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Would you like salt with that ?

13 Mar

F*&k Brentford !! Ivan Toney has done it again. Not THAT, come on. Two more goals to add to the three scored last week at Norwich City made it another three points and Burnley crying all the way home. At least, their commentary team following a moment of saltiness to rival Russell Slade and his infamous ‘Celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup’ post match meltdown.

Another Premier League win  – inspired by a brace from that man Toney – saw Yoanne Wissa leading the post match celebrations. Freed From Desire blasting out from the tannoy sending everyone nuts. The outpouring of joy clear to all except, perhaps, the visitors.

It’s like they’ve won the Champions’ League” being the killer line in the video doing the rounds on social media that, perhaps, eclipses even Slade himself. Who’d have though such a thing was even possible yet here we were with a modern day Waldorf and Statler of the commentary world?      

One can, perhaps, understand the frustration. Burnley had set themselves up to not lose. Chances few and far between. Defence the priority. It almost worked, too. Five men across the back. Four across the middle. Two always sitting deep. It was turgid, if understandable, stuff. Our visitors trying to pick us off on the break and, to be fair, almost managing it with one effort from Jay Rodriguez that David Raya was happy to watch drift over and past him on to the cross bar. Well read that man. Errr, yes. That’ll do. 

To be fair to Raya, he was on his game when called upon but it was, ultimately, our attack that won the game. Christian Eriksen instrumental. Ivan Toney clinical. The ball from the former to pick out the later on the back stick just sublime. It was delivered over the Burnley behemoths and into the perfect space. Toney evading all markers to meet it perfectly. 85 minutes gone. 1-0 Brentford. Talks about worth the wait. All the effort. All the huff, puff and persistence finally culminating in the hugest cheer. Part relief. Part ecstasy. All awesome.

Chants of “The Bees are staying up” rung around Lionel Road. A few last minutes to hold on. To weather any storm or last push that may come. Instead, it was down the other end. Eriksen releasing Toney once more with the free-scoring forward ploughed over and through when clear in the box. Nathan Collins was shown straight red for his trouble. Number 26  – himself lucky to still be on the pitch after a number of questionable challenges – argued his team’s case but to no avail. The decision stood. The ball was placed on the spot. Ivan Toney did what Ivan Toney does. Back of the net ! 2-0 Brentford. Full time called immediately after. The celebrations that would so upset the Burnley commentators in full swing. Ivan, this morning, with his own beautiful retort.

A show of hands to see who woke up with ‘Freed From Desire’ stuck in their head this morning? Yes. Me too. Why not? We’re not stupid. The Premier League is a prize worth fighting for. Any win one worth celebrating. Moreso given the frayed nerves that had started to appear in certain quarters. Had Burnley managed to pull off their own win, then the pressure might have started to increase on Brentford. Instead, the win against Norwich City was followed up with another three points taken from another club who would have been desperate for, at least, a share of these given their own positioning. The Bees now in a much stronger position than eight days ago. Burnley will be praying Norwich City can do something at Elland  Road this afternoon when they take on a woeful Leeds United side. Really sucking them into the mix would be in everybody’s interest. For more than one reason. The GPG hinting at the hope we all have yet dare not speak. Imagine. Just imagine…..

Fair play. They were on fire. Also picking up on the fact that despite there only being three Premier League games yesterday, Brentford still managed to feature 7th (seventh) on Match Of The Day. That’ll be the Thursday night games for you. Or, perhaps we’ll just argue that they saved the best until last….

The praise for Ivan’s penalty technique – not to mention Christian Eriksen – voluminous. Brentford ‘official’ making the later their Man of the Match but did either feature in our ‘star man’ ranking? The post match debrief and look back at the game is up, now, and you can find that here.

For now, time to reflect on a job well done. A win is a win is a win. Whether it comes in the first or last minutes. Brentford have a new shape and a new look. Christian Eriksen is looking every bit the player we hoped he would be. Ivan Toney has made it five goals in two games. Twenty-six may well fins himself playing the football league next season although will, at least, be able to take consolation in being near his family.

