Tag Archives: zombie

KK bids farewell (for now). But is it the right decision?

29 Jun

This is the moment for the Austrian. And what a moment it is.” Not my words but those enthused by Beesplayer commentator par excellence Mark Burridge to describe the goal scored by Konstantin Kerschbaumer as Brentford retook the lead deep into injury time against Brighton back in February. It was a strike worthy of the shortlist for goal of the season yet it was announced yesterday that the Austrian is off on loan to Germany where he will spend 2017/18 with DSC Arminia Bielefeld.

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KK is in there, somewhere, celebrating a ‘winner ‘ against Brighton

The immediate question is why? Specifically, why has this happened and why wasn’t he ever given a decent run in the side? That Brighton goal was the obvious cherry on the cake of two years at Griffin Park and it’s been no secret on these pages that he’s been a player yours truly would have given much more game time. The interplay between himself and Scott Hogan at the end of Dean Smith’s first season suggested such huge potential yet despite plenty of patchy performances from his team mates, he’s never been given a proper crack of the whip.

Then again, Dean Smith is head coach for a reason and I’m just the numpty on the terrace. He was quoted on ‘official’ yesterday as saying, “With the quality we have in the squad, we cannot guarantee game time for anyone”. Presumably, unless your name is Nico? Or Ryan? Or Romaine? Or Josh (subject to injury)? That’s meant as no disrespect to any of these players but more to make the point that a settled and pretty much guaranteed midfield is something Dean has set out to build. As such, it seemed a somewhat contradictory statement.

KK rightly deserving of a place in this pantheon of net busting brilliance

 

Stats. Is there a scarier, more mis-construed word in the Griffin Park vocabulary? The journalistic zombie that Matthew Benham just can’t kill? Well, I’m going to play the stats game here with a few.

First up – this from our own Luis Melville back in April. If anybody can nail a killer stat it’s Luis. This one is very simple but very to the point.

It’s interesting to see Luis responding to Ted Knutson (who was of course hugely involved in Player Analytics at Smartodds). For our second piece of statistical reference, a piece written by Ted in May 2017 says more about the player then these pages could ever hope to do. For me, his key statistical point being:

2320 minutes, 1 goal, 12 assists.

That’s an assist rate of about .47 per 90, which is in the top 3% of footballers. Kersch also doesn’t take set pieces, meaning nearly all of his assists come from open play. To give you an idea of how unusual this is, in the last four seasons in the Championship nine players have posted 12 assists or more, all with more minutes and nearly all of them taking set pieces.”

There’s so much more to Ted’s column than just that stat. For those doubting what Konstantin added, please do have a read. If nothing else, it gives a fascinating insight into the Brentford recruitment process. At the same time, take a positive from the fact that, officially, the player is going out to Germany to get game time under his belt. With a Jota style additional year added to his contract (see also: Jack Bonham and Carlisle), could he return even bigger and better than ever before? Here’s hoping.

Whether you would pick KK or not (and one thing I’d agree with Dean on is that the squad has midfield quality) the simple fact is that the head coach has never seen fit to give a player he inherited an extended run. Personally, I disagree but that’s football. Dean and his team must have known the statistical evidence so perhaps there is something more to it than that.

Who knows why and who knows where we’ll all be in 12 months time? I, for one, could quite honestly never ever see Jota coming back after heading out to Eibar on loan. Nobody needs any reminder of just how wonderfully that played out.

Could the same thing happen again? Just imagine….

And if you’d like to read more about KK, that goal and last season then please don’t forget (how could you?) that the regular season review e-book is now available for download. This one is titled ‘Welcome home, King Jota’  and this time around it is for a great cause. All funds raised are being given to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Likewise, any subsequent sales from the previous versions.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 and a bit of new material too, you can pick it up, here. It’s just £1.99.

So why not do something great to help our club. What else will £1.99 get you? What better way to spend some time on the commute to work, the beach, by the pool or even hiding out in the toilet at work? You might even enjoy it !

For less than the cost of half a pint on match day, it’s the season review that has been designed to fit in your pocket (if you are using an i-phone).

Nick Bruzon

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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.

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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…)

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Half time at Reading. Things could be worse…

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.

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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.

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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  

Jane Eyre or 3D Zombie warfare?

30 Dec

Those were the two choices presented by Mrs. Bruzon for our TV viewing the night before Brentford took on MK Dons and, of course, the (then) table topping six-pointer between Wolves and Leyton Orient.

The Brentford game was just too big. A chance to take first place should the Molineux game end in a draw (which, of course, it duly did – thanks Orient and Wolves. Nice one).  And so, in order to be at Griffin Park with no bad blood I fell on my sword, gritted my teeth for two hours of Brontë inspired tedium – school governess and brooding estate owner coyishly tiptoe around each other for 120 minutes before finally kissing – and took that hit for the team.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.