Tag Archives: Arsenal

Brentford v Arsenal. Post match debrief and player ratings

19 Sep

A 3-0 reverse for Brentford at the hands of Arsenal. Last season’s victory over the Gunners now nothing more than a wonderful memory. The Bees brought crashing down to earth with a bump on Sunday lunchtime.

It was a busy, busy afternoon for David.

Whilst the result may tell the story, did anybody come out of the game with any credit for Brentford? Who shone for The Bees against an Arsenal team who returned to the top of the Premier League table in some style. Have any of the bench players done sufficient to make the starting XI for our next game, Brighton at home? Who was our star player? Who else made the top five in the season long quest to find the top Bees’ performer? 

And as ever at this juncture, the answers can be found in the post match debrief and player ratings review. Here.

Nick Bruzon

Bees stung by table toppers on a low key afternoon.

19 Sep

One to file under ‘bad day at the office’. Brentford welcomed Arsenal to the GTech on Sunday lunchtime and left on the wrong end of a 3-0 reverse. The destruction of Leeds United last time out now nothing more than a happy memory rather than something that could have been used as a springboard to even bigger and better things. The 11th hour posptponment of our game at Southampton following the death of Queen Elizabeth II very much slamming the brakes on our momentum. In an understandably muted GTech yesterday, it was our visitors who were able to pick up where they’d left off before – the top of the Premier League table.

A solemn occasion

There are no regrets on this side. No anger. Arsenal outplayed and outclassed Brentford at every step of the way. Thomas Frank’s decision to opt for three centre backs one designed to try and contain our opponents. It had worked so well last season but this time around we seem to have settled (been pushed into) more of a more traditional back four. A set up that allowed us to attack en-masse with the two full backs still pushing up. Instead, The Bees began on the back foot and struggled to get beyond that. The visitors going for the jugular from the off and giving us little or no breathing space in a midfield that was still missing Christian Norgaard. With little news on his longer term recovery, one can’t imagine he will be back and match fit any time soon.

On the plus side, Ethan Pinnock was hanging with Buzz and Buzzette outside the ground before kick off. The prognosis for his own return something the player said would be after right International break. Good news indeed, although who then misses out the sort of problem Thomas Frank must relish trying to unravel.

That’s one for the future, for now it is all about Brentford and Arsenal. The Gunners brutal. Devastating. Giving a clear demonstration of why they are the only team in the land keeping Manchester City off the top of the table. The sternest test faced by The Bees so far this season by some distance. It was a test we had no chance of passing after William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus had given our guests a two goal lead with less than a half hour on the clock. Two headers. Two goals. Too bad for Brentford. The midfield packed tighter than a pair of Tom Jones’ jeans.  Our own Triple Js – Jensen, Janelt and Josh Dasilva  – unable to make any real headway. Rico Henry and Aaron Hickey putting in the hard yards down the flanks.

Bryan Mbeumo with the closest chance just prior to half-time but that was it. Very much playing second fiddle on an afternoon where the atmosphere was the only thing flatter than the pint of Guinness served up during the interval. Truly the worst pint I’ve ever experienced – and there have been some bad ones over the years. Brentford very much with a problem clearing our lines, it would seem. Not for the first time yesterday.

Brentford (L) v The Griffin – (R)

If anything, it set the mood for what came next. Fabio Vieira ending any thoughts of a fairytale comeback for Brentford within minutes of the restart. His shot from outside the box beating everybody to fly home off the inside of the post. It was devastating. Game over, Man. Game over. Anther forty minutes to struggle through. The only feasible option left being that of goal difference containment. Something David Raya did his level best to maintain. Arsenal, on the other hand, when not attacking doing everything possible to channel all of football’s dark arts. Injuries. Niggles. Time wasting. Cramp. Hammy pratfalls. Referee Mr. Coote unable, or seemingly unwilling, to do anything about any of it.

The sad thing being there was no need for any of it. They were the better team on this occasion. We haven’t been owned this much since Matthew Benham took over.  It just gave an ever more frustrating feel to an already frustrating afternoon. Any thoughts of coherent flowing football snuffed out by shenanigans and shithousery. Arsenal, the only team to sit down longer than popular music’s James. 

That’s on them. They won. So it could be said that the gameplan worked. To be honest, a strangely muted Brentford team could have still been playing now and I don’t think we’d have found a way through. One Ivan Toney free kick momentarily suggesting a replay of ‘that’ moment against Leeds United but it went over. Mikkel Damsgaard also with a half-chance but that was about it. Hats off to Arsenal. Likewise their fans who, along with the Bees, gave the perfect display during the pre-match silence, the national anthem and then the 70th minute applause.

A rare first half foray forwards

For me, the applause on the 32nd minute for Robert Rowan was equally poignant. This with the feeling of much more a spontaneous, personal and fan lead gesture. We’ll never forget. 

The sad news continuing late into the night when the GPG shared this update… 

There can’t be many amongst us who didn’t know or, at the least, recognise Howard. An absolute legend of Griffin Park and a Bee through and through. Along with former manager Fred Callaghan’s sad passing also being announced, it’s been a sad week all round. I’m sure the club will do all they can to remember these two Bees’ legends when we are all together again for Brighton.

For now, time for International break. We’ve the the small matter of Ivan Toney in the England squad. Friday night in Italy could be a whole lot of fun. What price on him to score ? Well, 13/8 for an anytime bet. I might make a small investment. Purely for research purposes.  

The only other unfinished business from the game yesterday is that of our Star Man and top five player awards. That piece has gone live and you can find it here….

Nick Bruzon

All set for another nice kick about with the boys?