Next up Leicester City. We can talk about that later in the week. For now, time to put the feet up and get that ear worm out of the head. If possible…

Nick Bruzon

Wins are like buses at the moment. Bees – Burnley debrief.

13 Mar

How could Brentford follow up last week’s win at Norwich City? Quite simply, go out and do it all again. This time, Burnley were the visitors. Memories of number 26 still living strong in the minds of Bees’ supporters. Christian Eriksen making his first home start. Ivan Toney with three goals to his name at Carrow Road, chomping at the bit to go and do it all over again.

Didn’t Brentford do it in style? A 2-0 defeat of a double-parked double-decker Burnley bus seeing three more points for the Bees and two more goals for that man Toney. We left it late but justice was ultimately done. As ever at this point, we ask who impressed? Who was the star man? Who is in line for our top performer of the season ?

And, as ever, the answers to all of those – not to mention a deeper look at the team performance – can be found here. Enjoy. And here’s to Leicester City next week…

Nick Bruzon

Post match debrief. Clubs at the bottom have one L of a weekend.

8 Mar

Brentford got back to winning ways on Saturday with the 3-1 defeat of Norwich City at Carrow Road. Ivan Toney’s hat-trick just one of many talking points that included Christian Eriksen going the distance, a new look Bees’ formation and VAR coming to our aid on more than one occasion. All of which puts a spring in the step for Saturday’s game at home to Burnley. Sean Dyche’s team joining Watford, Everton and Leeds United with another ‘L’ to their name after the last of the results from the weekend fixtures (that 5-0 thumping administered to Everton by Spurs) have been counted.

As ever at this point, we take the opportunity to look at who shone for Brentford. Who was our star man in Norwich, who is a shoe-in for Burnley and who leads the overall chart to find our top performer? You can find the answers to all of those, here…. In the game week 28 review.

Enjoy.

Nick Bruzon  

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

NGL this slaps. I think.

5 Mar

It’s not been the best week, if we’re being completely honest. The night times dominated by stress dreams about the situation in Europe. The days, seeing it tough to focus. As much as anything else due to the, so called, ‘mash-up’ of Wonderwall with the theme from TV’s ‘Friends. Something I still can’t decide whether is awesome or awful but has, regardless, stuck in the head like some insane ear worm that won’t stop nibbling. To cap it all, I’m trying to use the Pick your Bees starting line-up feature on the BBC for the Brentford – Norwich City game and it won’t let me select Sergi Canos as a defender. What the actual? Which is supremely frustrating because, if for no other reason, I wanted to see how he’d look in a flat back four today. So it’s Mads Roerslev – for BBC purposes. On the plus side, all of this various angst means we continue to push the Newcastle United game further to the dark recesses of the mind. Although if you would like to read more about that one then you can do so, here.

So, today’s game. Well we’re all fully fit. Apparently. The only absentee will be Josh Dasilva who starts the first of his three match ban for the red card he picked up against Newcastle. Thomas Frank used his press conference to tell us that Christian Eriksen keeps progressing and is in a good place. For me, he absolutely has to start today and should. We can always sub him out if fitness concerns  – natural given the length of time since he last played a competitive 90 minutes – kick in and legs begin to tire.  However, the key to this one is going for it from the off. 

On Ivan Toney, Thomas confirmed  that the player, “Is in a much better place. He played three lots of 20 minutes on Tuesday and looked good. Hopefully he is ready.”

Hopefully he is. Again, though, for me he starts. If he is fit then go for broke. Let’s not pussy foot around. Full tilt from kick off. The 20 minute salvo. And then the same again in the second half before the inevitable substitutions on 60+. 

Personally, I’d like to see us trying to play for the entire game but perhaps I’m just a dinosaur. The game and tactics have changed but, equally, can we at least have our strongest XI from the off today, please. Even if they only last an hour let’s go for that early lead.

