Tag Archives: Charlie Austin

As Dean prepares for City game, what has he learned from the weekend? Who starts?

13 Dec

Midweek decisions. With Brentford travelling to Bristol City tonight, I’ve got some sympathy for Bees boss Dean Smith. My own all conquering Fantasy Football team has suddenly been shot to pieces by the red cards for Manchester City duo  Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho combined with long term injuries to Philippe Coutinho and Charlie Austin at Liverpool and Southampton respectively. Seriously, you couldn’t make it up.

The danger of over tinkering to remedy this has already blown up in my face at the weekend  (yes Jermaine Defoe, you do seem to be a cheap replacement for the free scoring Manchester City man) and could get worse.  The Bees, meanwhile, are at Ashton Gate tonight with Dean facing a similar set of decisions.

Thankfully, there are no new injuries but with this being the middle game in a set of three within eight days (and that’s before you even hit the busy Christmas schedule – wonderful planning from the league) is it a case of doing some longer term planning? Will he change things around a bit or does he stick with more of the same and potentially run his team into the ground?

To be honest, I can’t see him mixing things up. Whilst Burton Albion didn’t provide the stiffest of opposition it was a case of getting back to winning ways. One of the oldest of football clichés says you never change a winning team whilst I’d also chuck in the one about taking each game as it comes. Besides, what should he actually do?

As in the game with Birmingham City, it was as much a case of celebrating what hit the back of the net as lamenting what didn’t but at least on this occasion we got out of it with points. Is it simple bad luck or something intrinsically flawed with his set up?

Personally I’m in the former camp. Mostly. The plan seems a simple one, play it through for Scott Hogan to get on the end of and, when it works, it does so to devastating effect. The goal machine is now three clear of Tammy Abraham who he’ll be up against tonight in the race for leading Championship scorer. Only Dwight Gayle at Newcastle United has scored more this season. That’s a  stunning achievement although one which does show our incredible reliance on Dean’s Plan A.

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The Bees celebrated more goals for Scott at the weekend

As in the Birmingham game, we saw  the return of the three centre back system and I’m sure Dean will give that another go. Should Tom Field (two wins from his two Brentford appearances) get a start or will he have to remain content on the bench? The system is one that needs to be persisted with – the opening goal against the Blues was horrible whilst the marking for Burton would have shamed a primary school team. Yet it is a system which looks as though it will have merit whilst solving Dean’s problem of how to play at least three, if not all four, of his centre backs.

As for the midfield, one can only guess at just what is it that stops KK even making it onto the field of play? But if he is to get a look in, it needs to be a decent run of appearances rather than a token cameo. It is one that has been much needed in recent weeks – if only to try and break up the poor run – but Dean has remained steadfast. And now, with the team back to winning ways, the Austrian may aswell take a pair of tweezers to Bristol in order to pluck the splinters from his backside.

Then again, the start against Burton (at least, until the substitutions) means no change will, or should, happen. Romaine Sawyers was quite wonderful, Nico was full of fight whilst Josh McEachran picked up where he left off against Birmingham. There was a strong case for Alan Mac but one that was resisted and it seems to have been the correct decision.

Let’s not pretend we were perfect against Burton. But we were much improved. Indeed, but for that twist of fate it could have been more. We can see from the stands how unlucky we are being although my slight concern is that listening to Dean speak and reading ‘official’ it is an element that is being heavily focussed upon. “We could have done this…. the referee should have done that…. how did the ‘keeper stop it?” rather than simply, asking the question – why aren’t we finding the net more?

In a column that has already mentioned double cliché, let’s go for the hat-trick. You make your own luck in this game. Create enough chances and, eventually, things will go in your favour. Something will go in off a defender’s backside. The referee will wave somebody on when they are five yards ahead of the last defender. The opposition goalkeeper will be distracted by chants of “It’s all your fault” and spill one on the line.

Over 500 hardy souls are travelling up to Bristol tonight. Many more will be listening on BeesPlayer. Here’s hoping they are rewarded for their efforts with another hard fought performance.