17 Sep

Sunday lunchtime has The Bees back in action. Our first game since Ivan Toney was called up for the England squad. No doubt set for another nice kick about with the boys. Table topping Arsenal the visitors but with confidence sky high following the 5-2 tanking of Leeds United last time out, we won’t be afraid of anyone who might try to play in our house. Guys there is only one team on that f**king pitch – and it’s us! Just ask Jesse Marsch. Or Erik ten Hag. Yet with the trip to Southampton curtailed following last Friday’s news about The Queen, could momentum have been lost? Or will it be seen as an extra game in the back pocket ahead of returns for Ethan Pinnock and Christian Norgaard (errr…)? Sergi Canos has already been deemed fit for the weekend. What price a return from the bench and another moment to match last season? You know, when he scored our opening goal in a game where the The Bees beat the Gunners and topped the Premier League.

What a game last season….

Of course, this time around it is Arsenal who have come flying out of the traps. Their 3-1 defeat at Manchester United in the previous fixture being the only reverse on an otherwise unblotted copy book. Five wins on the bounce prior to this has seen them top of the league table going in to this weekend’s abridged fixture list and, to be fair, looking magnificent. Manchester City may have traded in Gabriel Jesus but he has found his feet, fast. Granted, not as fast as Erling Haaland at the Ethiad but, to be fair, not even Ivan is banging them in that quickly.

Arteta’s other impressive summer signing from City, Oleksandr Zinchenko, is unlikely to feature in this one. Thankfully. He is one of several injury-related question marks but the strength in depth they now have means that whomever features in the first XI is sure to provide a top (top) level threat. Then again, one could say the same about Brentford. Whilst Manchester United was the headline grabber, for me the performance agasint Leeds United was up there with our most impressive in years. Ben Mee just magnificent at the back and, on any other day, would have been star man in this game by a country mile.

Then, Ivan stepped up and did his thing. Three goals of the highest quality. A trademark penalty, ‘that’ free kick and then the presence of mind and calmness of finish to hold his position until executing that quite delightful chip over half the Leeds defence. No wonder Marsch took his frustration out on Keith Stroud. Jesse hold on. As popular music’s B*Witched once sang. As if any could forget the double-denim sporting toe-tappers’ first single not to top the hit parade.

View from the South Stand – Ivan does it. Again. This time, Leeds United

We digress. As ever. C’est la vie. Ivan very much the man of the moment. Arsenal the team on fire. The game one to absolutely whet the appetite. If for no other reason given what happened last season in what a first ever fixture at this level for just about all Bees’ fans, barring a few. It’s a quite incredible memory to have but, equally, one to now recall in fond terms rather than rely on as any barometer of form. That was then. This is now. Both teams have changed. Both teams are better. With Thomas Frank utilising his five substitutes every game, Brentford are very much set up with a starting and finishing XI. Yoanne Wissa very much doing his thing from the bench in quite delightful style. Aaron Hickey giving Rico Henry a run for his money down the opposite flank.

And, for the record, how Rico has missed out on England selection is a question I’d love to put to Gareth Southgate. Gareth, if you are reading… ok, he isn’t, but I can’t be alone in wondering that one. Moreso, given some of the out of form ’staples’ selected once again. Rico’s chance will come and what better time or place to show why he should have been called up than Sunday at the G-Tech. I’m sure the England coach will be in attendance and whilst, of course, Ivan Toney will understandably be the centre of everyone’s attention, let’s not put it past Rico to show what he has too.

I can’t wait for the one. The decision to cancel football last weekend, when every other sport continued as per, a decision I am struggling with. Surely it should have been all or nothing ? We can’t change it now but we can make up for lost time. The build up and conclusion will likely be more sombre than normal – the announcement from the club telling you that – but once referee David Coote gets things underway you can bet on the roof being lifted off.

The other Brentford story form the week was another home shirt. Whilst, of course, we’ve blazed trails in retaining last season’s kit, there has been a slight tweak. A quite wonderful tweak. Long sleeves are back. Almost non-existent amongst any Premier League team, Umbro have supplied us with this most wonderful of features. As a complete and self-confessed shirt nerd it has always been my default choice, albeit one denied since the Championship (one of a few yellow Skyex aways, obtained c/o ‘other sources’, aside). Now they’re back. The club shop has them in stock and this Sunday will see yours truly wearing it in anger.

Perhaps with a jacket, given the weather has turned…

Leeds United fell apart (again) a fortnight ago. You can catch up on all of that, here. Will it be Arsenal’s turn on Sunday? I can’t wait to find out. See you there.

We do love a ‘long sleeved’ in our house

Nick Bruzon

Old man shouts at the wind as Gameweek five approaches.

30 Aug

Next up for Brentford, Crystal Palace. Two teams who received another reminder (would that one were needed) at the weekend, that it is goals rather than justice which wins football matches. For The Bees, a 1-1 draw at home to Everton was a game where despite a full on assault on the visitors’ goal (and woodwork) it took until the 85ths minute for Vitaly Janelt’s equaliser. Palace meanwhile stormed into a 2-0 lead up at City that, arguably, could well have seen the add a third to that tally but for the officials. Sadly for them, they were up against a team boasting Erling Haaland. His second half hat-trick, tucked away in under twenty minutes, saw Pep Guardiola’s team run out 4-2 victors. Elsewhere, Richard Keys has crawled back out from under his rock to remind the world what a twat he is. When Fulham have the moral high ground, this following his comments about table topping Arsenal, then you know not all is right with the world.

We can only start with the game at Selhurst Park this evening. For Brentford it is a chance to pick up where we left off against Everton. There are no easy matches in the Premier League, regardless of how they may look on paper or in a Qatari TV studio. The Toffees set up their stall to play in a certain way and despite our very best efforts, finding a way through was a mostly futile task. Credit, such as it is, to Everton. They had a gameplan, stuck to it and almost pulled off what would have been a morale-boosting win. Instead they found themselves pegged back to record a second point of the season. The Bees came close but, in the end, it wasn’t sufficient to take the win. On another day perhaps we might have. Instead, the two teams gave supporters the consummate lesson in taking chances when they present themselves.

