When all is said and done the reality is that four games into the season Bees have a single point and are bottom. The litany of excuses ( some reasonable and some not) have been pervading social media this last few hours. The simple reality is that Ipswich did not have to work terribly hard to win this game with the workmanlike Martyn Waghorn and Freddie Sears having an easy day. What were probably defensive errors gave Ipswich a goal in the first half and a second soon after the restart. After that Brentford were frankly anonymous. At the final whistle maybe only Barbet came over to thank the fans and I am not sure what his hands gesture meant. Maybe “its our fault?”.
All this came after a promising start and for the first 20 minutes Brentford were clearly the better side, however their inability to stop conceding goals and not scoring any one of their multiple chances meant that a 2-0 scoreline did not flatter Ipswich. Yet some of Brentford’s football was good, some long passes to the wing were sublime, yet there was no end result. Florian was busy but never seemed like scoring.
Brentford do miss Woods, Canos and Henry for sure, and the underlying uncertainty over Jota, Dean and Woods, with regard to offers from other teams, also cannot be underestimated. But again the reality is that Dean Smith has created his own squad and even without the players mentioned above there should be enough quality to at least get 4-6 points from these opening four games.
I do not have a magic answer but as an n=1 these are my suggestions:
- We need clarity over who the captain and leader in the team. I am not sure who it should be but am positive it should not be Yennaris. They should be a visible leader and should Dean stay with us ( rumours about Leeds are strong) then this becomes a rhetorical question.
- We need a defensive coach to come in and coach what is firstly our first choice centre back combination and secondly our whole defence. This includes the defensive midfielder playing in front of them. We all recall how good Toumani was in that role after he had been specifically coached to play there.
- We need a consistent pair of strikers who will be given 4-5 games. Watkins and Maupay are the clear candidates. Vibe is a good player but out of confidence right now ( and injured ).
- We need to continue blooding young players like Theo Archibald, who really gave the Ipswich defence something to think about in that last 20 minutes.
- We also need some luck. Maybe its true you make your own luck.
- Lastly we need to subtly change our style. Statistics on possession and shots, make interesting reading but do not provide any league points. We need more tough tackling and high-tempo workrate. I think also Brentford fans, though they love good football, also love the type of hard tackling and aggressive football played by players like Alan McCormack and Jonathan Douglas ( seems no one knows what has happened to him)
The fixture list does not look kind to us this next 6 weeks. Games against Wolves, Villa and Sheffield Wednesday are going to be tough to get significant points from. I would right now take three draws and maybe a couple of clean sheets. By definition we are in a relegation battle and need to do just that, battle. It is frankly difficult to see that we will be out of the relegation places until end of September at least.