Tag Archives: Walking Dead

In defence of the defence. And Dean. A special guest looks at the positives

16 Feb

There’s been nothing on these pages for a few days. When you wake up with a head full of nightmares about Tom Field embroiled in a Twitter spat with Donald Trump regarding Matthew Benham’s question – ‘how do you kill the zombie?’  –  its probably time to step back from the football. Or The Walking Dead. So there was no preamble for the Reading game and no post match analysis of how Brentford had fought back from John Swift’s opener to take the lead before two goals in the final 15 minutes handed our hosts a 3-2 win.

Whether yours truly writes any nonsense, nothing really changes. Arsenal have begun their annual last 16 capitulation in the Champions League (please note: does not contain Champions), Jordan Rhodes wrote a letter to a supporter which is fast going viral and up in Scotland, Aberdeen achieved brackets with a 7(seven) – 0 win over Motherwell. Although given it is a win which takes the second placed team in the Premiership to within a mere 24 points of leaders Celtic, one does have to question the level of competition which allowed them to achieve this magical score.

So I had planned on leaving things for another day. To see if Dean comes out with any pearls of wisdom ahead of our next game, away to Sheffield Wednesday, when Dave Washer (aka beesyellow22 on twitter) got in touch. He has penned his own thoughts about Brentford post Reading and you can find them next up.

Thanks Dave. Much appreciated.

Trying to focus on the positives – Dave Washer

After Tuesday night’s stirring, yet ultimately disappointing, game at Reading, I was all set to write a piece today focusing on the negative. My subject: a Twitter poll I ran a couple of weeks ago, asking how many wins we would need out of the four games just gone (Villa, Brighton, Preston, Reading) for Dean Smith’s position as head coach to remain tenable.

Admittedly, not many people took part in my survey (I only got 16 votes!) but of those that did, 63% said we needed to win two games. Looking back now that the dust has settled, we obviously know now what happened. One win, one draw and two defeats. But it’s the manner of the performances that has convinced me to write a positive, rather than negative, blog.

Anyone who saw the Villa game will know how well we played. From back to front we were superb and played a pretty awful Villa team off the park. In fact, we could easily have had more than three goals.

And talking of three goals, we then move onto Brighton. A tough game against a side who have lost only four times this season, yet a performance that was uplifting and positive in equal measure. Yes, we should have killed it off with the penalty, and yes, we should have clung onto the lead with a minute of added time to go, but Brighton aren’t where they are by accident. So yes, a bitter pill to swallow but still an excellent point against a team that will probably be playing the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City next season.

Preston we can probably gloss over – poor defending, wayward passing and a distinct lack of tackling in midfield making Saturday a day to forget at Deepdale. And then there’s that game at the Madejski. 1-0 down. 2-1 up. 3-2 defeat. Yet 23 shots on target and, on another day, we could have scored six or 7 (seven).

And it’s the Reading game that has given me pause for thought. Okay, so we only won one out of those four matches, which, statistically isn’t great. But very often the final scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story. We should have beaten Brighton and we should have beaten Reading. That we didn’t is down to a combination of naivety, midfield frailty and inexperience. But that we’re all disappointed we didn’t beat two of this season’s best (and most consistent) Championship teams says a lot about the undoubted quality we possess in our squad.

image-1-png

You just knew that if Reading won, he’d have a hand in proceedings

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to join the Dean Smith fan club anytime soon. I still don’t particularly think he’s the right man for the job and I find him about as inspiring as a Russell Slade half-time team talk – but at least since the Chelsea game he has gone all out to actually win the match. Jota. Canos. Josefzoon. Great players with loads of attacking threat. And on another day against Reading we would have surely scored five or six.

The worrying thing is surely our frailty when it comes to keeping clean sheets. Or not conceding four. Or three. Here’s where I find myself asking why Smith can’t see what, apparently, Warburton and Carsley both could: that we need at least one, if not two, ball-winning midfielders protecting our back four. My solution next Tuesday against Wednesday: play McCormack (if fit) and Barbet. Or, if McCormack isn’t fit, stick Clarke at right back and play Barbet and Colin in front of Dean and Egan. Essentially, they are tough tackling, cultured defenders (who both literally speak the same language) – so why couldn’t they do a job that so desperately needs doing – i.e. protecting our porous-like back four?

But we could discuss tactics, formations and personnel until the cows come home. So, back to my earlier point: I want to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Positives like the fact that we had 23 attempts at Reading… we were one minute away from beating Brighton… we should have scored five or six at the Madejski… we have a talented group of young players who maybe need a break and rub of the green… and, after Wednesday (on Tuesday) we have five winnable games at home (Rotherham, Wolves, Bristol City, QPR and Blackburn) and four away from home (Ipswich, Forest, Burton and Cardiff).