No complaints.

Brentford came close but couldn’t capitalise on chances created

As for Crystal Palace, one has to feel for them. Whereas The Bees went to the Ethiad last season and tried to do what Everton did to us on Saturday, Palace took the opposite tack and went for it from the off. Watching back, it was as exciting a start to a game as one could expect. Even if the ending had a familiar inevitability about it. In Erling Haaland, Manchester City have only made themselves even stronger. You can’t put a price on such a potent finisher with the golden boot already looking as though it will have a new home. Six goals in his first four games is a blistering pace to set. Good luck to Nottingham Forest tomorrow night. 

Still, that’s a problem we won’t have to worry about for al little while. Instead all the focus is on Selhurst Park. Vitaly Janelt and Keane Lewis-Potter both impressed from the bench against Everton. Much as they did the week previous at Fulham. Whilst both combined for the equaliser it was as much the energy and renewed vigour they brought to the finishing XI.

One can only assume they’ll both be in with a very realistic chance of starting this evening. Yoanne Wissa was very much off his game whilst, and this may be blasphemous, I thought Josh Dasilva struggled. He’s an absolute player and a half but Saturday just didn’t feel like his day. Perhaps a change around is coming. Pontus remains touch and go at the back having missed out at the weekend whilst we already know Mikkel Damsgaard isn’t ready for a start. Yet.

Last season’s 0-0 was deemed a hard fought point at the time for newly promoted Brentford. An impressive start continuing after ‘that’ table topping 2-0 defeat of Arsenal. This time around, I don’t expect the challenge to be any easier. Patrick Viera has seen his team face the toughest of openings with defeat to the Gunners part of a run that also included  Liverpool away (1-1). Aston Villa were swept aside 3-1 with the impressive Wilfried Zaha grabbing a brace (albeit missing a penalty before putting away the rebound) aswell as Eberechi Eze and Jean-Philippe also grabbing the plaudits. 

Last season’s 0-0 at the Palace was hard fought

Injury news suggests Zaha may well be a doubt for this evening. Here’s hoping, given his prolific scoring rate. He’s bagged five of their last six league goals at Selhurst Park aswell as finding the net in all four of 2022’s home wins. Keeping him quiet (preferably absent) and nullifying the impressive Eze would seem to be key the strategy should Brentford have any aspirations of adding to our points total.  It is another ‘way’ sell out despite being available on a variety of other sources. Primarily BT Sports – a place where, thankfully, anybody unable to make it will at least be spared Richard Keys.

The former Sky Sports dinosaur is now working for (checks internet) beIN Sports of Qatar where, at least he is consistent with how out of touch he remains about the modern game. His weekend rant about Arsenal, having just recorded their fourth win on the bounce to make it 12 Premier League points out of 12 and top the table, even included the line about their coaching staff ‘celebrating like they’ve won the FA Cup’. Now where have we heard that before? The reason for his ire – the opposition. A proper ’teams like’ diatribe about Fulham. 

Been there. Done that

Granted, I’ve no time for their sponge cakes, gin bars, clacker banging, foam-finger waving, Michael Jackson loving atmosphere but, you know, each to their own. On pitch, there’s nobody in the top flight that is just going to roll over and die every week. Nobody incapable of giving anyone else a real test. This isn’t a division where Derby County’s mergre 11 points and goal difference of -69 from 2007-08 is under any threat.

It is a league where anybody is able to beat anybody on their day. Just ask Manchester United. So to bang on about Arsenal over-celebrating a win that maintained their 100% start to the season was as insulting to them as it was to their opponents. And that’s a tough thing to have to write.  Perhaps somebody better get down there and explain offside to him.

Maybe it was nothing more than desperate attention seeking. An attempt to sound relevant having been absent from the public eye for so long. Nothing more than an old man shouting at the wind. It’s a shame his patter wasn’t as smooth as his hands and instead he remains as out dated as ever. Still, that’s his problem.

Instead, for us it is all about Brentford and Crystal Palace. On whether Thomas will stick or twist with his staring XI? On another day, we may well have had a hat full against Everton. You can read the full post-match debrief here, btw. The important thing now is how we kick on and I can’t wait to find out….

Nick Bruzon  

Brilliant Brentford batter United.

14 Aug

Is this what they mean by ‘second season syndrome’? Saturday evening saw Brentford write yet another incredible chapter in a story which continues to leap from the pages of a Hollywood movie script. If last season’s home opener against Arsenal had been a nice kick about with the boys, this was a full on bullying. A 4-0 spanking of Manchester United was a performance to rival the destruction of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last season. The Bees utterly dominant and scoring goals for fun. Each attack leading to another one on the board and, in the end, the only disappointment being that we didn’t make it to the 7(seven) goal bracketing of United that seemed more than possible with little more than half an hour played. Frank out !!  

At least in the Chelsea game our hosts had been vaguely involved. On Saturday, Brentford didn’t allow Manchester United the chance to even step foot in the game. The Bees on them from the off. Even the camaraderie seen in our pre kick-off huddle compared to our visitor’s standing around listlessly in their puke green kits telling you all you needed to know about the mental approach. There were points to be both won and proven here. The narrative around Christian Eriksen allegedly ‘saving our season‘ (yawn) being put to bed in a style that even the good people at Dormeo would have appreciated. 

What came next was like nothing seen at Lionel Road. The ferocity of approach up there with the play-off semi. United on the back foot from the off. Brentford hounding their rivals. Running with the ball. Passing it around with aplomb. Mathias Jensen on fire. Christian Eriksen greeted with a cacophony of boos every time he got near the ball. What must he be thinking now? “Left for the money” sung the crowd, amongst other things. He’s walked in to a living nightmare and one which only got worse with every passing minute.  Man U? More like Manure.

