Tag Archives: Tarique Fosu

What a performance. None moreso than from this man!

4 Feb

Second in the Championship. Unbeaten in 19 league games. Perhaps, most important, an opportunity taken when it was presented. Brentford beat Bristol City 3-2 last night to move within four points of Norwich City at the top of the table. Still with a game in hand. It was a game that, aside from a few minutes at the start and the end, always looked in complete control. The early and late goals for the visitors causing a few anxious moments but ultimately the strikes from Sergi Canos, Ivan Toney and Samman Ghoddos proved sufficient. Now we can look forward to Friday night and seeing which favour is done when Swansea City host Norwich. All that, prior to our our game at Middlesbrough on Saturday. 

No words needed

Let’s not underestimate the scale and importance of this victory. With everything going our way in the build up (Norwich held, Watford and Bournemouth losing, our own domination of the physical Swans) there was always that nagging doubt that it might go a bit Pete Wrong. Perhaps scarred by the memories of Stoke and Barnsley at the denouement of the previous campaign where West Brom’s falling apart was only matched by our own LL after looking untouchable for the entirety of the post lockdown run-in. It was a feeling only perpetuated after the Robins took an early lead, Zak Vyner guiding home a free kick at the back post. A free kick that probably shouldn’t even have been awarded but, alas, it was. It was punished with clinical precision and Bristol City were away. 

Except, they weren’t. Boom, Brentford came flying out the traps from the restart and turned up the pressure. Sergi and Tariqe pulling the strings down the flanks. Ivan Toney getting involved everywhere. Josh Dasilva missing but replaced by unsung hero Vitaly Janelt. Ethan close. Sergi closer. Noooo. Almost. “It feels like its going to be one of those,” I said to Mrs. B. with almost half an hour gone. Oh me of little faith. Superb work down the right from Ivan saw the ball played into the box. Fosu took first bite at the cherry before who else but Sergi was there to add another goal to his haul. Daniel Bentley’s parry out falling perfectly for the Spaniard who made no mistake. One each, Brentford dominant and pushing on.

Half time came with the scores level but if it felt like welcome relief for the visitors, the moment was short lived. As with Wycombe on Saturday, Brentford came back out at 100mph. Bristol City nowhere close to being prepared for what came next. Tariqe Fosu’s cross from the right was about as perfect as they come. A tracer bullet of a delivery that tore through the heart of the Robins to be met withI the brilliance of Ivan Toney. The timing and execution as he steered it home about as beautiful as one could hope to see. His twentieth goal of the season as wonderful as any that have come before and one which owed a huge debt of gratitude to Tarique. Lovely stuff.

The Bees pushed on, dominating possession. City shell shocked and although trying to get back in to it, offering as much resistance as a chocolate lime left in the blazing sunshine. There was no way through and instead it was Brentford who controlled the pace. It felt like the next one was inevitable and sure enough, as the Spice Girls almost once sang, tonight is the night that two become three. This time it was Samman who got on the scoresheet. Again, Fosu was the architect with his run and ball being picked up by Ghoddos. His first effort saw Bentley beaten all ends up but came back off the bar. Alfie Mawson’s clearance wasn’t but Ghoddos still had to stretch before connecting with the other foot to blast it straight back past the ‘keeper and into the back of the net for 3-1 with not much more than an hour played. Game over, surely? 

Well, yes. The game was contained and the final quarter-hour saw a flurry of substitutions. Understandable given this was the first of 8 league games over just 24 days in February. The trip to Middlesbrough at the weekend no doubt playing on Thomas Frank’s mind. Freshness will be key and a two goal lead was enough to preserve. Errrr. Well, yes it was at the end although let’s not pretend there wasn’t a bit of squeaky bum time with the plethora of defensive changes leaving us feeling a tad lopsided. Certainly, to the usual observer. Ultimately though the record books and table don’t lie. They show Brentford second and with a 3-2 win. They don’t show how the late consolation from Nahki Wells was offside. At least, by the rudimentary calculations offered up by the GPG. Who needs computer graphics when things appear this blatant?