It has been a season of consistent inconsistency, and unfortunately we happen to currently be in the middle of yet another slump. But we should have won three out of the last four games, and at least we are now scoring lots of goals (more than Hogan is scoring for Villa, that’s for sure).

So, for now I will hold off on being too negative of Smith or critical of the team. (Although, if we only manage one win from the next four, I might change my mind…)

image-png

Half time at Reading. Things could be worse…

Advertisements

Another answer to Matthew’s zombie question as FA enforce puzzling fine

24 Mar

Coffers running low at FA HQ? Are funds needed for the end of season shindig? How else do you explain their decision to fine Brentford and QPR £10,000 and £7,500 respectively for failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.This, after what was described in a less than extensive report as  “an incident in the 48th minute of their game on 12 March 2016.

If Brentford were going to be fined, it should surely have been for failing to ensure their team had a chance of being competitive after Dean Smith opted for his unusual 4-5-1-0 (I’ll also accept 4-6-0) formation. To have a starting XI bereft of a striker in any game, let alone one of this magnitude, should have been deemed a sanctionable offence. Whilst we’ve done that one to death now, the FA have stirred up all those emotions once more with this puzzling fine and low key statement.

image(5)

Questionable decision making by the FA

I read the story on the official Brentford website first of all and my initial reaction was one of a cover up, so limited was it in detail. But no, we don’t have a streak of paranoia running through the club as a subsequent review of the initial announcement on the FA ’site revealed a similar dearth of information.

Indeed, it was only West London’s Premier Journalist Tom Moore who was able to shed light on the incident. His GWL story  reminding us that the trigger was the ‘mass confrontation… following Karl Henry’s heavy tackle on Ryan Woods’.

Wow. Seriously? I’m all for protecting the referee but was this really worth official sanction and a fine of this nature? It wasn’t even ‘handbags at twenty paces’  compared to some of the ungainly scenes we are witness to week in, week out on the televised games.

If so, then surely the FA coffers would be swollen to bursting if a £17.5k sanction was imposed every time players reacted to a challenge of that severity in this style. Moreso, given the lack of protection previously afforded to the players in this instance by referee Fred Graham. Brentford are hardly a team to trouble the authorities on any form of regular basis and, whilst that shouldn’t make you immune for any punishment genuinely due, the incident certainly seems one to have been treated as somewhat of an over reaction.

I can understand the club doing nothing but sticking to the official line on this one. Like arguing with a traffic warden, any resistance would be futile and likely just lead to further punitive measures or unwanted contact.

Instead, one we’ll have to take on the chin and put behind us.

Zombies. I blame Matthew Benham. But in a good way.  His recent interview with Beesotted included the line, “No matter how many times we tell people that we also scout players traditionally, that we spend a lot of time watching players, it will come back that we just use maths. It’s become like a zombie that we can’t kill. But what can you do, eh?””

It was a question we’d pondered on these pages previously but how about picking a team of them? And please, no smart alecs saying we’d already done that in the Blackburn game.

One of my favourite Twitter sites,@OldschoolPanini, last night shared the work of French artist Schizoïd Brain who has recreated the French World Cup ’86 team in zombie based form. You can find them alongside their Panini equivalents at the ‘Old School’ website but, until then, here’s a brief…taster.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 08.05.16

France ’86. Now in ‘Walking Dead’ form

Finally, many thanks all for the reaction to yesterday’s article on ‘cyber tw@ttery’ and keyboard warriors / bullies (delete as applicable). I wasn’t going to comment further on our unknown assailant whom, for want of anything better to call him, we’ll simply refer to ongoing as Trevor the troll. Purely for alliterative purposes. I’m not going to credit him any further with his own ‘hilarious’ nom de plume although if there are any non-trolling Trevors reading, apologies !.

It was interesting to see the amount of direct contact in response to this, from all manner of unlikely sources amongst our great Brentford family. Likewise, reading the latest column of fellow blogger Greville Waterman last night.

It seems he has also had a few visitors and has reacted in a similar fashion to myself.

I have to agree with his sentiments. It’s a really sad state of affairs that alleged supporters can treat fellow fans like this. Well done Greville for fighting back.

Fingers crossed we can all put this nonsense behind us, draw a line under it and get back to focussing on a third successive season in the Championship.

Nottingham Forest (a) can’t come soon enough.

Nick Bruzon