Tag Archives: Tim Krul

Did Swansea help Brentford? Who would you pick?

6 Feb

Brentford fans are waking up to a table that sees us back in third place prior to this afternoon’s game at Middlesbrough but with the door to ‘automatic’ opened that little bit wider following a 2-0  win for Swansea City over Norwich City last night. The current state of the table sees us sitting two points behind the Swans and four behind the Canaries, albeit with one and two games in hand respectively. The right results in those outstanding fixtures speak for themselves but before we get carried away and look to Wednesday’s visit to fourth placed Reading, focus has to be on the current state of play.

Cripes, last night was interesting. There was no real preference as to the result. Win, lose or draw  – any combination could have been construed to have a positive benefit for Brentford. Instead, it was simply a case of sitting back to see how Swansea would fare against another set of promotion seeking opponents. We all saw their WWE approach the other week as they salvaged a point against the Bees – last night was much more positive. Dominating possession and attempting to play football. A first goal that would have been embarrassing had it been conceded by a team of under 7(seven)s, let alone the Championship leaders. Norwich with half a dozen men between Andre Ayew and the goal line yet none able to get in the way of his effort following a butter fingers moment from Tim Krul. How nice to see Ayew doing what we all know he can rather than writhing around on the floor like a fish out of water. 

We got the ‘good’ Ayew last night

Conor Hourihane’s doubling of the lead a splendid second half effort that left Krul no chance and Norwich dead on their feet. If anybody in TW8 thinks Steve Cooper’s team are punching above their weight, or just punching, then think again. They were brutal. In the best sense. The win thoroughly deserved and one which never really felt in doubt. Certainly, to the casual onlooker.  

Whilst it is a victory that means Swansea have overtaken us, the psychological advantage of now having Norwich in genuine catching distance cannot be under estimated. Both in positives for us, should we win today (no small feat, of course) and negatives for them should we be able to heap even further pressure on a team who have looked so, so comfortable and in control of the table for so, so long this season. Just look at how, historically, Leeds United have fallen apart. Again and again. Three points for Brentford at the Riverside could be the catalyst for a similar level of stress to be applied.

Three points. It sounds so simple. In theory. This one is going to be about as tough as they come though. For Middlesbrough, their own chance to enter the play-off race is an opportunity sitting up and waiting to be taken. Bournemouth have hit the skids big time and a recent record of LLLL sees them now just two points ahead of Neil Warnock’s team. If we think we have incentive to get the win then let’s not be blind to that which is offered up to our hosts. Yet, for Brentford there is that own unbeaten run. The positivity coursing through the team immense. The bounce back against Bristol City midweek nothing short of magnificent. This, without Josh Dasilva whom one would imagine is match fit again for the afternoon game.

Tariqe Fosu was immense. Sergi Canos brilliant. Let’s not forget, either, only 13 players have scored more Championship goals this season than the Spaniard. Ivan Toney was, well, just Ivan Toney. A goal machine on legs. Finishing and confidence to match the very best we’ve ever had. A player who has not only filled the shoes of Ollie Watkins but, if anything, outgrown them already.

We’ve been blessed in recent years but you have to put this down to the directors of football and the vision of Matthew Benham. Honestly, if you could pick one out of Toney, Watkins or Maupay who would it be? There are no wrong answers here and I think we’d happily settle on any of them. Different personalities, different approaches but all able to find the back of the net with aplomb. If he carries on at this rate, Ivan has the potential to be the very best of the bunch.

Oh ambassador. With these strikers you are really spoiling us

For me, Clive, the return of Josh Dasilva will be huge. He really is one of those ‘first name on the team sheet’ type players. I still find it amazing we got him for nothing. How Arsenal must be regretting their decision to let him go as he has developed his own game and ability at a quite phenomenal pace. What price now on him? Then again you could say the same about Rico Henry. About Ethan Pinnock. About David Raya. About Vitaly Janelt who already feels like part of the furniture despite this only being his first season. No time needed to settle in – he’s hit the ground running. Henrik Dalsgaard, the World Cup’s Henrik Dalsgaard, getting on about his business. A phenomenal engine up the right and a rock solid presence at the back. Cripes, this team is ridiculously strong on their day. That’s before you even factor in the next generation coming off the bench.

I am confident. Not in expecting victory – nothing is guaranteed in this game – but in knowing just how immense this team is when everything fires. When our top, top players do their thing. A game with Middlesbrough used to be a thing for Brentford fans to fear. A guaranteed defeat as our start to Championship life saw them beat us again and again and again. Not even the threat of a draw.

