On a day when 9,400 Brentford fans turned up on a cold evening to watch a game that was live on Sky and with South Western Railways adding to the festivities by striking, with no trains to Brentford, the shame was that the team did not repay the fans. Possibly the best way to get to the game might have been by boat!
Admittedly injuries and suspensions played their role however the manner of the 2-1 defeat was far more disappointing than the perennial failure to beat Middlesbrough. In many ways the worst nightmare came true, the chosen midfield were hopelessly over run and defensive errors again allowed simple goals. So what did go right? Neal Maupay had a superb game, never gave up working and running off the ball, however the midfield of McEachran , Yennaris, McLeod and Canos, frankly offered nothing. Sergio Canos tried hard as always, but looked a little short of some of the quality we know he has. The rest were frankly abysmal. I do not like criticising Brentford players, but sometimes it must be done. McEachran seems to have the occasional good game, and is a good passer of the ball, but he lacks physical ability (important against many Championship teams), and has scored a single goal in his time at Brentford. Yennaris can be good, sometimes, but was anonymous all game. McLeod had the worst game I can recall in a Brentford shirt. It was not that he did things badly, far from it, he did nothing at all. His workmate was exceeded by many fans in the stands. He failed to deliver anything meaningful from midfield, failed to tackle, and in the 20 seconds before he was substituted, was strolling back from an attacking position whilst a Boro forward was rampaging towards our goal. It was like he had given up. As a Brentford fan I totally accept errors and missed goals, but cannot accept a frank lack of effort. So as a group our midfield neither created for the forwards nor gave protection to the defence. The saving grace of the game was the neat goal from Alan Judge and the running and efforts of the substitutes, Marcondes and DaSilva. Both must start tuesday.
Boro were a typical Pulis/Warnock side, a slightly poor type of Cardiff. Players all 6ft and above, pushing, fouling and producing generally unattractive football. At this level this type of play can be successful, although a Brentford side on form would have beaten them yesterday. Their second goal was gifted from defensive error. We have some of the most talented central defenders I have seen at Griffin Park, but as a unit they are the opposite of cohesive. Defensive coaching must be a priority for the rest of the season.
Any other positives from the game? Maybe. Alan Judge scoring was a great moment, lets hope his improvement continues . Marcondes looked sharp and interested. DaSilva looked strong and direct.
Many Bees fans have been rightly positive up until now, but social media suggests that the tide is turning. Thomas Frank needs to improve results urgently before we become embroiled in a relegation battle. We need some battling from the players and that means team selection needs changing. For me Yennaris, McEachran and McLeod have had their chances and it is time for them to move on. Maybe Frank needs to assemble a team of his own choosing? The worrying thing sitting a month away on the horizon is the transfer window. Brentford are not going up this season and we might fear player sales.