I saw a stat this morning that said Norwich have scored the first goal in the fewest matches (5), but Brentford have conceded the opener most often (19). 

Those aren’t my words, Carol. They’re the words of the official Premier League Twitter feed. If that doesn’t tell you the opportunity for something to give is there then nothing will. The question being who takes advantage in a battle of tactical decisions? Thomas Frank or Dean Smith?

Tactics will be key today

The Norwich fans will be up for it. Their players knowing that each passing game sees the chance of Premier League survival getting slimmer and slimmer. This will absolutely be one they’ve targeted as winnable.

I would if I was Dean Smith – our current for is, on paper, terrible. Even if the performances haven’t always matched that. Yet the only stats that count are balls in the back of the net and points on the board. The time for justice and deserving has long gone. Instead, Brentford need to translate some of these words into actual results. As, of course, do Norwich City. 

The good news is that there is a whiff of change in the air. Thomas also used his conference to confirm some flexibility. To suggest we may look to a more traditional defensive line up, saying “I will be more flexible for the rest of the season so, depending on the game and the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, I will use a back three sometimes and a back four sometimes.”

This, something that should allow a higher, more pressing formation with players playing in their right positions. Even if this will inevitably mean Pontus Janson and Mathias Jensen are sacrificed from the starting XI. Kris Ajer on the right side of the the two centre backs and nowhere, nowhere near any sort of suggestion as a makeshift full back, please. Football is emotive and the thought of not picking Pontus is almost sacrilege in some quarters but, if we go two, we do it properly. None of this crowbarred nonsense. Rico, Ethan, Kris, Mads.  

And I say inevitably dropping Mathias Jensen. He’s clearly a nailed on starter for Thomas, in normal circumstances. For me, when he’s on it I’d agree. Recent performances have definitely been up there. The issue remains consistency. For every two good things there’s one wayward. For every man of the match performance (and there have been a few) he has a stinker. With Christian Eriksen available then he plays with Vitaly. Christian Norgaard sitting in front of the back four. Bryan and Sergi, or even Saman, wider. Ivan up top.

As we’ve said many times, everyone is an expert from the comfort of their armchair or playing Football Manager. It’s a pressure free environment when you are doing it in the pub with a pint or three. Proposed strategy quietly forgotten about when the team win; gobbed-off about when we slip up. Granted, that’s been a lot recently. There are very few amongst us who have actually managed a professional football club or even attempted to (ahem).

just saying

Then again, this passion and debate is what makes the game of football so wonderful. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone would do it differently. We all have players we love and others who we cannot believe get anywhere close to starting. Long may that continue.

At least change is coming. One would suggest that given the experiments Thomas has been undertaking on the training field, and his words in the press conference, that will start from today. Regardless, there’ll be those amongst us still not happy with how he picks. And if so, ask yourself what’s more important – backing that team and winning the game or bitching at individuals wearing the red and white? Just saying. You can read the full piece from the press conference, here.

Until then, safe travels to Norwich. If you really need anything to help eat up the time time then Dave Berry has a double Christian Eriksen special. Yours truly on yesterday’s Absolute radio breakfast show but, infinitely better, on his Doctor Next Door podcasts where, amongst other episodes, there’s a genuinely interesting and reassuring discussion on pacemakers and the heart.

This could be huge. I can’t wait. See you there. And if you don’t have time for a podcast, there’s always the Friends – Oasis thing…. Even if I’ve no idea what ngl this slaps actually means.

Da Kidz..? Little help please.

Nick Bruzon 

As famous faces look on, opportunity knocks.