Middlesbrough used to be untouchable back in the day

Yet with that monkey now well and truly despatched, we can look at this fixture as just another game. Albeit against a team with their own huge carrot being dangled. I’ve just got a feeling that Brentford, and Ivan’s, will be bigger. 

Kick off is at 3pm. Its on ifollow, as ever. See you there. In spirit if not body. The couch, and there lucky socks, await…..   

Nick Bruzon

Bees celebrate a special 50th and another game unbeaten. Happy 2019!

1 Jan

And so a chaotic round of festive fixtures comes to a close with Brentford and Norwich City sharing a point following a 1-1 New Year’s Day draw. The Bees are unbeaten in 2019. Unbeaten over that four game congested run that now sees some respite approaching with Oxford United next up in the FA Cup. On an afternoon that  was chosen to mark Peter Gilham’s 50th year as Griffin Park’s ‘man-with-the-mic’, the game ended with both managers no doubt feeling their respective teams had done enough to win it. Yet, being honest, there were no complaints about another point earned following the Christmas draws on the road at Bristol and Birmingham City. Moreso, given the somewhat erratic performance of referee Gavin Ward who did his very best to enrage both sets of supporters with a stop-start performance, random bookings and several penalty calls ignored.

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And this is Saunders territory… Norwich City were visitors to Griffin Park.

Thomas Frank saw his Bees start this one at 100mph. Attacking, confident football was the order of the day as Said Benrahma and Sergi Canos drove forward with intent. Neal Maupay making a nuisance of himself, Kamo bossing centre-mid and Rico Henry impressing down the left side. Flank partner Moses Odubajo can count himself somewhat unlucky in missing out on this one but perhaps the procession of games over such a short space of time has been telling. 

Pressure built with Brentford taking the lead half way through the opening period. Julian Jeanvier, again part of the three centre back set up that has coincided with our own upturn of form, heading home from a Benrahma corner kick in front of the Norwich supporters. 

I have no idea, but Leo Vegas sponsor every Brentford goal”, proclaimed Peter Gilham as he announced the opener. This, before a brief apology to the French defender. If ever there was a moment to show how much we know and love the man affectionately known as Mr. Brentford then here it was.

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Fifty years on and Peter Gilham still has us enthralled.

The Bees pushed on. Half time came and went with the single goal lead remaining in place. Neil Maupay v Tim Krul in the Norwich City goal becoming a battle that would ultimately decide the fate of the game. Whilst Timm Klose levelled things up late on – a goal that had been coming as Brentford visibly tired in front of us – it was the Canaries ‘keeper who pulled off two wonder saves from the Championship’s leading scorer in the second half which proved pivotal. Do check these out on the video highlights – Sky have theirs up now – then doff your hat to the visitors. They’re at the business end of the table for good reason yet, at the same time, our own running them so close tells you as much as you need to know about our own fighting spirit returning.

Peter Gilham had done his best to whip the crowd into a frenzy. The players kept it going. Gavin Ward played his part too as a series of somewhat ‘random’ (and that’s the polite word) decisions kept both sets of supporters on their toes. The relief that greeted the Norwich City equaliser was palpable from the visiting fans. The disappointment at running them so close evident to the home set. 6 points out of 12 now marking an upturn in form for the Bees who had been on that horrific run.

Turn a few more of those into wins and the top ten is more than possible. That’s a long way off, of course, but at a time that it looked as though Brentford might get sucked into the relegation mire it’s nice just to be looking up once more. It’s wonderful to see our team playing with heart and gusto. To see those defensive howlers fast disappearing into the nether reaches of the memory. Long may it continue.

Next up are Oxford United in the FA Cup. That’s going to be an equally different sort of test. If only  the trying to find any leftover bacofoil after cooking the Christmas turkey. That replica trophy isn’t going to make itself but that’s a challenge for another day.

For now, it simply remains to take comfort in the return of an infinitely more positive and solid looking Bees team. Whilst we are by no means the finished article compared to earlier in the season, and the now open transfer window could wreak further havoc (or benefit) there is plenty to remain optimistic about. Julian Jeanvier continues to impress. As does Rico Henry. Kamo was a rock in the midfield whilst Yoann Barbet’s return can only be a positive. One run in the first half saw him slice through the Norwich City midfield, riding tackle after tackle as he surged upfield before being unceremoniously upended in Saunders territory.

Long may it continue. A very happy start to the New Year. Now bring on Oxford United in the cup….