We won. We’re happy. Very happy. It was a game that, as Thomas was quick to remind viewers, was played without four players who would likely be considered part of his starting XI : Pontus, Josh, Christian and Bryan. He was also quick to praise the roles played by those who have stepped in and stepped up. The way Tariqe has grown from being in Benrahma’s shadow. The way Sergi has flourished – wonderful to hear although anybody following the games could see that. Yet let’s not forget, either, that at least two of those four have missed most of this season. The ‘stand ins’ have already well stood up and taken their chance. Vitaly Janelt has been immense. Bryan Mbeumo must be wondering how and when he gets back in. I’d love the options provided by a fit Pontus but even he was there roaring the team on from the sidelines. Besides, you can’t have everything and to be where we are  at this juncture, with this squad, is quite fantastic.

Whilst an all round team performance, Fosu deserves special singling out. Sergi and Ivan were immense and could rightly consider themselves hard done by in not scooping the MOTM award. Yet to have given it to anyone beyond Tariqe would have been criminal. He’s been growing into the team and offering up more and more of his brilliance. Cripes, last night (and also Saturday v Wycombe) see him as undroppable. He was incredible. Thomas Frank mutt be smiling to himself at the perfect timing of this talent explosion.

Tarique swept the board when the votes were counted

February is going to be huge. It is going to be exhausting. Yet get through it with any sort of form and the finish will be in sight. There’ll be just 12 games left to play and the position at the top will, one hopes, be clearer. That’s not to get too far ahead of ourselves though. That’s not to enjoy the moment of another fine win. Like all of us I’d have loved to be there. Alas, it wasn’t to be but at least we had the pleasure of seeing another win. Of seeing Ivan go three clear at the top of the Championship goal scorers charts. Of seeing Tarique play a quite wonderful game of football. My word he was immense. 

There’s plenty of fun, stress, excitement and expectation to come. For now, let’s catch our breath and say ‘Well done’ after another stonking win. Bristol City may have been generous in their own pre-match donations to a local food bank (well played, well played) but once things kicked off there was no gifts being offered. The Bees had to scrap for everything but what a way to do it. Class on a plate. Here’s to the hope of more being served up at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Nick Bruzon   

Bring out the brackets.

30 Jan

What an afternoon. What a result. What a performance. A hat-trick for Ivan Toney. Individual strikes from Tarique Fosu, Josh Dasilva, Ethan Pinnock and Sergi Canos (the net is still bulging) all adding up to a magnificent 7(seven) for Brentford. Despite scoring twice to go in level at half time, Wycombe Wanderers had no answer to the second half explosion inspired by a resurgent Sergi, a rampant Tariqe, Josh oozing class and Ivan back to his goal scoring best. With Norwich City dropping points against Middlesbrough, Wednesday’s game against Bristol City has taken on an even greater dimension. That’s for then. For now, its all about the Bees earning a further GD swing of +5 and the unbeaten league run continuing ever onwards.

Indeed there were…..

Brentford were magnificent. A 2-2 half-time scoreline about as frustrating as they come. Sergi had conspired to head over with just a few minutes on the clock before Ethan Pinnock buried a corner from Matthias Jensen. 1-0. Open the floodgates. Or, rather, don’t. Instead, show uncharacteristic indecision and let your opponents back into it. The lead lasting barely five minutes before Uche Ikpeazu levelled it up with a wonderful strike following a spate of possession form the visitors that had all the hallmarks of the inevitable equaliser. 

No matter, Brentford pressed on again. The goal sat waiting to be filled. Saves made. Posts hit. Openings unconverted. Agony cranking up until Tarique Fosu was awarded the goal that made it 2-1. For me, Clive, it was Ivan Toney’s all day long. Fosu, who played an absolute blinder today, stabbing home when the ball was already well over the line. It will no doubt be given to Ivan eventually and we’re already calling it as such. 