4 Mar

We’ve had a few days down time but now, with the next game here, time to get back on the horse. Last time out was about as emotive and angry as it gets although, at least, the correct decision was eventually made. Not that it changes anything about what’s going on in the more immediate short term. Please do have a read – you can find that here. Back home, Brentford face a trip to Norwich City. We’ll be minus Josh Dasilva after his red card in the game with Newcastle United for a team that will, surely, start Christian Eriksen this time around. Talk about a half decent option lying in wait ! For those of us kicking our heels until the weekend, there was also the chance to see our own FA Cup vanquishers, Frank Lampar…. etc Everton, in action last night as they progressed to the quarters watched by a trio of famous faces from Absolute Radio.

L-R : Matt Dyson, Glenn Moore, Andy Bush are joined by Michael Caine

The obvious starting point is Norwich City v Brentford. Dean Smith v Thomas Frank. A game against a Canaries side who look were looking nailed on for a return to the Championship until, eventually, earning a first win of the season at, errr, Lionel Road. A game that ended in the ignominious position of Charlie Goode playing up top. It was to be Daniel Farke’s last at the helm and , since then, our ex has seen his team pick up the points although still remain adrift. Win the game and they are four points (effectively five, given goal difference) begin Brentford). Lose it and the gap becomes a chasm. 

For Brentford, less a must win and more a don’t lose. With Watford hosting Arsenal and Burnley entertaining (if that’s the word) Chelsea, this weekend sees a wonderful opportunity to put some clear air between the bottom three and the rest of the Premier League. With Everton facing a trip to sporadic Spurs and Leeds United, now bereft of Marcello Bielsa, looking to see if they can stop their catastrophic haemoraging of goals at Leicester City, its not just the bottom three with a vested interest in how the game at Carrow Road turns out.

Another trip to Norwich – H still not ready for his debut

For what its worth, I’m not sure playing it safe is the way to go in this one. Playing for a point a somewhat redundant exercise. Norwich will recognise the opportunity this represents for them given our own current run of form. Given our own no-show against Newcastle last week. That,  a game which we can file in the bottom five performances of the season: Southampton (a), Burnley (a), Brighton (a) and Norwich (h) being the other four.

They’ll be on us from the off. Let them. The best form of defence is attack. Cut the cagey sideways stuff. It hasn’t worked . Feed Ivan. Start Christian. Let the centre backs do their job. Hope we don’t concede a corner (albeit that has been much, much less of a problem since David Raya and the defence have got back in sync after that long absence). As much as anything, keep it loud from the crowd. “Where are you? WHERE ARE YOU? Let’s be ‘avin you!”, to coin a phrase.

Happy birthday??? to my good friend Delia

If nothing else, Norwich are hitting anti-form too. Aside from losing in the FA Cup midweek, their previous three Premier League games have seen 9 goals conceded in a run of defeats that culminated in that rarest of things against Southampton. Namely, Dean Smith not claiming he was managing had deserved to win. Anything but, with his post match interview revealing that, “The better team won on the night, we can’t argue with that”. Not. A. Typo.

So if this is an opportunity for them, it is very much one for us. A chance to get back to winning ways. The first of two huge games (Burnley are at home next week) where we could really inflict some relegation pain on our opponents aswell as shushing any noise about the R word amongst our own support. Form isn’t great, that’s for sure, with Newcastle giving some genuine concern about our ability to get stuck in and to adapt. It IS hard playing with ten men but it was still frustrating, even allowing for the deficit. The positive being how we played until the red card was, understandably, shown. Despite the best efforts of one supporter to persuade Mike Dean otherwise….

You can’t blame him for trying

Win, lose or draw the previous game is forgotten about after 24 hours. That’s the mantra from Thomas Frank. It needs to be one we stick to this weekend. We’ll have 11 men on the pitch and a chance to calm any nerves. Of course we had the same chance last weekend and fluffed our lines. Fingers crossed there’s no repeat this time around. There shouldn’t be. And you can catch up on the player / team performance ratings from that Newcastle game here.