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View from the Braemar – it was full blooded on Saturday

Nick Bruzon

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Can Brentford take bragging rights, and 3 points, from QPR?

30 Oct

Game on. The first match between Brentford and QPR in over ten years takes place on Friday evening with a full house expected at Griffin Park and many more watching live on Sky. It would be fair to say, and moreso given some of the history, that expectation levels are close to going through the roof. But what are we going to get?

Don’t lose” seems to be the priority. And for supporters of both clubs. But it’s the wrong way to approach a game, in my opinion. Had we been playing the likes of Manchester City or Arsenal then, perhaps, caution would be the better part of valour. But, in footballing terms at least, QPR are currently on a par with the Bees.

Only two points separate our teams as Brentford’s three consecutive victories (at present, the longest winning streak in the Championship) makes us the division’s form team. And there weren’t many people who thought we’d be saying after the first few games of the season.

The BBC table shows Brentford are now in the top half

The BBC table shows Brentford are now in the top half

Will Lee Carsley go for broke and keep up the attacking football that has seen us score 7(seven) goals in those three wins whilst shipping only one? Or will staying unbeaten, in what is sure to be a highly charged atmosphere, be a priority?

I hope we play as we have done in recent weeks. In Alan Judge we have the Championship’s man of the moment whilst QPR, although tightening things up in the last two games, have been haemorraging goals. Only Rotherham United (24) have leaked more than the 22 that have hit the back of the Rangers’ net this season.

Besides, we’re just not very good at sitting back. Look at those opening 15 minutes against Charlton Athletic last weekend. Letting a team run at us, rather than dictating play, was almost catastrophic. In the end it all turned out rather well and, for that reason alone, I expect Lee to play in a similar vein with a similar starting XI. The main question being whether to go with Lasse Vibe ahead of Marco Djuricin?

Against Charlton, Brentford pushed until the last minute

Against Charlton, Brentford pushed until the last minute

Vibe took his, and our third, goal beautifully (although that was as much down to the stunning crossfield ball played by Alan Judge) and so could be in contention to start on the pitch rather than the bench. Either way, a nice problem for Lee Carsley to have.

And could we see Sam Saunders on the bench? Or is that just wishful thinking as the wing wizard and deadball danger man continues his return to match fitness? What a moment to make his return tonight would be.

The main threat to the Bees, especially with Jamie Mackie (a player you just don’t hear mentioned enough, such is his prodigious talent and footballing education ) injured, will be from former Poole Town dangerman Charlie Austin. Assuming he starts.

The free scoring frontman is expected to be fit once more after a month out with a hamstring injury but will he put in any form of appearance?

Well, I’m not too bothered. Of course, I’d rather our opponents were missing their better options but, equally, we’ve played good teams before and we’ve raised our game accordingly. Last season’s Championship campaign has certainly taught us to fear nobody.

I hope that Lee and the team play the game and the opponents rather than the event and reputation. The games with Fulham last season showed us all how exciting it can be if you approach a local derby with the right attitude.

Oh, for a repeat of the last one at Griffin Park. Fulham were dominated to a level unseen outside of certain private members’ clubs before snatching one against the run of play. But then Harlee’s thunderbolt and Jota’s injury time winner sent the place crazy.

Could we do it again? At 7.45pm, we find out.

Jota - his winner against Fulham at Griffin Park was quite exciting

Jota – his winner against Fulham at Griffin Park was quite exciting

Nick Bruzon

Barbet or Barton? Is Matthew Benham’s clue pointing to France or QPR?

24 Jun

Matthew Benham has sent Brentford fans into waves of mild panic that the club will be signing former QPR midfielder and current free agent Joey Barton.

The cause for this alarm was the club owner using Twitter on Wednesday lunchtime to release one of his ‘cryptic clues’ – always a sign that transfer news is imminent. This time around, the video was a scene from Coen Brothers classic, Barton Fink. Hence the immediate thought that similarly monikered Joey was next on the Griffin Park shopping list.

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are !