Within ten minutes, Brentford were ahead. Josh Dasilva receiving the ball from Jensen, drifting across to a shooting position and lashing it low from well outside the box. David de Gea should have stopped it but instead, all he could do was let it squeeze through him and into the back of the net. It was a good shot and let’s also credit the build up of pressure as a contributory factor. David Raya at the other end seeing his squad position for Spain moving up another notch.  

Credit, too, for the way Jensen took the ball off Roanldo to provide the assist. The tantrum prone stropmeister then left sitting on his haunches for a good 30 seconds after the ball had hit the back of the net. Like Eriksen, all his nightmares coming true. Unlike Eriksen, he had no fight. No stomach for a battle. Instead of getting up to inspire his team his game descended into a series of theatrical dives and hissy fits. One thumping of the pitch in frustration having the entire North stand in fits of laughter. 

An overprivileged show pony who should have been leading by example. Instead, his petulance and ego only contributing to United’s demise.

Get over yourself, Ronaldo

But if Josh had put us into dreamland with that early goal it was nothing compared to what came next. Jensen doubling the lead after de Gea played a woeful pass out of defence to Eriksen ( think Alvaro Fernandez at Anfield levels of bad) who was sold totally up the river. Jensen reacting quickest and cleverest to nick the ball and with a beautiful shimmy, create the space for 2-0. The cheers as loud as the Bees were brilliant. 

Two became three as Ivan Toney plopped it straight on to Ben Mee’s head in a crowded box and then, with 34 minutes gone, the pick of the bunch. Jensen again at the heart of everything. He won the ball off of Jaden Sancho in our box and played a delightful ball half up the pitch straight to Toney. His own first touch then delivering an exquisite raking pass on the diagonal straight to the feet of the on running Mbeumo. Luke Shaw’s clumsy challenge on th edge of the box evaded and the ball stroked home for 4-0. FOUR. NIL. Brentford 4-0 up against Manchester United with little more than a half hour played. My word. 

There it stayed until half-time. I genuinely expected United to come back out in different kits, blaming the shirt colour for blending in with the grass as the true reason for the absolute shoeing they’d received. Instead, there was more of that vile green which I’ll be amazed should it ever see ther light of day again. Equally, I expected them to come out at 100mph – Erik ten Hag having delivered the mother of all team talks. Instead, there was nothing. Sure, a bit more endeavour but no real chances. Instead, Aaron Hickey showing that his flattening of Ronaldo meant that we weren’t going to roll over in the second period.   

4-0 it stayed. It could have been more. Probably should have been more. Yet to be upset with ‘only’ ending the game third in the Premier League and with one of our greatest results ever under the belt would be nothing short of churlish. The full time celebrations showing just what it meant to everyone inside the stadium. That Manchester United were terrible is their problem. You still have to beat your opponents and Brentford did it in a style that made the world sit up and take notice. 

Full time as enjoyable as ever

One had to feel for their supporters. Obliterated by Brentford and their misery further compounded by the RMT strike meaning all trains back to Surrey were cancelled.

Or, should that be, almost all their supporters. Professional gobshite Terry Christian was still giving it large before the game. This, despite last season’s gloating having already blown up spectacularly in his face. Some people never learn. 

Still, that’s his problem. For me and for Brentford fans it was another beautiful afternoon. Another of those times you have to pinch yourself to see just how far we’ve come. Ten years ago we were drawing 0-0 with Bury at Gigg Lane. I was there for that one and now, well….  

It was demonstration that all the money in the world counts for naff all when you are that shambolic. That, ultimately, you cannot put a price on team spirit and mindset. 

All the talk coming into the game was about Christian Eriksen. All the talk coming out of it was about Mathias Jensen. He was incredible. Let’s not pretend otherwise. The star man awards (how to pick 5 out of 16 I have no idea) are now up and you can find them here. Otherwise, perhaps might just go and watch Match Of The Day once more. Think we may be first up. 

Jensen – a work of art

Nick Bruzon

Kitman Bob’s season exclusive and new shirt clues…..

30 Jun

Christian Eriksen this. Manchester United that. It seems that there’s only one subject on everyone’s lips at the moment. Got to love the close (closed?) season. Until such time as Brentford official release a photo of our man brandishing the Pontus Jansson ceremonial biro then supporters can’t be blamed for fearing the worst whilst still hoping for the best. It’s Brentford, innnit?

So we need distraction. Something other than transfer speculation or wondering which team the Great Dane will be lining up for when The Bees host United in the first home game of the campaign. Fortunately (your definition may vary, given the normal standard of content on these pages) we have it. An exclusive from inside the club. From the legend that is Kitman Bob who has taken the time out whilst on his own summer hols to share his thoughts on the season just gone. On everything from pre-season to our 2022/23 shirt (it’s coming, folks…..).

The legend that is Bob Oteng

Sure. You could sweat over Manchester United.

You could carry on panicking over our apparent lack of summer signings….. 😉

One might even dream that we’ve copied Partick Thistle in their, alleged, kit design for 2022/23. No idea if this leaked image is true but, if so, it’s up their with our own Jaffa cake as one of the best shirts ever….. 

Could we copy Partick Thistle? Is this real? Imagine Buzzette, front and centre…..

All the angst in the world won’t change what may or may not happen between now and the season proper starting at Leicester City on Saturday 6th August. Sorry, Sunday 7th. Forgot about the carnival. Again.

So, instead, sit back and let Kitman Bob do the heavy lifting.

