we could have killed for his attacking presence. His dead eye cool in front of goal.

All being well this is nothing more than Thomas Frank being ultra cautious going into a game which, at least prior to kick off, the home side would have been red hot favourites to win. To play percentages and hold his star man back for the forthcoming 9 points we’ll be competing for. For Ivan to be fighting fit when he gets the chance to show Newcastle United what might have been.

Certainly, the vibe at the moment feels as though we’re trying to close games out and banking on that early season run being sufficient to carry us over the line. To pick up wins in targeted games against ‘teams like….’ with anything else in between being a bonus. Phil Giles appears to be flavour of the month amongst the usual suspects on twitter, bemoaning his ‘tactics’ of not strengthening in the transfer window. 

And I can see why that view point may be taken but I’d refer back to a paragraph written last week. Which I’ll republish here, just because :

All the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the transfer window won’t change anything. Our targets were flagged and they didn’t include defensive cover. Get over it. Getting on the backs of those asked to fill in won’t help any. This team has enough about it for people to be getting upset about what some may consider to be not having a recognised right back. I’m not an idiot. I’d love another option there. I’d love another option up top. I’d love Ivan to be playing further forward. To see chances being created for him and snaffled as we did last season but we’ve set our stall out and, mostly, held our own. Laid foundations for the rest of this campaign and what may come beyond.

I guess the issue is that when the gaps are exposed, they look brutal. Mathias Jensen has been playing really well in recent weeks but yesterday was not it. Anything but. Sergio Canos the same. Again, let’s be clear that this isn’t his position. Marcus Forss scoring at Loftus Road for Hull City a question that does make the decision to loan him out, with Ivan now awol, seem an even more perplexing one.

All of which leads back to the simple fact that this is us now playing those percentages. Looking to stay calm and pick off the wins in the games played outside of those top six clubs. Of having those opening twenty minute bursts at home as we did against the two Manchester clubs. Of locking it up at the back as we did for so long at Manchester City, Liverpool and then yesterday until the dam eventually broke. Of not buying recognised right wing back cover given we may also need to spend on the other flank. Rico Henry’s contract won’t sign itself and until that situation is resolved I can imagine trying to rebalance the squad is something that remains in a holding pattern.

Yesterday was too cautious, though. Arsenal were rattled when we pushed. Had we done it sooner then who knows? But we didn’t. You can’t deny the league position and the spending power of our hosts. Cripes, if I had their resources a I’d be sharing the views of the aforementioned fan. Not just about Brentford but Burnley, Wolves and those other teams they’ve struggled against in recent week. Maybe its the optimist in me but I really thought that yesterday we’d do more. Could have and would have. Instead, nil points was the return.

Let’s not forget, also, that we’re 14th, everyone. Not 18th. Not 19th. Not 20th. That games in hand actually need to be won. That form then needs to be maintained. Just saying. Don’t shoot the messenger. That table doesn’t lie.

We’ll share the Brentford player and performance review shortly. Here and on its own page. For now, its more a case of at least knowing our players stayed classy. Our next game is at home. That Josh Dasilva is starting games again. That Christian Eriksen will surely make it off the bench against Newcastle United.

That moment is going to be immense and I can’t wait. See you there….

Come on H. Arsenal weren’t that boring. A long day takes it’s toll

Nick Bruzon

10 Responses to “Arsenal get cocky. Brentford go home empty handed. Next up, Newcastle…”

  1. Tom Gooner February 20, 2022 at 10:05 am #

    Ha!! Was totally in response to Toni after first game..! Come on Bee’s .. see the funny side!! As you say, if you can’t take it… 😍

  2. Paul Holmes February 20, 2022 at 10:21 am #

    I agree how would any other premier league team perform without out there main striker
    I agree letting Foss going out on loan was a strange one considering our striker opposition as we have no one to hold the ball up up front also we are not being embarrassed by the so called big teams so still plenty of time to reverse the slump

  3. Brighton Bee February 20, 2022 at 10:27 am #

    The gulf in class and spending power was never more demonstrated than yesterdays game. Looking to contain is never going to work at this level as we have found time and time again in recent weeks. TF has been setting the team up to defend a 0-0 draw from the start and hope for a breakaway goal – hardly being brave as he keeps saying. Early on in the season we were ‘going for it” from the start of games and unsettling teams, we’ve lost that in recent weeks. Yesterday, when TF eventually decided to loosen the shackles we took the game to Arsenal and looked as though we could get something, why didn’t he do that earlier and be braver? I don’t blame the players for our current run of form as in the main, they are Championship players playing against PL quality every week. I don’t know that I actually blame TF as he can only work with the players he is provided with by the Owner and D of F. What I do think is that we should have strengthened in January with a couple of players to freshen up the squad and to provide some impetuous to a tiring team. Is Erikson the answer? we may see next week, although I would maybe have preferred to sign a right wing back. I agree with you Nick about playing the percentages. We know MB is a gambler and I think he and PG have crunched the numbers etc and have worked out that three or four wins in key upcoming games will see us survive without paying out any exorbitant transfer fees, allowing us to re group and sign players on our terms in the summer. It’s a risky strategy and one that won’t help our nervousness over the next few weeks as we face some crucial games. I’m hoping they have got it right.