The other lead in to this one was at Everton in the FA Cup last night. Boreham Wood eventually going down 2-0 but preserving their ‘goals against’ column longer than Brentford did in the previous round. We’d let in two by the time that Salomon Rondon eventually broke the non-leaguer’s hearts. Spurred on by a crowd of over 38,000 (that included Absolute Radio DJs Andy Bush,  Matt Dyson and Glenn Moore), the Toffees found it hard going to break down a resolute backline. Victory was eventual and, perhaps, inevitable but the manner of the performance will give further heart to Leeds, Watford, Burnley and those other clubs fighting it out at the wrong end of the Premier League table.

All being well, that won’t include Brentford. One can’t ignore form. One can recognise the opportunity of the next two games which, if taken on top of our current points total, should see us propelled well, well clear. 

For what it’s worth, I’m still totally confident. This is the Premier League, not a walk in the park. There are no easy games but there are those we’ll have earmarked. Norwich will be one. And I can’t wait. Bring it on and see you there. 

He came on against Newcastle. Surely a start is next?

Nick Bruzon

We’ll do our best to feck them over.

9 Nov

International break but its all happening around Brentford off the back of the Norwich City game. Manchester United tickets have sold out. Hardly unexpected. The GPG now waging war on touts and chancers crying in to Facebook. Newcastle United have a new manager in Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe, just time for our visit on Saturday week. On the fitness front, Mathias Jensen has had to pull out of the Danish squad following a positive test for Covid 19 en-route to International duty. With that news being confirmed at Copenhagen airport, the rest of the squad remain unhindered meaning Christian Norgaard avoids isolation for now. What this means on the domestic front remains to be seen but if there is any consolation to be taken, at least this comes at the start of the two week window. Meaning that in theory he may even be back for the trip to Newcastle. That’ll keep the usual suspects happy on social media. Last year’s Sergi fast becoming this year’s Jensen. Groan.

What do you do though? Of course fans need to be able to express their opinions and discuss. The passion and the interaction are an integral part of the game. Yet after last season’s vitriol I thought we’d done with all that. Copious amounts of egg left on face as Sergi did his thing in the face of the morons and has only picked it up even more this time around. The Frank Out ‘campaign’ ending with the only ‘out’ being the club going out of the Championship and in to the Premier league. Now, after four defeats on the bounce the knives are being sharpened in certain quarters. Not that I can imagine the usual suspects are reading (can read) so we’re largely shouting in to the void.

FFS. It’s hardly the stuff of crisis. Overall, the start to the season has been beyond the expectations of just about everyone. Recent form of LLLL doesn’t look great on paper, that’s for sure, but let’s not forget that includes the full frontal assault on Chelsea and the pantomime villain theatrics of James Maddison when Leicester City came to Lionel Road. Both, games where there were the additional factors of obscene clock running down and woeful refereeing. Burnley was, granted, horrific, and Norwich City not much better. But two bad games do not a disaster make. Moreso given we are in the grip of a devastating run of injuries. 

He’s behind you….

As for Mathias Jensen’s form, thoughts on him and other performances were published in yesterday’s player review (which is here). We’ll never know if the subsequent medical update had anything to do with it or, additionally, if ‘The Curse of The Warm Up’ has struck again. As has been observed, everyone who has appeared alongside Stu and Marcus has failed to start the next game due to illness or injury. However, one thing has become clear over the years – Thomas Frank won’t buy into fan led demands for player removal. Or selection. See also Tariqe Fosu who is worshiped as some sort of game changing demi-god by a few whilst just about everyone else is wondering what has gone on behind the scenes to limit his appearances to just a handful of league cup ties.

Moving on to Manchester United, there was an odd (that’s the polite word)  post on Twitter yesterday by one ‘fan’ having a moan about being unable to get a ticket for that game. Whether this was the subsequent ‘joke’ he maintained it was, who knows? An attention seeking clikcbait tweet which required some serious back-pedalling after the obvious reaction or simply a case of nonsense blowing up out of all proportion? What we can say is the visit of Manchester United on December 14th is about as hot a ticket as has ever been seen at Brentford.