Here’s 2021/22 in his own words……

It’s the Bees’ first season in the Premier League and I don’t know if me or the players are the most excited. Having worked in the Premier League before, this coming season definitely feels different. Everything and everyone around me is different. There’s a different feel and atmosphere around Jersey Road. We were all feeling very exhilarated and we were all seeming to be more introspective so we could  ensure we did what was needed to help each and everyone be successful in the coming months.

Giant murals of the season gone and that day in May… A few new members of staff have joined. Luke my new assistant and Josh to help myself and Jo look after the whole team. ( i couldn’t have survived without those three people).

Having worked at a club previously that had been promoted via the play offs, the following season was one of despair. As records go it’s very rare for a team promoted via the play-offs to maintain their PL status.   BUT we are Brentford and WE do things differently…..

Pre-season is a blur. Normally for me pre-season is a drag. Training game after training game but for the first time in many years I’m looking forward to every game and every training session. To watching the new players. 

It just seems so surreal when the fixtures are announced and you see Brentford versus Arsenal. I scroll down to see when we play Liverpool, Man City and especially where we are on Boxing Day.  Then I try and calculate how many points we will have by the first international break [I’m sure we’ve all done it]. Glad to say I was so far off the mark I stopped doing it after the first international break. 

The afternoon of the first game I look round the dressing room. Admire shirts with the lion on the sleeve gave me a sense of pride and emotion of my time at Brentford and my first game Walsall away in the cup. 

The season opener against Arsenal will be remembered not only by Bees’ fans but many around the world. Post covid, post face masks, its Friday night under the lights and what a night it was. I really didn’t know what to expect, the whole stadium came alive, it was impossible to keep calm with what I was witnessing. I felt that what ever happened this season that night was truly a significant and memorable night for all.

Thomas mirrors what we all felt after that 2-0 defeat of Arsenal

The training ground on the Monday morning had such a great feel vibe but everybody knew it was just the beginning. That we had to keep on working. The players and the coaches seemed more focused than ever. I was enjoying the fact that I didn’t have a game to prepare for in 72 hours and I had a whole six days of preparation.

Four games into the season and we are doing ok. The games seem to be so different with huge atmospheres and stadiums. The Bees away fans seemed to be louder regardless of what the score is and seem to be always out singing the home fans.  (I could even hear them at Newcastle). Now when we win at home the ritual of freed from desire is becoming my new favourite. 

At the point we hit a sticky patch the mood at the training ground never changed from that first game. Staff and players knew we had a plan and there was never any panic or worry amongst us. The signing of Christian Eriksen, I cannot lie, gave the whole place an even bigger boost but on the same level was seeing the return of David Raya.

Christian at the Brentford Training Ground

Watching the games now is the same as early the part of the season. The boys looking comfortable and not out of place. Notably at Chelsea away.  The score put the gloss on the day.

The most significant memory is of how Thomas before and after the game made it feel that this will be the new norm. There was no over the top celebrations – players back to recovering and doing what’s right ready for the next game. 

As we proceeded throughout the remainder of the season so many enjoyable and memorable events on the pitch and off the pitch. Everton away was probably the best atmosphere I have ever encountered. In the portacabin in the car park we could hear the singing and the bees fans. As  we followed the team out the noise was gladiatorial, a sense of a true battle ahead.( It reminded me of certain nights at GP).

Burnley at home was magic, an invisible veil of clam and relax came over everyone. As if to say we will be back to do this all over again !!

What an inaugural season for the Bees.

Chelsea away one of many highlights for Bob

There are lots of changes off the pitch to come.  For me, I’m now looking forward to the release of the new away and 3rd kits and the TWITTER banter to follow. May drop a few hints (kit enthusiast beware there could be a Marmite on the horizon, hopefully soon).

This BUS STOP is different, many outside will say it’s a fairy tale season etc. Fairy tales are dreams. We don’t go to bed knowing what we will dream that night!!

This fairy tale is one that has been scripted( AND STILL IS).  Some would say it just doesn’t happen when you’re part of that script and living it like we all have. 

You know THAT WE ARE BRENTFORD AND WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY!!!   SWEET DREAMS ALL..

There’s a new change shirt coming – don’t say you haven’t been warned……

Video nice and video nasty suggest a special dish will be on the menu.

10 May

Another day, another vote. We wrote yesterday about the almost impossible choice facing anybody making their Brentford player of the year selection. Such have been the performances this season there are a genuine half-dozen candidates who could lay claim to the award. Now, with just Everton (a) and Leeds United (h) to go, we’re almost at the end of the line. There’s still a ton of excitement to come – and the resurfacing of ‘that’ video yesterday has only served to further stoke supporter intrigue in all things Elland Road (that’s the polite term) – with the hope paramount that we’re all channeling our inner Joy Division next Sunday. That is, assuming Neal Maupay and Brighton don’t get there first this weekend.

Could Neal do it, again

First up, the player of the year vote. For what its worth I’ve gone David Raya. There seems to be a lot of noise for Christian Norgaard too. Both magnificent candidates. As are all the other names on a shortlist where Rico Henry, Ivan Toney and Christian Eriksen seem to be amongst the other names of those leading the charge.

It really is a case where car keys in the bowl would be just as fair a mechanism for selecting the winner though. They’ve all been incredible and this is, without a doubt, the toughest vote ever. My thoughts on the runners and riders, to coin a phrase, are in yesterday’s piece – along with the Southampton post-match debrief and our own season long ‘top five’.

Then, on Monday, another vote dropped. Like standing at a bus stop you wait ages and then two come along at once. This time, the goal of the season.

What a choice this one is. A shortlist of 11 that is dominated by two players. The technical brilliance of Vitaly Janelt at Southampton. His pair agasint Chelsea also included. Then there’s Wissa. Liverpool. Aston Villa. Oldham in the cup. And, of course, that amazing moment against West Ham. Oh, the hairs on the back of my neck are tingling just thinking about that one. About just how incredible it was.

