For a neutral this was an exciting game that was never sorted until literally the last kick of the game. Brentford fans will point to the statistics that show on paper their marked superiority and Bristol fans will simply point to the score, and suggest that they might actually have won the game in the eight minutes of added time. Indeed bar an incredible clearance from Barbet that may have happened. Nevertheless Brentford have points tally of one point from three games, and with an away fixture at Ipswich ( who have 9 points), this may soon become one point from four games.
Social media gives a wide spread of opinions why Brentford did not win last night, focusing mostly on awful defending (again) through to the referee. Lets try and take a closer look. For me these were the key learnings and thoughts from last night:
- Brentford have uncovered the next premier league star in Ollie Watkins. He works hard and has great pace, can shoot and as he did last night score with headers too. He will now be the first name on the team sheet. Romaine Sawyers was also impressive, not only with his midfield play but also his ability to track back and defend. His partnership with Watkins was excellent and this can only improve.
- Yennaris had an unmemorable game both as captain and midfield player. He did so little and we have far better options on the bench and also in the B team. The sad news about Ryan Woods family also gives real perspective to all this.
- During pre-season one imagines that the manager would try out various defensive combinations and formations and decide upon a first choice. That seems far from the truth as the central defenders last night were the two whom were on the bench for the Forest debacle. Dean did give leadership and is our best central defender. Barbet however is not. He is prone to errors and made a critical one early on when the Bees confidence was high, and arguably derailed the Brentford side for the first half. There is no doubt he is a skilful player and he does the long pass better than anyone in the squad, there is much to build on, but as a central defender he would need to reduce massively the number of errors. For me the partnership of Egan ( who also has not impressed this season) and Dean is the one to use moving forward. Bjelland was shall we say not missed.
- Maxime Colin had a very decent game at the unfamiliar left back position but a fit Rico Henry will be a bonus when he returns. Henrik Dalsgaard also had a decent game but does need to be aware that he is a right back not right sided midfield player. Am I the only one who worries that his throw ins are illegal?
- Jota had a better game, not his best game, but the signs were there of improvement. His lack of form and unpredictability this season is a two-edged sword. Will it discourage suitors from making an offer? Will he regain his form of old if he stays at Brentford and signs a new deal?
On balance this was an encouraging game, but Dean Smith will be well aware that this is little margin between the best and worst teams in the division. If Bees continue to ship goals like this then make no mistake we will be in a relegation battle. This is a team in development but to allow the development defence must be solid.