Whomever was credited at the time, the only thing that mattered was it crossing the line. Having taken the lead, we wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Surely? Oh, we did. This time the lead lasting just two minutes before Admiral Muskwe restored parity just prior to half-time. Yet another demonstration of chances counting for naff all if you don’t bury them. Credit to Wycombe, they knew what to do when the moment came. Brentford had been profligate ; the visitors clinical.

Whatever Thomas Frank said at half-time , he needs to bottle. Talk about the mother of all pep talks. There was only one intent when the boys can back out – kill this one off and do it fast. Fosu was there first, then Ivan Toney with another of his ice cool penalties low to the right. A 4-2 lead with little more than ten minutes played and, this time, there was no choke. No invitation to our guest to get back into the game. Brentford strangled the life out of it before a blitzkrieg assault at the end saw the day end in 7th (seventh) heaven.

Sergi absolute leathered it home after fine work from Josh. A run and cool finish fro mIvan made it six and the hat-trick before man-of-the-match Dasilva completed the rout. The final three goals coming from 81 minutes onwards. Who knows just how crucial these may turn out to be come the end of the season? Only Swansea on 18 are even vaguely close to a GD that now reads +21.

We could have been down at half-time. We weren’t. The usual faces were laying into Sergi once more (well, I suppose with Charlie Goode and Emiliano missing they had to go for someone). Football is a game of 90 minutes and my word, didn’t we prove that ? This is the team that never gives up. That refuses to be beaten. That plays, and celebrates, together. You could see what this one meant. You could probably hear the screams from our house half way down to Lionel Road.

Brentford are now in third place. Two points off Swansea and six off Norwich with a game in hand on both. This season has plenty of twists left in it but you can’t ask for more than we got today. Sure, luck was ridden at times but the history books, and the table, don’t lie. And I know what both of those say.

We started the day saying this one had the potential to be Biblical. It was beyond that. It was immense. Finishing of the highest degree once we got our shooting boots properly laced up. I’d love to be there in person but its not too shabby following from home. Now bring on Bristol City…..  

Nick Bruzon

Where’s Keith when you need him? Swans try to break our arms with their wings. And their midfield. And their defence.

28 Jan

Look positive. Brentford remain unbeaten in the Championship since late October. A 1-1 draw at Swansea City saw our hosts punch, kick and elbow their way back to second place in the table. Two points ahead of the Bees but with an additional game played. They travel to Rotherham on Saturday. We’ve another showdown with Wycombe Wanderers at Lionel Road. It was a game that we’re all left feeling hard done by after dominating play yet being kicked off the park by Steve Cooper’s unattractive brand of physical and cynical football. Clearly, he’s a fan of that approach and when you get a referee as innocuous as John Brooks was then its understandable why. It was a game crying out for the no-nonsense card waving of Keith Stroud but we were given Ray Biggar 2 . With Josh Dasilva , Vitaly Janelt and Sergi Canos amongst those being particularly brutalised Keith would have stamped it out in a moment. Instead, the only stamping was from a Swans team allowed to haul us off the ball with abandon and despite being, eventually, reduced to ten men still saw Jake Bidwell’s elbow to David Raya go unnoticed as the equaliser drifted in .

Sour grapes? No. Frustration? Yes!! Swansea are a rock solid team with a, generally water tight defence. They’re where they are for good reason. Some fair, some foul. It was a mammoth game for us and we more than matched the home team. Raya rarely troubled as Brentford took the game by the scuff of its neck and drove forward. Unfortunately, Swansea took Brentford by the scruff of our necks and did all possible to kill it. Rico Henry came oh so close in the first half as did Bryan Mbeumo. At one point he and Henrik tripping over each other to head the ball home fand, instead, conspiring to miss. No matter, it would come soon. 