West Ham away – wonderful. Especially the 94th minute

Then there’s Sergi Canos. He scored our first top flight goal of the season. You know? That night we beat Arsenal and went top of the Premier League. Don’t @ me. The table doesn’t lie.

If Wissa was incredible for the timing and the celebration, this one was at home and that mass out pouring of joy. It wasn’t a bad finish either, with a personal celebration to match.

Sergi very much enjoys the moment…

The vote is live now. As with the POTY awards, all you need is a fan number and a surname to take part. Much as I was tempted by Ajer against Southampton or Saman up at Burnley, for me it is a straight fight between Sergi and Wissa at West Ham.

However, that’s me. Vitaly’s precision and technique are more than worthy of recognition – just which of the three ? Good luck sorting through all of this but at least it’s fun doing so. The video is below.

And talking of videos, a segue as subtle as the ‘jokes’ in Mrs. Brown’s Boys, if ever inspiration was needed for the Everton and Leeds United games (it isn’t) then we were given a helpful reminder from Elland Road yesterday. A helpful reminder that revenge is a dish best served cold. A reminder, that there could be something very special on the menu next Sunday.

We were all saving it. We were all keeping our powder dry. But we’ve all started sharing it. And Monday seemed to be ‘Mind the Gap’ reminder day. Sometimes, there is no real comment needed. No point waxing lyrical for pages. Just remember that even Leeds United ‘official’ shared it before hastily changing their minds….

I am sure that Thomas Frank and all those in an official capacity at Brentford will remain tight lipped in the build up to this one and maintain a stance of nothing more than looking to finish the season with a win. For Brentford fans, we all know what this would mean. Not just the video but the ongoing arrogance and entitlement since our days together in League One. Oh, Ben Strevens xx

A season that has given so much since Sergi got the ball rolling against Arsenal back in August looks like it is going to go all the way to the wire.

And I cannot wait. If its good enough for Ivan then its good enough for me….

Hmm. Love will tear us apart, anyone? A game that was already laced with anticipation looks like it might have cranked up a level or three.

In the meantime, the post match debrief from the Southampton game is now up and online. Should anybody need any further food for though in picking their POTY then this may provide the calm before the storm.

Nick Bruzon

Just four games to go and fate is hanging in the balance

28 Apr

How things can change. Nine years ago it was one of the lowest points in our club history – the appearance on Soccer AM where we missed more penalty kicks than, well, we all know what happened later that afternoon against Doncaster Rovers….. At least we had the pleasure of seeing Frank Leboeuf being about as Gallic as they come. Charm personified (on and off camera) then puffing on a Gauloises the second he was out the studio. Likewise, there was a TV debut for our H – and he hadn’t even been born at that stage.

Now Brentford have four games to go in our first Premier League campaign with a top ten finish still well in sight. Next up, Monday evening’s trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. With it, a chance to avenge their second half ‘smash and grab’ at Lionel Road in January . There will be half an eye on their game at home to Chelsea tonight although whether a full viewing will be allowed in our house after watching both Liverpool and Manchester City in some quite wonderful Champions’ league action remains to be seen. Three nights of football in a row will all depend on a combination of marital goodwill combined with whether Kirsty and Phil are currently loving it or listing it.

Hopefully no repeat of the Soccer AM ‘performance’

Still, if that’s the worst of our problems then sporting life is indeed good. There’s a gap of just three points in the table from Brentford in 12th to Newcastle in 9th. We’ve got a tantalising run-in to try and secure that wonderful finish. Manchester United (a), the visit of Southampton and then a chance of sealing a relegation.

First bite comes with the game at Everton before the season concludes with the visit of Leeds United. Watford’s abject form means it unlikely both can now go down, as earlier predicted by The Last Word super computer, but Everton look like a dead man walking whilst Leeds find their next three games against top four clubs in Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea. A haul of nil points is quite feasible from those and then, should the Toffees somehow find the means to reverse their form, there could be some very squeaky bums at Elland Road.

Its all ifs, buts and maybes of course. For me, Clive, the way Brentford have played since the return of David Raya and the arrival of Christian Eriksen / green jacket (delete as applicable) has been nothing short of wonderful. Unbeaten April – including the humping of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – culminated in holding Tottenham on Saturday night. It was a game that I am sure, had he been watching, Dean Smith would have called Brentford as deserving to win. We didn’t, but the performance in adding another point to our haul was about as good as it gets. Up there with those wonderful moments against Arsenal, Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea.

Chelsea away the highlight of a wonderful April

Indeed, but for the punishment inflicted by covid and injury around Christmas, who knows what might have been this season?  The manner of that last minute call off from Manchester United  – a few days after their own sub-Everton performance at Norwich City – one which still sticks in the craw even now. Even if it did save us a goalkeeping conundrum having to be solved. 

It certainly has felt like a campaign which has started and finished at 100mph after getting bogged down in the middle. The squad being used to the maximum and no panic buying. Those predicting doom and gloom when nobody came in have now been left with copious amounts of egg on face.

Nobody, that is, barring Christian Eriksen. A player for whom there aren’t sufficient words to describe how wonderful he has been. The primary focus being his own return to playing with the obvious benefit being what he has then got on to do for Brentford. Should Phil Gules, Matthew Benham et al persuade Christian his future lies with Brentford then who knows what next season might bring. Moreso if David Raya can borrow a pen from Pontus.

David has been key to our recent form

For now let’s focus on a top ten finish. Realistically, we’re looking at 10 points from 12, minimum, starting Monday. Only a fool would write off Manchester United, of course. Their form has been woeful – even Everton beat them the other week in what was one of the most dreadful games of football I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness. There is no comment needed on the toxic atmosphere pervading from all angles of Old Trafford. They limped past doomed Norwich City and shot themselves in the foot at every opportunity against Arsenal on Saturday. 