    • hobbo February 20, 2022 at 3:20 pm #

      Around 38 mill put on the table by Benham and PG in Jan Brighton ,one of them rwb Vanderson as you have forgot to mention?

    • Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) February 20, 2022 at 5:49 pm #

      Its something i said a couple of weeks ago. We are a Premier League side with mostly Championship players, and if we are to survive this season, then we need to say thank you to some of those players and bring in higher quality players to replace them.

      I missed the first 25 mins yesterday, due to a nightmare 5 hour journey to get there (took 3 hours back), but what i saw for the best part was a Brentford side showing way too much respect for the opposition. It was only half way through the second half we were playing far more freely and creatively. Yet poor touches, poor decision making and a sleepwalking referee didnt help matters (honestly how does Moss pass the fitness test? He never keeps up with play)

      Personally, i dont agree with the change of formation idea. We havent got a right back, yet we have 3 half decent CBs. Ivan & Bryan were linking up well for the first third of the season. I also think its typical Brentford. Those of us of old, will remember very difficult January & Februarys, and then picking up results towards the end of the season. Its Brentford innit.

  4. Mark February 20, 2022 at 12:49 pm #

    Try starting with four at the back, we’ve played better when we have changed formation ala Chelsea etc, nothing to lose now to stop the sleepwalk to the trap door.

  5. Max February 20, 2022 at 1:24 pm #

    I think that we have employed this counter attacking defensive style since the start of the season as we are Defensively quite sound ,and I am not sure that we have the attacking talent in the squad at the moment. The attacking talent that we do have has not played on the same pitch all season long .confidence is not the highest at the moment so we defend well then give the ball straight back and repeat the cycle .Hopefully the return of Ivan, Josh getting better as he gets fitter and the eriksen effect will cure our attacking woes as we enter the business end of the season with all to play for. I think the lack of a right full back is not for the want of trying by the d of f,s .but maybe a loan would of got us through this season as their must be one somewhere that wanted prem football.

    • Rob February 20, 2022 at 4:28 pm #

      I think youve hit the proverbial nail on the head Max. Our model has never been to loan players out as by doing so prevents us developing our own talent and the opportunity to sell on at huge profit. However we’ve not played at this level before. A loan or two would have made sense. Not a huge outlay of cash on someone who might leave should we be relegated, but some reasonable temporary quality to help get us over the line and allow us to make less pressurised decisions in the summer. To clear out our options at LWB and Striker seems really odd ro me. Forss does need game time; ironically he may have got that these last few games, and Thompson gets given MotM v Man City no less, then hasnt played since. Some decisions by the club have puzzled me

  6. Tim February 20, 2022 at 6:24 pm #

    Sergi and Mathias haven’t been playing well for months …. and I say that with the added word unfortunately. “Defensive prowess of Sergi” …. hmmm I must watching a different Brentford in another dimension. Yes he’s a winger but definitely not a defender and certainly not a full back/wing back. Bad tactics Thomas (last time we played a winger as a full back it was in the second division our one and only season prior to the Benham years post war and we were relegated …. winger in question was Marcus Gayle …. learn from the past!)
    We have a full back in Roeslev …. play him …. if we have another keeper injury you wouldn’t expect to play …. I dunno Ghoddos!
    As a side, yes points on the board better than games in hand, but if all those below us win all their games or even some of them we become a bottom three team! 😱
    A woeful possession percentage and toothless up front …. again. But seriously we were never going to win this one.
    9 points …. 7 at the least …. is the minimum we need in the next three games if we’re serious about staying in this division.
    And it starts with playing a full back and starting Vitaly over Jensen.

    The rose tinted glasses must be slipping down the bridge of the nose by now. It’s a case of wake up and smell the coffee.
    12 games left …. 36 points up for grabs … I’m going to say 38 points (?) minimum for survival required …. that means 14 points still to get.
    So lets get 9 (minimum 7) from the next 3 games. Change things Thomas … running at the opposition is our strength … trying to contain teams is our weakness …. refer back to opening 6 to 8 games. Don’t let the likes of Burnley or Norwich do the double over us.
    If we’re a club of no dickheads (ask Fosu) is it different rules for Toney? I would personally have fined these altercations rather than drop players …. we are a club that can’t afford to drop good players and before his injury we could have done with Fosu. Club survival before dickhead rule I’m afraid then out them in the transfer windows. I pay a season ticket to see Brentford do well/survive not for someone to be dropped (and still get wages) only to see the club suffer.
    Come on Bees …. 9 points ….. nothing less …. think tactically Thomas …. every opposition club knows our right back is our Achilles heel don’t make it easy for them.

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