The magical Matthias Jensen opened up the Swansea defence as easily as he would a packet of fish fingers to free Josh in the second half. Surely now. Surely….? Nooooooo. The ‘keeper got in the way as the goal opened up. But eventually the pressure paid. With Swansea finally down to ten men after Kyle Naughton was eventually shown a second yellow card (having previously dodged more bullets than the lovely Debbie McGhee facing a blindfolded Paul Daniels back in the day),  there was Tarique Fosu to head home a Dalsgaard cross in the 74th minute. 

Get in!! Our house erupted. Crisps in the air. Percy Pigs scattered everywhere in a celebration of relief and excitement. A goal and a man up. Dominating the game. This could only go one way. And sure enough, it did. It’s Brentford, innit?

To be fair, this one wasn’t down to us. A free kick given away near there touchline was delivered in to the box by Conor Hourihane. IT WAS a great ball in, to be fair, but should still have been meat and drink to David Raya. Instead, he was surrounded by Swansea players with Jake Bidwell unable to match us by fair means so resorting to foul. His elbow to Raya seen by everybody but Mr Brooks. Amazing. How? We were already screaming at the tv before Hourihane’s delivery was able to continue unchecked into the back of the net. Even Thomas called it at full time saying “I think it (the equaliser) is a foul. I think there’s an elbow in the face and with VAR it would be disallowed, but the ball is put into a brilliant area.”    

I’m not stealing the photo for this one. No idea what the legal people at ‘Rex Features’ are like but do check out the BBC match report for the full, unadulterated evidence of just how blatant this was.

Thomas was, as ever, being diplomatic. There was no ‘think’ about it. It was there and clear to all. Instead, the scores were level and from that point on every effort was made to run down the clock. Every ‘foul’ on the home team milked to the absolute nth degree. Poor Andre Ayew – please could somebody check in on him today and give us the ‘all clear’. They way he flopped around like a fish out of water had me genuinely fearing for his life.

Credit to Swansea. They had a job to do and did it well. Credit to Steve Cooper. Sometimes ugly works. Dirty play and brutal assault have their place in football if the referee won’t punish the assailants . As it was, Mr. Brooks still showed five yellows (including the second for Naughton) but on any other night, or with Keith in charge, one could honestly have expected the game to be abandoned and a nominal 3-0 win awarded to Brentford due to the Swans having insufficient players left on the pitch to continue.

You get the point. There’s no point me moaning anymore. I’ll leave that one to Harry who was unaware his own full time moment was being captured ! Instead, its on to Saturday and the visit from Wycombe. Destiny still well well in our hands. A win would have been marvellous but the most important thing is that we didn’t lose. Didn’t allow Swansea the chance to get further ahead. If there was any justice we’d have gone home with all three points but that’s not how football works. Oh well, we’ll just have to see what the weekend brings. With Rotherham beating Middlesbrough in some style last night, I do wonder what twists the weekend may still hold?

Nick Bruzon

Banging the drum for our Triple J.

25 Nov

Another game unbeaten. Another clean sheet. Another goal for Ivan Toney. Another three points for Thomas Frank’s squad. Brentford left Oakwell on the right end of a 1-0 win over Barnsley on Tuesday. The run now up to six games without defeat whilst conceding a mere two goals over that period. The Bees are sitting within touching distance of the play-off zone – up to eighth in the Championship table ahead of tonight’s fixtures. Then there’s the small matter of the game on Friday night. A televised visit from the Shepherds Bush outfit.

Ivan does it again

The obvious talking point ahead of kick-off was the team announcement. Ghoddos out. Canos out. Janelt and Fosu both starting whilst Ethan Pinnock also made a return. No arguments with any of that although Mads Bech can perhaps count himself unlucky after impressing to date. As noted last time out, the performances against Wycombe and Middlesbrough had been somewhat of a ‘challenge’ to sit through. Defensively sound but stifled creatively. Most of the midfield / attacking force failing to impress and, whilst I still can’t get my head around the vitriol directed towards one player, it was clear some changes were needed.

