New look Bees win after top, top performances from Eriksen and Toney.

6 Mar

My word – that was about as wonderful an afternoon as it gets on Saturday. Brentford came away from Norwich City with a 3-1 win under the belt and a whole host of talking points. The memory of last week against Newcastle well and truly exorcised whilst defeats for Leeds United, Burnley and then , on Sunday afternoon, Watford adding further pressure to that clutch of clubs at the wrong end of the Premier League. The Canaries rooted to the very bottom of that pile after a game they would have ear marked as eminently winnable saw Thomas Frank outsmart Dean Smith in his selections – both tactical and in choice of personnel.

Thomas won the tactical battle

First up, the formation. The reveal of the team at 2pm suggested it would be one last throw of the dice for three centre backs. Ajer, Pinnock and Jansson all being selected yet nothing could have been further from the truth. Kick-off saw Sergi Canos playing up top on the left rather than in the much anticipated right wing back role. Kris Ajer then slotting in to a more traditional right back position with Pontus and Ethan in the middle and Rico on the left. It was the formation so many fans have been crying out for – even if, for me Clive, Ajer should be a nailed on right sided CB rather than anything further out wide.

The other key change being the undroppable Mathias Jensen finally being relieved of his place in the starting XI. Christian Eriksen coming in for his first start in Brentford colours and didn’t he do well? With, by ‘well’, we mean amazingly so. He was truly magnificent. Norwich unable to get close whilst the BBC recorded his performance as seeing him with more touches (66) and more passes (44)   – of which he had more in the final third (16)  – than any team-mate. All this done over the course of almost 100 minutes of football. The expected substitution on the hour failing to materialise as he played the entirety of a game that ran to an additional 10 minutes of time added on over the course of both halves.

Thomas choosing not to bring a knife to a gun fight was a selection rewarded with precision passes, space making runs and inch perfect dead ball delivery. Our opening goal – the first of a hat trick for Ivan Toney – came as a direct result of his corner kick being delivered directly onto Ajer’s head and flicked on to the free scoring front man.

Ivan steers home Ajer’s flick on for 1-0 Brentford

Whilst the performances of Mathias Jensen have, it would be fair to say, polarised opinion the Brentford faithful were united in their adulation for Eriksen. He truly was that good and, on any other day, would have ended this one as man of the match. Instead, Brentford ‘official’ limited the choice to Toney, Toney, Toney or Toney? Which to be fair, is hardly a surprise given his and our first Premier League hat-trick. The first goal coming on the half hour from the aforementioned corner kick, with not one but two penalties being awarded over the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. Both despatched to the bottom left corner in that trademark style. Tim Krul able to do nothing beyond engage in childish attempts to psych out our man. They were as futile as his attempts to stop the subsequent spot kicks.

Brentford 3-0 up before VAR then came to the rescue when chalking off an effort from Milot Rashica after Pukki was adjudge to have flicked it on with his head from a marginal offside. Dean Smith’s already bad afternoon going from worse to even worse. His only crumb of comfort seeing VAR then return the favour after Bryan Mbeumo made it 4-0 Brentford. Ethan Pinnock deemed to have been fractionally ahead of play as the ball was being played in to a crowded box.

For a moment…..

Pukki pulled one back for the Canaries but it was too little, too late. Much to the relief of the vociferous Bees travelling support. In the end, the eight minutes of time added on dwindled away. The game closed out. Three points in the bag – our first win in 9 games and one which could not have come at a more opportune moment. 

Toney and Eriksen grabbed all the headlines but hats off to the rest of the team. David Raya immense – especially early on – whilst Kris Ajer proved more adept in his new role than yours truly had anticipated. Oh me of little faith. Surely more of the same will come against Burnley this Saturday. Whether it remains a permanent formation change remains to be seen but, for now, the back line held firm and provided much needed impetus in the attacking third of the field.

One can only imagine how things will look when Josh Dasilva is available once more (the trip to Chelsea on April 2nd). Vitaly Janelt likely to miss out if the rest of the squad are fit. It barely seems possible to be talking this way about a player currently running fifth in our season long review but the signing of Eriksen and recent return of Josh means we are now spoiled in midfield to levels previously only seen at an ambassador’s reception. The flare on display only matched by the one Mr. Carrow was sent to investigate at half time.

Make no mistake, this win was crucial. It was deserved and it was, at times, hard fought. Ultimately, though, the best team won. The best decisions won. Thomas Frank and his team now have the challenge of proving this was no flash in the pan and that normal service has returned. That Christian Eriksen really is the signing he promised to be. 

With all the horror and angst going on in Europe at the moment, how nice was it to just switch off and experience ‘normal’ Saturday afternoon once again? Blessed relief from the outside world, even if the banners waved to show support for Ukraine pre kick-off meant it was still at the forefront of our minds going in to the game.

For now, we’re been and done. Here’s to doing it all again next week when Burnley come to town. Bring it on and see you there.

Nick Bruzon

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3 Responses to “New look Bees win after top, top performances from Eriksen and Toney.”

  1. Tim March 7, 2022 at 9:17 am #

    Glad the penny’s dropped Thomas and you’ve put Brentford above Denmarks midfield in the priority list.
    The most important factor of Saturdays game was giving Jensen a “rest” and not playing Canos at rwb. That’s the reason we won this game. Eriksen was magnificent and it was good to see Roeslev coming on as well.
    Whilst all Bees fans are ecstatic for this overdue win let’s put our perspective/reality glasses on …. Norwich had two good early chances at 0-0 … a better team would have taken them … thank God for Raya.
    We’re not totally out of the woods yet and Burnley on Saturday will be a bruising affair as they’ll try to rough us up. I’m still thinking 36-38 points should see us safe …. especially by (hopefully) beating the 4 teams out of 10 we’ve yet to play below us (all six pointers!). (Also like to do the double over West Ham and teach Maddison and his Leicester pals a lesson …. Spurs at our place or am I being greedy?)
    COYB’s

  2. Rob March 7, 2022 at 12:47 pm #

    Yes, fantastic result and good performance. I’ve not seen Toney running through the middle of the park onto a through ball for about 15 matches because we’ve been lumping the ball up to him for that long…as Tim above says, the penny has finally dropped, although for me its about doing what we’ve done best for years and that’s moving the ball quickly on the floor through the park rather than route 1 football.
    And what a huge difference a quality delivery from a set piece can make. How many times pre Erikson have we taken corners that fail to beat the 1st man, or are just floated into an area of the box where no power can be generated from a header? Ironically we were the club that pioneered set piece coaches 🙂
    And the gods were shining down on us this weekend. We started poorly but fortunately Norwich couldn’t capitalise (they really should have scored inside 5 mins), and we grew into the game. That, and results massively went in our favour.
    Please please please kick on from this Bees. And learn as much as you can from the maestro that is Erikson as I’m sure he’ll show his worth to a number of bigger clubs in this league and abroad come the summer.

    CoyBs

  3. Noel Woolf March 7, 2022 at 8:01 pm #

    Well done boys hope you continue your winning streak😀

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