A joke. Apparently

And with such demand come the usual touts and chancers. It was always going to happen with the membership scheme eventually being open to all (and rightly so). This isn’t happy-clappy land and you’ll never get a perfect system. There’ always be people who want in on the action or tying to take advantage but the GPG are one the case.

Elsewhere, Trevor Inns has posted a quite to the point message.  

If any one has some spares for the Manchester Utd home game, please tell us about it. 

Especially if on sale above face value.  Twitter. Facebook. TikTok. Anywhere. Let us know.

Brentford Tickets for Brentford Fans 

Already got two that have a rude awakening tomorrow morning!

DM me or admin@griffinpark.org.  

Well said that man. Let’s get as many genuine fans in for these games as possible. F*ck the tourists and the touts. Let’s keep the noise loud and fill Lionel Road with Bees rather than away supporters. Keep this a fortress rather than a library. Here’s to more rude awakenings.

Finally, Eddie Howe. About as telegraphed a move as possible, he’s now in charge at Newcastle United. The only club in the top flight not to win a game after Norwich City picked up their first three points on Saturday, we’re first up for the new era. Howe’s first bite at the cherry. Whether his presence will be sufficient to turn things around this soon remains to be seen. All being well, we’ll have some better news on the fitness front (Wissa would be nice). Even if just at centre back where Zanka (our Urine-son as Match Of The Day called him) going off after just 12 minutes on Saturday added to the casualty list and hardly helped the game plan.

It’s a long way off at the moment and one that will no doubt be bigged up to the max from next week. Whatever your politics or thoughts on the club’s new owners, the focus on a  game that was already going to be under the microscope has only intensified further. All being well, everybody will forget about Bees and a party pooping will be in the offing. 

There wouldn’t be a better time for this to happen, that’s for sure.

Nick Bruzon 

The Monday after the weekend before.

8 Nov

Brentford v Norwich City. It just had to happen. There was an almost cosmic inevitability about the way this one would play out. The Canaries having only scored three goals and picked up two points from their opening ten Premier League games. Brentford…. Well, we saw what happened. With Newcastle United next up after international break, are there any positives to be taken? Have we learned anything from this one? Is it nothing more than bad luck and great goalkeeping? Most importantly, who was our star man and who is leading the charge for the Bees?

In our latest look back at the game just gone, you can find the answers to some of those question here. Or, at least, one fan’s opinion. Is it right? Do you agree? Were Norwich lucky? Did Brentford deserve anything? Who should be first name on the team sheet for Newcastle United and who needs a fast track to the training ground?

Enjoy…….

Nick Bruzon

Grow up or go support Manchester City.

4 Mar

Wednesday evening is proudly sponsored by a punch to the gut. A horrible low blow of a night that leaves Brentford still second, everyone, but now locked tighter than ever with Swansea City and Watford at the business end of the Championship. Norwich City an incredible ten points clear at the top after a thoroughly deserved 1-0 victory over the Bees. No complaints about how it played out at Carrow Road, beyond their gratuitous use of goal music, although what came afterwards left a somewhat numb feeling in the stomach. The usual suspects lining up to put the boot into one player – the apparent desire to see him fail and subsequent relish that accompanied what was, admittedly, a poor showing by his standards, very much a showcase for both the frustrating side of social media as it was their own ignorance as to how the season, the squad and the club work. A blinkered avoidance of the fact that, on the night, the entire team were very much second best to a  Norwich side that may aswell start ordering in their 2021/22 Panini sticker books now. 

No complaints. Sadly

It all started off so brightly. David Raya standing up to Teemu Pukki with the Norwich goal machine clean through. Barely minutes on the clock. He should have scored. Ian Moose would, no doubt, have gobbled that one up (or demonstrated how to do so on the training ground afterwards) but the Brentford goalkeeper maintained his composure and ensured we didn’t concede a customary early goal. 