Change is what we got. The addition of Janelt to the centre of the park adding more solidity. Doing to Barnsley what had been done to us in recent weeks. Good luck Thomas Frank once Christian Norgaard is fit ! With it came the added confidence to push up. Tarique Fosu finally unleashed and having a blinder, too. An early shot from the edge of the box coming close but Jack Walton in nets managed to keep it out. Rico Henry could also count himself unlucky with a similar effort as Brentford went for it from the off before the game settled down.  One smart stop from Raya aside, there was little else to recall. Barnsley barely given a chance to threaten as the Bees waited for what seemed like the inevitable goal. 

It was only a matter of time, suggested Mick Cabble on the Iplayer comms team. Mind you, we’d felt the same against Middlesbrough and Wycombe, only to see them end in those insipid 0-0 draws. This one was different though. The second half began with Marcondes (2019/20’s Canos – we need one every season, it seems) on for Josh Dasilva. All being well that’s nothing more than precautionary. Like Rico, Ethan, David and Ivan he’s been up there in our best and most consistent performers so far. Long may that continue – especially with Friday’s big one approaching.

Brentford pushed up once more (the absence of that chant another reason to abhor the current situation of empty stadia).  Mbeumo came close before who else but Ivan Toney was there to remind us of the way to goal? With just over an hour gone, he rose like a salmon to guide home a Mathias Jensen corner. 1-0. Game on. Pressure off. It really was a precision effort. The technique and the steer all about what made this one. Placement over power as Walton was left with a mountain to climb trying to get even half-way close.

It could have been double almost straight after. Toney charging Walton to force a hurried clearance which fell to Mbeumo via Marcondes. The wideman broke forward, sofas at home already relived of the pressure as we all leapt to our feet in anticipation. Nooo. He fired just high and just wide. It could, probably should, have been two. I can imagine the Twitter meltdown had it been another player 😉 . Instead of cruising over the line we were left hanging on to the thought that one freak moment, one mishap and things would be level. But it wasn’t to be. 

Canos and Forss both made it on to the pitch late, with the former cueing up the later for a chance that – like Mbeumo – the player may well be frustrated about not burying. That’s football. We got the win and the record books will reflect three more points to Brentford. The table does’t lie and we wake up this morning to see the Bees just one win away from third placed Bristol City. Frank out !

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, that’s for sure. I’ve never professed to be an expert when it comes to football but at the same time, it was clear something hasn’t been working. Personally speaking,  I loved the combination of Janelt, Josh and Jensen in the middle and will certainly be banging the drum for our Triple J once again. Probably a little more niche than the BMW or FT Index but if you know you know.

Niche

Of what is probably broader discussion on social media, could Thomas Frank’s rolling of the dice marked Fosu prove to be a key moment in the season? Certainly Tarique took his chance in some style and must be a shoe in for Friday. Only time will tell on the anger term choices but with the games coming non-stop, it won’t be the last change we see. Sergi will be back. So will Saman. Sometimes those selections will be expected. Others, not so. That’s the one thing we have been calling all season – that squad use is going to be pivotal. If for no other reason than the increased substitution ruling has given more flexibility. Yesterday’s game already seeing us make four changes mid-match.

For now, I can’t see any change for Friday. Injury aside. We’ve continued to look solid at the back but despite ‘only’ scoring one goal, it never felt in doubt. There was confidence and attacking intent. A midweek trip to Yorkshire in the cold has all the appeal of sitting down to watch the Mrs Browns Boys Christmas special (warning – it IS coming back. Again. Like cockroaches, I can imagine Mrs. Brown and her cardigan would be the only thing to survive nuclear war). 

However, we rose to the challenge and held firm when it counted. There won’t be any amongst us who wouldn’t have taken a 1-0 had it, somehow, been able to be offered prior to kick off. With Quarter Pound off Rubbish next up, Brentford couldn’t have found a better time to return to winning ways. Now, over to you Peter Gilham. Something about a team talk….