Can they use tonight’s game with Chelsea to salvage a last gasp stab at reaching the Champions’ League? Time is running out, that’s for sure. They’re six points, and inferior goal difference behind Arsenal with four to play. By the time Brentford visit, dreams of feasting at Europe’s top table could be all over.

All being well, the remote can be controlled for a third night in a row. It has been a cracking week of football for the neutral observer and tonight promises to be no different. Moreso given Brentford fans have a very vested interest in how things play out at Old Trafford.

Until then, the Tottenham player review (where the battle for our season long star man is going to the wire), is up here. Enjoy.

Nick Bruzon

He’s only got four fingers but he still knows what to do with his head.

27 Feb

When does a blip become a trend? When does a bad run of results become more of a worry? The first of three games against teams below Brentford saw a 2-0 win for Newcastle United at Lionel Road. It was as abject a showing as we’ve seen all season (certainly in my bottom five ‘performances’ ) with the only two positives being the performance of David Raya and the entrance of Christian Eriksen into the field of play. If you want some further straw clutching at good news, then the ongoing holes in the Leeds United defence and use of VAR at Everton were further bonuses on an afternoon of slim pickings. It’s not time to enter panic mode but it IS time to now start getting points on the board. Failure to do so against Norwich City next week or Burnley in a fortnight and things could look very different.

What a moment

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe pretty much nailed it at full time. “If you can’t win, don’t lose”. Certainly that was our approach going in to that recent run of games against the clubs chasing Europe, for all our defensive heavy tactics ended up fruitless. This was different. This was the chance to turn the screw and aim for three points at home. To ride the wave of optimism engendered by the return of Ivan Toney to the squad. By Josh Dasilva starting once more. By the promise that we would see Christian Eriksen make a debut. The chance for Brentford to take a home game by the scruff of the neck. Instead, it was an opportunity that saw the Bees fall flat on their collective faces. 

Referee Mike Dean didn’t help matters, that’s for sure. The red card shown to Josh Dasilva after just 11 minutes about the only thing he got right all afternoon and even that was a decision that had originally been given as a free kick to Brentford. Then VAR stepped in and, upon review, there can be few of us not wincing at a challenge which, whilst I am 100% sure was made with no ill intent, did not look pretty on the replay. The Bees down to ten men for the majority of the game and any early impetus gone in a flash.

Let’s not blame Mike Dean for our own failings, though. He didn’t help matters but Newcastle United wanted this 100 times more than we did. Their 26 shots (to our 6) and 63% possession (for an away team !!!) matched by their two first half goals. Indeed, were it not for David Raya who was absolutely dominant in goal for Brentford things could have ended up a heck of a lot worse. Joelinton magnificent with his head for the eventual opener. An absolute blinder with Ajer made to look invisible. Joe Willock finishing a rapier like counter attack just before half time after Jensen had delivered a Brentford corner so deep it needed its own scuba gear.

The players trooped off with ‘All Apologies’ playing out over the tannoy at half-time. Irony alive and well at Lionel Road where it was anything but a state of Nirvana. 

It was a case of All Apologies to the Brentford fans at half time

On the plus side, if there can be one, it perhaps accelerated the entrance of Christian Eriksen. What a moment. What a reception. Universal applause and good will. Not just in the stadium but , no doubt, further afield. The moment we’d been building to finally where. A standing ovation and the player straight in to the action in place of Jensen. Within a minute he might had opened Newcastle up. His game then demonstrating the passing and movement we’re all so familiar with and which could prove invaluable in the coming weeks. 

Sadly, it wasn’t quite enough but ten men are always going to struggle against opposition that stretched us further than the elastic on a pair of granddad’s pants. That were on their game and had their fans singing throughout. One song about Joelinton, to the tune of ‘She’s Electric’ on repeat after he’d bagged the opener. “He’s only got four fingers” ringing around Lionel Road again and again and again. 

Albeit subsequent post match discussion suggesting the line might, actually, have been a reference to his price tag. That’s what £40million gets you, I suppose.  

As for Brentford, hindsight is wonderful thing. The popular opinion being that Eriksen should have started from the off. Should have take the game to Newcastle and let them play catch up. Personally speaking, I’d have made the same call. Bring him on. We have an abundance of midfield options. Norgaard, Janelt and Dasilva in the middle with Roerslev at right wing back. Instead, we got the three of them plus Mathias Jensen (who should have been dropped after his cameo at Arsenal), no Roerslev or Canos and Ivan Toney on the bench. It survived just 11 minutes.  

I guess if Ivan is not 90 minute fit the thinking was to have him, Josh and Christian Eriksen on together. Besides, as one terrace wag put it in the pub after the game, having played for Spurs Eriksen is used to coming on at 2-0 down. It didn’t work though. Not this time. Personally, I’d have started Ivan and brought him off if needed. Then use impact player Wissa up top with Bryan.

Being an armchair manager is easy. There’s no consequence to your decisions. No comeback or tirades of abuse for getting it wrong. None of us know what goes on behind the scenes. How fit players are. Why some start ahead of others. It’s not the team I’d have picked but it was still a team that should have been good enough to perform a hell of a lot better than they did. The ten men didn’t help, of course, but it just felt as though we barely got even half way close to sniffing the chance of having a look in.

It’s done. It’s dusted. It’s put to bed. The player review and ‘deeper dive’ is here. A bad day over. A bad day made even worse by then having to watch Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. In itself, always an awful experience and one made even worse by their proving how ‘live’ the show was by harping back to the result. There it was again. And again.

Instead, it’s time to focus on Norwich City. They looked desperate against Southampton on Friday night. Another team spending huge swathes of time on the backfoot and inviting pressure on themselves. Bringing the inevitable goals against with even Dean Smith replacing his usual “We deserved to win” with, “The better team won on the night, we can’t argue with that.” . Like Eddie Howe, a manager reading the game correctly, even if the result didn’t go as planned. 