Yet if this was to be a warning sign it spurred the Bees into life. Running 100mph at our hosts, Sergi Canos hit a stunning drive from distance that Tim Krul did well to parry away. The same player then guilty of a brutal looking miss after magnificent work down the right hand flank by Mbeumo. The winger squaring it for the Spaniard who, somehow, steered it horribly wide rather than stroking it home from his unmarked position yards out. Whether he slipped or got tangled up in his own feet, I’ve no idea. Either way, it should have been 1-0. Either way it looked awful.

Ivan Toney and Canos again had chances. The former perhaps with the better of the pair before it all went South. A sloppy pass from Sergi allowing Norwich to turn defence into attack. They broke at speed, opening up the Brentford defence as easily as they would a packet of biscuits. The ball found Emi Buendía who made no mistake, shooting through a crowd of players low into the far corner. 25 minutes gone. 1-0 Norwich City. Brentford very much on the back foot after a sterling start to proceedings. The social media hate mob now going full tilt for Sergi. A player who, at most, as suggested at half-time by Sam Saunders in the Sky Sports studios was guilty of nothing more than trying too hard against his former club. Sam’s right.     

And that was it. The first half ended quicker than you can say ‘keyboard warrior’. The second half saw Norwich City dominant. Mbeumo disappearing as quickly as he had sparked into early life. Winston Reid riding the gauntlet of yellow cards. Obvious changes with Tariqe Fosu and Christian Norgaard, amongst the players to come on, doing nothing to change the momentum of the game. Hello? Are we going to put the boot in? Hello..? Twitter..?  Both players powerless to stem the yellow tide. If anything, Norwich grew stronger. Brentford failing to even come within a sniff beyond a last minute surge when rough play in the box on Bryan Mbeumo went unpunished. Penalty? Surely? No!! I’ve seen them given, Clive. 100% VAR gets it right. 100%. The irony given what came later in the evening for Swansea City. 

Hmmm….

In short…. best team in the Championship proved why they are so far clear at the top. Established first team player has ad-hoc bad game and isn’t Benrahma. Rest of his team mates unable to do anything better against deserving winners.

Insert Face palm. We’re still second, everyone, but Saturday at home to Rotherham United is one where we’ll definitely be looking for a return to winning ways. Despite their own battle with relegation, I’m going into that game with an expectation of nothing more than three points. It’s a crucial time with the chasing pack breathing back down our necks and Swansea City boosted by a 95th minute winner at Stoke City. Kyle Naughton’s theatrical fall after Jack Clarke was deemed to have breathed on him being sufficient to earn the Swans a late, late penalty. Andre Ayew duly converted it to earn his side an additional two points after the scores had been locked at 1-1 for so long.

That’s football. Decisions go for you. Decisions go against you. We can’t change it and there’s no point crying. Get the inevitable frustration out and then look forward. For Brentford, that game with the Millers. Swansea host Middlesbrough and Watford entertain Nottingham Forest at lunchtime. We may well have been overtaken by the time we start and, if we are, that’s fine. The only thing that counts is how we perform at 3pm. On and off the pitch.

I do wonder what social media would have been like had it been as easily available in the Butcher / Rosenior eras, amongst others. When we were skint. When we had to have a fanzine buy us a player. When we were rattling buckets and kicking around the lower end of League One or Two. When the stadium was falling apart around us. 

Whilst I loved those times, unquestionably, let’s not pretend that things were always rosy. There was some absolute dross served up to go with, what was, an incredible bond between fans and players. We were all in it together. Fans united in our love for the club and brutal acceptance that we were where we were. Still with the dream of bettering ourselves. Still cheering our team and our heroes on. In person. Now, the keyboard warriors are out there doing their thing from the safety of their mummy’s house. 