You know it would happen

Nick Bruzon

Welcome to the best bus stop in Hounslow. Window slams shut in style.

1 Feb

Brentford travel to Hull City this lunchtime with the transfer window having closed in just about the best way possible. None of our much touted big names have gone, although it was sad to see Josh Clarke depart after his contract was cancelled by mutual consent. Instead, Bees Boss Thomas Frank pulled out the half chewed BIC to make a double transfer swoop for Shandon Baptiste and Tariqe Fosu. Both players coming in from Oxford United for a combined undisclosed fee thought to be in the £3m ballpark. Something which, if true, would seem to represent tremendous value – not least going by the reaction of Oxford supporters on social media. There was further good news, although not for today’s hosts, with Jarrod Bowen completing his move to West Ham United and Markus Henriksen joining Bristol City on loan. This, after Kamil Grosicki began the exodus when he switched to the Championship’s current second placed team, West Bromwich Albion.

For Brentford, this would seem to be yet more of the shrewd business that has typified our life in the Championship and before. Matthew Benham and his team once more ahead of the curve. Midfielder Baptiste, just 21,  has already featured 42 times for Oxford whilst Fosu has 10 goals in 33 appearances after the attacker joined the U’s from Charlton over the summer. Now he is a Bee. Baptiste is described by Thomas as having, “Great one-on-one skills in the middle of the pitch. He is energetic, great on the ball and works very hard pressing when we do not have it”. He is the one that fans of both clubs seem to be buzzing about and will certainly add some more beef to midfield. Moreso with Kamo now joining those on the sidelines. As Thomas went on to say, “he looked like a Brentford player.

One would imagine the game at Hull City today is way too soon for either player to even trouble the bench. But then, the team that went down to Tim Robinson and Nottingham Forest on Tuesday will no doubt be looking to prove that the result there was nothing more than a glitch in the matrix. A night when, for once, we were second best to jus abut everyone – our opponents, the officials and gamesmanship. Whether Pontus is available remains to be seen. He was conspicuous by his absence from yesterday’s ‘official’ pictures on social media, but otherwise expect no change.

Screenshot 2020-02-01 at 06.45.28

Official released this picture of Shandon on Twitter

For Hull City, expect a very different team. The out door has not so much swung as been blown off the hinges. One has to feel for their fans – it is a situation that Brentford have been in many, many times before. Moreso, the Tigers having to suffer the indignity of an alleged £20m bid from West Ham United (a deadline day story that is as much a staple as Harry Redknapp leaning out of his car window) actually coming to fruition instead of being nothing more than the usual rumour. Losing the third top scorer in the division in Jarrod Bowen is going to be a tough enough act to follow. Combine this the departure of Grosicki to West Brom and it really is a case of losing two huge names. Whilst former captain Henriksen may not have overly troubled the scorers recently, this haemorrhaging of players is not what anybody would want heading into a game.

This one is huge. They all are at present but Brentford know that winning the lunchtime kick off will take us within three points of West Bromwich Albion in second. Whilst The Baggies do, of course, have that home banker against Luton Town, they are on somewhat of a wobble at present. Our playing first, in the televised game, could only heap further pressure if we are able to pick up the points that everybody is so desperate to get hold of.

Tuesday night WAS disappointing, no question. But if has been and gone. The excitement last night was palpable, with our star names retained and more talent added to the squad. Are Shandon and Tarique the final pieces in our promotion push? The missing links to drive us over the line and up to the hallowed ground of the Premier League?

To even be having such thoughts still seem ridiculous but you can’t deny what is happening around us. Let’s not kick the opportunity and treat this like the joke that so many outside our club think it is. Instead, this is the time to really go for it. And I can’t wait. We may be (relatively) small but that doesn’t make us any less of a threat.

As Emma Briden nailed it on Twitter yesterday, “Welcome to best bus stop in Hounslow”.

Now bring on Hull City…..

Screenshot 2020-02-01 at 06.55.30

Nick Bruzon