It will be crucial how Thomas and his team react to this performance when we go to Carrow Road next week. Otherwise, those last two games of the campaign (Everton away and Leeds United at home) might end up proving very significant. All that’s to come, of course. For now we need to focus on Norwich City and then Burnley. 

Nobody said life at this level would be easy but I’m still loving it. Bring them on and see you there.

So much optimism from the young Bees before kick-off

Nick Bruzon

He’s going to play. They both are !!

26 Feb

Well that’s been about the worst week imaginable. There can’t be any amongst us not experiencing some or all of the obvious emotions about what’s going on across the other side of Europe. Shock, anger, fear, disgust, angst and just utter despair about the actions of one man  with that terrifying combination of maniacal tendencies that are off the scale and a microscopic penis (he must, surely, be over compensating for something?). It feels wrong to be in a position where everything is ‘normal’ but we’re the lucky ones where it is and for that reason, even if just for the family, we’ll be carrying on. For us, that means Brentford hosting Newcastle United. Last week’s game at Arsenal now filed away and The Bees moving on to the first in a sequence of three fixtures against clubs currently in the bottom four. Norwich City (a) and then Burnley (h), also to follow.   

The news out of the press conference yesterday was just about as good as it was possible to get for Brentford fans…. 

Christian Eriksen will be in the squad, and he will get on the pitch to make his debut.

It’s going to happen….

Not my words, Carol. The words of Thomas Frank. Talk about a boost to a midfield which, at times, has seen uphill runs become power-sappingly mundane and overtaking National Express coaches become a long, drawn-out affair. Parking the bus proving far too adept a tactic at stopping the Brentford attacking force. Now, we have Christian available. We have Josh Dasilva starting games again – seeing him on the pitch at 3pm at Arsenal a sight to behold – and we have that other bonus offered up but Thomas…. 

We have all players available, which is positive. That also means Ivan Toney will be involved in the squad tomorrow.

Finally. This is just great news. One can only hope Ivan will be on from the start. He’s been hugely missed and the combination of him and Josh Dasilva in the attacking third one I cannot wait to see. Let alone when you then chuck Christian Eriksen into the mix. 

Actual. Christian. Eriksen. Playing for Brentford. With apologies, its been almost a month now and I still can’t believe it is about to happen. Yet it is. All the reports out of training and those pre-season friendlies suggesting that his story is en-route for a fairy tale ending. I’m sure he’ll come off the bench for this one and, when he does, that most will be immense. That noise will be huge. Even the Newcastle fans might join in, such was the global reach of last summer. The football family united as one.

For me, he’ll come in to a midfield three that will, or at least should, start as Norgaard, Dasilva and Janelt. With Shandon Baptiste and Mathias Jensen also available to pick from, we’ve suddenly got choice. Huge choice. When fully fit, that choice will only get tougher. 

The obvious hope here is that Brentford will be given that added cutting edge we’ve been struggling to find in recent games. The defence seems to have sorted itself out, as much as it can with the options available, although the right wing back channel against Arsenal looked brutal. Mads Roerslev will begin this one, surely?

As we’ve said, many times, players can only play where they are asked. That said, sometimes the peg feels just too square for a particular round hole. Much better keep that option available for higher up the field. Nobody can knock the effort or desire whilst some of the vitriol seen and heard from certain ‘fans’ is just nothing short of embarrassing. Get a grip.

That’s me, I suppose. Embrace the positive. Look at where we are and what we have achieved so far. Fourteenth in the Premier League. Other clubs failing to win the much talked up ‘games in hand’ . See also: last season. Another year in the top flight is there for the taking and, for the record, it will be. A campaign lasts 38 games. Not 7(seven), 8 or 9. The thread below also giving some much needed sense but, also, insight into supporter mindset in some of the replies / quote tweets.

Our start was wonderful. Our run of covid and injuries less so. It would impact any team, let alone one with the budget and set up of ours. That recent sequence of fixtures still showing all the fight one would expect (Southampton aside, which was just a giant turd of a performance), most of which were against clubs aiming for The European places and the title. Now that particular challenge, at least, has been overcome. Everyone is back and we can see what the team does with those added midfield elements. 

Honestly, having both Christian and Josh added to the mix is just HUGE.  Its not a gimme, of course. The team still need to do their thing. The crowd need to get behind them, too. Likewise, Newcastle United aren’t just gong to roll over. The Magpies still sitting way close to that trap door for their liking although recent results have seen them hit form once more and pull out of that awful nose dive that dominated so much of the season.

Allan Saint-Maximin remains the obvious danger man although his participation seems in doubt. Eddie Howe confirming that the player was still in Monaco on Thursday for medical reasons, seeing a personal physio and receiving what was described as the “Best and most intense treatment” possible. (What’s French for anti-gravity treadmill? ).

Draw what you will from that update. Is there any real hope? Will it be the bench at most?  Big money signing Kieran Trippier amongst those definitely missing out too. In the end, though, as we’ve proven against Arsenal. Against Liverpool, Against Chelsea and both Manchester clubs. Quite simply, it doesn’t matter who Brentford are up against IF we choose to play. If we find the ball. If the crowd get behind the team then this side can be up there with the very best. Can drive Cristiano Ronaldo to stropping off – still up there in the highlights of the season to date.

Don’t cry for me, Cristiano…. The mother of all tantrums

We’ve had some wonderful moments so far this campaign. We’ve more than held our own for all but three or four games. Now to see if the return of a talisman and the arrival of a certain Dane can help write another new chapter in the Brentford story.

Bring it on and see you there. Perhaps crack out that mid-90s shirt, too….

Get your Ericsson kits out

Nick Bruzon