Nobody expects blind loyalty. That’s as dangerous as failing to recognise consistent poor performance or accepting it because we used to be genuinely awful. Yet the over reaction from certain quarters to what was, absolutely, a mistake littered performance was shameful. The blinkered, hypocritical witch-in-chief leading the charge to put a hobnailed boot in once more. Take a look at yourself, learn to read a game, learn to recognise that a football team still has ten other players and that a season lasts for 46 games. Learn to accept that, perhaps sometimes, the opposition might just be a better team than us. Learn how our club works and that nobody has infinite supplies of cash. Then grow up or go support Manchester City.

I know I’m shouting into the wind here. Just as they are. The players and staff don’t read that crud. Or this. But it doesn’t make it right. Now, time to move on and focus on Rotherham. And breathe. Perhaps updating the social media ‘follows’. Nobody needs that nonsense either.

Nick Bruzon

Sergi? Jota? Dallas? The Hoff? Who scored our best ever goal?

3 Mar

Curses. Overslept. Normally this nonsense falls out at some ungodly hour, through no other motivation than general insomnia. Not today though. Small mercies I suppose. For all of us. So instead of a look ahead to tonight’s huge game for Brentford, the second v first clash at Norwich City, let’s just cut to the social media chase. Goals. Goals. Goals. We all know what Vitaly Janelt did against Stoke City at the weekend. An absolute howitzer of a shot that had fans and pundits purring alike. If you have, somehow missed it, then here you go. Albeit, please forgive the ropey editing that sees the normally mellifluous Mark Burridge replaced with North Norfolk’s finest.

However, it got me thinking. Incredible an effort that it was, have we had better? Quite simply, what was the greatest Brentford goal ever scored? As ever, social media came to the rescue. Roger Cross against Notts County. Glenn Poole’s volley direct from a corner when Wycombe Wanderers were in town. Tony Folan and Paul Evans, twice. Peterborough and Cambridge United / from the half way line and, err, from the half way line respectively. Jota, Benrahma and Ollie Watkins also amongst those appearing multiple times. 

Those earlier efforts goals which, magnificent though they were, only live on in the minds eye or some really grainy footage. With apologies to Glenn Poole whose effort was later highlighted on this old Sky Sports feature by Ian Westbrook. That one is still worth a look and you can see it immediately below.

Instead, the various choices were whittled down to four choices and the vote is now live on Twitter. If you need any reminder of these then why not take another look? Come for the goals. Stay for Mark Burridge. Then the vote is at the bottom.

1: Stuart Dallas at Fulham. Where to even start? The approach play. The lay up by Andre Gray. The acceleration. The power. To do this at any time would be amazing but in front of your own fans, in our neighbours’ back yard was nothing short of wonderful. ‘Limbs’ indeed. What a return to Championship action for the West London derby.

2: Jota at Blackburn. The king scored some incredible goals. Fulham in the last minute. Making a mockery of Jake Bidwell as he ran rings around QPR. Take your pick. However, we settled on this one up at Ewood Park. Not usually a happy hunting ground, especially midweek, he re-wrote the rule books with this run that covered almost the entire length of the pitch before a sublime finish. #Burridgegasm.

3: Sergi Canos . Oooohh, Sergi Canos. I wanna know etc etc etc . A goal which you can’t see enough. If only for how young he looks (even compared to now). The trap, then feint, the second touch, the finish. Poor Ryan Woods, his opener in this game had ‘goal of the season’ sewn up. For about forty minutes…

4: Philipp Hofmann. The game with Nottingham Forest at Griffin Park was one with everything. A red card for Harlee Dean. A scoreline hanging in the balance. Sergi at his finest. A crowds. Ah, I remember them. Then, with full time almost upon us, up stepped the Hoff. It may not have been a thirty yard blockbuster but chocked full of deflections (count ‘em, 1.. 2.. 3) is sent the home crowd wild and was the perfect denouement to the most stressful of evenings at Griffin Park.

The vote is here. Dive in and enjoy. Thanks . And then for a proper preview of the Norwich City game, why not read Ian’s piece. You can find that here. At least one of us was up on time !!!

The choice, is yours…..

Nick Bruzon.