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View from the Braemar – Rico Henry impressed today.

Nick Bruzon 

Harlee Dean hit in face with a fish

7 Jul

Thank you, Harlee Dean. With Brentford currently borrowing the X-Factor theme, he has also joined in on the homage to ITV scheduling.

Harlee seems to be turning himself into TW8’s very own Harry Hill with his own take on ‘You’ve been framed’ . He’s already had a major hand in the Sam Saunders car wash video (three marigolds and not much else).

However, this time he turned the table on himself with the announcement on twitter late Sunday night, of a fish-slapping contest with Will Grigg.

One on one with Will Grigg and a fish....brave!!

One on one with Will Grigg and a fish….brave!!

Hmm, surely not? But that’s exactly what happened. I have my fingers crossed that the full, unexpurgated version make’s Peter Gilham’s tour diary.
Until then, you can see the video here.

Harlee’s a brave man – there’s no way Will Grigg was going to miss the target from a yard out and sure enough…

Seeing something like this is a great way to start a Monday morning that had already seen me put into an immediate foul mood by Richie Firth on Absolute Radio. Christian O’Connell’s sidekick just had to go and give further mention to Tim Krul and his ‘classless’ performance against Costa Rica on Saturday night.

I had a moan about Krul yesterday and was immediately contacted by Bernard Quackenbush, who noted an obscure Doctor Who reference as the reason for the the Dutch victory. He could be on to something, you know (see below).

Whilst Krul still has me annoyed, Harlee’s taking a fish to the face has helped return things to a better…plaice

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14, amongst other things) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

DW & the power of Krul

Was it the power of Krul?

East coast or East Fife? Striker search continues as Dutch disappoint

6 Jul

There was plenty of football going on yesterday but the only news from a Brentford perspective was the latest Florida tour diary. As ever, you can find this on the club site where, amongst other things, Peter Gilham explains his reference to the ‘1930s weather’ questioned in yesterday’s column. Instead, it was left to Fulham to try and provide the clues…

Given our current (experienced) striker situation, I ended up scouring cyberspace for news of Marcello Trotta where, I am ashamed to say, I ended up on a less than salubrious website. If Mrs. Bruzon checks my ‘search history’ there’s going to be an awful lot of awkward explaining as to why I was looking at: www.fulhamfc.com

However, whilst the Bees were on the East Coast of the USA, our neighbours were in the more modest surroundings of East Fife, who they took on in a preseason friendly. Despite the appearance of my favourite footballer, A.Trialist, along with his brothers, A.Trialist 2 and A Trialist 3, there was no room for Marcello in a team that saw 22 players taste match action (and I accept that to use the word ‘action’ in the same context as a Fulham game is an odd one).

What does this mean? Could he be coming back to Griffin Park for a third, and this time permanent, spell? Does Italy beckon? Is it something as simple as a knock picked up in training that precluded him from taking part?

Without wishing to disturb those of a sensitive disposition (look away, now), as it stands Marcello still remains as a fixture on their published squad list. Although, by the same logic Clayton Donaldson is still a Brentford player, as of Sunday morning. So make of that what you will.

As seen on the FFC website on Sunday morning (edited)

As seen on the FFC website on Sunday morning (edited)

I guess that what this all goes to say, in a long-winded fashion, is that I’d love to see Marcello back. Whether it is simply wishful thinking or has any chance of happening, then who knows? However, these are sentiments I couldn’t possibly have imagined having 12 months ago.

Away from Brentford, there was still the World Cup. Costa Rica were beaten by a Holland team who are fast falling from being the darlings of the tournament (after Robin Van Persie’s stunning goal helped destroy Spain 5-1) to it’s bad boys.

Arjen Robben’s admission of diving against Mexico was bad enough (as was the commentary last night for praising him when he hadn’t taken this option) but the subsequent antics of goalkeeper Tim Krul left a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Well done to Holland in getting through, but it would have been so much nicer if this could have been done with a modicum of sportsmanship rather than Krul ‘squaring up’ to every Costa Rican as they approached the penalty spot.

It was, for once, a terrible example to any young children who might have ben watching. I’ve no problem with doing everything you can in the rules of the game to win a win – indeed, this was what his 119th minute appearance was all about (although I’d suggest more to get the upper hand through this element of surprise than any superior ability).

However, if you can only attain those levels by diving or acting the schoolyard bully, rather than whilst treating your opponents with respect, then that’s when the ‘beautiful game’ becomes very much an ugly scrap.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14, amongst other things) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.