Who stood out in Brentford’s loss to Spurs in Gameweek 14 and how does the impact the Top 5 Bees over the season so far? Nick Bruzon tells all…
Below par. Lacklustre. Limp. Moribund (meaning dead, or dying).
An unchanged Brentford side from the one that beat Everton at the weekend slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Spurs on Thursday evening. A first visit to Tottenham’s shiny new stadium being one we won’t want to be repeating in a hurry. At least on pitch. Top marks for the drinks and pies pre kickoff but when the catering is the highlight of a night out at the football, one has to wonder what happened.
It was the first time Brentford have looked outclassed this season. Previous games against ‘big name’ opposition such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have seen us go toe-to-toe – regardless of whether we won, lost or drew.
Even defeats to the likes of Norwich, Leicester City and Brighton saw us vaguely competitive but this time around, Thomas Frank’s side were second best all round. A midfield overly packed with holding midfielders, Ivan Toney isolated out wide and a series of balls played across the face of our own goal that would have been great for the possession and pass completion stats but not much else.
There was none of the bravery and positive football that has typified the Bees’ approach play so far. Tottenham weren’t great but they were committed. They were fast, so fast, and constantly on top of us before we had a chance to play the next ball. To even think about getting out of our own half. Spurs breaking through the middle and down the right with ease when they got hold of the ball. If anything, the approach seemed one of ‘don’t lose heavily’. It was most bizarre.
Coming home, the general consensus seemed to be that we’d absolutely do them in the return. The intimate surroundings of Lionel Road and a capacity crowd likely to be the tipping point. Hey, we might even have look to get into their half next time.
For now, though, we need to put this one to bed. The proverbial bad day at the office. Time to regroup and prepare for Leeds United on Sunday.
Only a fool would think we can win every game whilst one has to doff the hat to Son Heung-Min. My word, he was a class apart and ultimately proved the difference between the two teams. His second half goal coming off the back of an effort now put down as a Canos o.g. That’s going to hurt my Fantasy Football Team.
All of which means we need to try and find our top five players for Brentford. Did anybody stand out? Who put in a shift or made some form of difference? Much as the pickings are slim, we do have five names. If anything, perhaps some solace can be taken in the fact that our top two made their debuts on the chart last week. If nothing else, we can take heart in consistency but with neither Ivan Toney or Christian Norgaard, perhaps controversially, being scored this week there is room for movement on the season long table.
Brentford Player Ratings from Gameweek 14 (vs Tottenham)
1st (Star Player) – Alvaro Fernandez
After a solid game against Everton, he was the difference between a narrow defeat and a thrashing.
With Brentford failing to sparkle up top, he pulled off a number of smart saves to deny our hosts. An early effort at 0-0 gave us hope that it might be our night whilst one with his face had goal written all over it. However, he was in the right place at the right time and it doesn’t matter how you stop them. Had no hope with either goal. Pontus powering it into Ben Davies who guided it straight in via Sergi. Tottenham’s golden Son getting on the end of a move that ripped through the Brentford midfield and defence at a rate of knots for the second.
If Alvaro can focus a bit more on his distribution it would have been even better but, then again, you could say that about the entire team last night
2nd – Charlie Goode
My word. Where has he come from? Well, Northampton Town but all of a sudden the confidence is surging.
He just looks so comfortable on the ball. So calm. If Thomas ever opted for two centre backs rather than our usual three, there would now be genuine competition rather than the shoe in of Ethan and Pontus.
One moment early in saw him mug off not one but Tottenham players as he played it out of his own box. Harry Kane didn’t get a look in all game. Being honest, the long throw thing is getting a bit predictable. The amount of time spent prepping for no real end product is fine but mix it up a bit. Much like a short corner it looks impressive but doesn’t, actually work if you have a defence who are wise to it. Which Tottenham were. Still, that’s not Charlie’s fault and is an aspect to his game that, if we can pull it off and use one of these howitzers to good effect, will be another string to his bow.
3rd – Rico Henry
On an evening where the Brentford ‘heat map’ could have been a red line drawn across the edge of our penalty box, Rico was the one person to try and get forward.
With so many players off their game and nothing coming through the middle, at least he tried to take things to our opponents. Our best hope of providing a spark of creativity and, at the least, typified the bravery that Thomas Frank has been talking about his team needing in recent weeks.
4th – Shandon Baptiste
Didn’t even start this one but provided more drive in his thirty minutes than the rest of the midfield put together. One move linking up with Sergi saw our most creative chance but alas it was not to be.
Gave us hope and how good to have him back in action? Surely he’ll start on Sunday at Leeds. Surely….
5th – Mathias Jensen
Like Shandon, came off the bench and provided an immediate impact. Even coming close with a ball drifting just over the bar on the angle.
He’s not up there as an Ivan / Sergi style fan favourite but his twenty-minute cameo showed the fire we’ve missed for so long this season.
Brentford Player Ratings – Top 5 Players Overall (after Gameweek 14)
All of which takes us to the top of the table. The most noteable change is Rico closing in on Ivan Toney in the battle for the top two.
The middle group is now starting to get congested and anybody who can put a run together over the bust December has a wonderful opportunity to break into that top five. It could even happen against Leeds United. Come back on Monday when we find out.
1st – Ivan Toney
2nd – Rico Henry
3rd – Christian Norgaard
4th – Bryan Mbuemo
T5th – David Raya, Vitaly Janelt, Sergi Canos