Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “dean smith”

Wage Bills In Championship


Just seeing these numbers make one realise two things. It’s not all about money. Some teams with big budgets do badly and little old tinpot Brentford do rather well. One example might be Norwich with a wage bill triple that of Brentford or Middlesbrough which approaches five times that of Brentford

Brentford 2 Bolton Wanderers 0. A Comfortable Victory Against A Poor Bolton Side.


The reality was that Brentford were clearly the vastly superior side in skill, technique and work rate and thoroughly deserved the victory which could have been more comprehensive. 00001530

Without doubt to give perspective Bolton were the second worst side to visit Griffin Park this season with Burton being the worst. Both sides also make me wonder why does anyone pay to watch their brand of prehistoric football?  Bolton lacked any skill or style, and their version of football consisted of not having any player under 6ft and many over that, and just kicking the ball in the general direction of the sky. Curiously about their only player who was not gigantic was a full back called Little. Not everyone on social media would however agree with my sentiments. But frankly the few chances that came their way derived from long throw ins or errors in gifting the ball to Bolton in dangerous situations.

There was also cabaret to be had with the antics of Phil Parkinson in his touchline boudoir seemingly disagreeing with each and every decision made by the referee, to the extent of clear fouls ( shirts being pulled, players being pulled down) seemingly being within the spectrum of normal play in his not so humble opinion.

Neal Maupay

Brentford were not at their best today but that did not matter. The impressive Florian Josefzoon caused problems all afternoon and although Vibe did not have his best game, he caused enough mischief to have had a reasonable game.

There were some real positives though today. The distribution of Dan Bentley was superb. His throwing the ball out makes a real difference. Chris Mepham again had a great game and John Egan is not going to get back into the side easily, if at all. Nico Yennaris had a decent game too and right back may be his best position, however he gave the ball away far too many times and often in dangerous positions. It was also good to see Neal Maupay score a back heel goal in the final minutes. Although this may have looked easy, he actually finished it very well and hopefully his confidence will return.

To return to Bolton, my prediction is relegation. They will fail to trouble sides who play football although undoubtedly will get a few points against the Burton and Sheff Wednesday style sides that rely on kick and run ( both the ball and the player) and sit perilously near the relegation zone. Bolton and Burton will go down, and the third place is open for auditions from Sunderland, Birmingham and Hull.

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If John Stead Had Been Playing For Brentford Would The Score Have Been different? Thoughts After A Dismal Day


Although no-one likes losing a game, frankly this was a game that Dean Smith clearly thought little of. Despite his post-match protestations, this was a  truly abysmal ineffective Brentford performance. Few would disagree with that and most might go further and ask why this might have happened. 00001572 copy

A very different Brentford team with 8 changes found it hard to get going and a half time score of 0-0 was about right against a physical Notts County.  The difference between the sides was a well taken goal from John Stead who is having a superb second half of his career at Notts County. 00001545 copy

With so many new faces it was maybe harsh to expect the kind of football and passing we are used to simply because the players have not played before together.  Individually a couple of the players had nightmare games for different reasons. Josh McCeachran was not only ineffective but gave the ball away numerous times and had his weakest game in a Brentford shirt. For all his skill, it is difficult to see what he gives to the team and his absence of physicality makes things even harder. Neal Maupay worked 100% but it seems does not have either the talent to succeed or the confidence, either way he again did not score and in the second half with multiple balls coming from the right from Florian Josefzoon one might have expected a goal or two. It is difficult to see how he can turn this around frankly. Alan Judge came on and had a decent 20 minutes and Marcondes also seemed a little unsure of his positioning but did show some promise. 0000152100001571

The reality of the game was that it should have been 0-0. Notts County worked hard but did not inspire, and although they will undoubtedly gain promotion, my guess is they will have a short stay in League 1 unless they sign a few more creative souls. I was not pleased to see their brand of physicality  ( which translates to fouls).

If Dean Smith wanted to win this game then he could and should have made perhaps only 4 changes. What he probably learnt was that his ” reserve” players are not perhaps quite up to Championship standard currently.

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The body language at the end showed it all, disappointment  , but simply the side was not good enough to score against a team two divisions below.  John Stead looked a decent player and with the number of balls that got into the box in the game, my suspicion is that if he were the Brentford forward, he might have had a hat-trick.

JM00001542000015271K4A7847000015230000151500001538Alan Judge will most likely be eased back over the next few months and realistically will look to be 100% by the start of next season. On positive notes yet again Chris Mepham played well and Florian worked hard but his final balls could be better. As we enter the transfer window yet again we are all thinking we need to sign 1-2 strikers. The argument that we already score lots of goals is not a good one, as with a pair of different styled strikers we might score a lot more. Some unanswered questions might be:

  1. Why has Justin Shaibu not featured more this season?
  2. What is the plan with Theo Archibald? Has his off-field antics caused behind the scenes problems?
  3. What to do with Neal Maupay?
  4. How could Brentford possibly consider selling Lasse Vibe?
  5. With our midfield and defensive players often getting balls into the box, is there not a solid argument for having a large centre-forward as either Plan B option or as yesterday, Plan A?

Brentford 1 Millwall 0. A home win before halloween . A strange game but huge relief.


Seems a long time since Brentford have been in a relegation battle and have had to wait almost until the end of October before claiming a first home win. At the end of the game there was relief all around, players,staff and fans. 00000218

So what was different and why did we win? Probably the answer is Daniel Bentley who is rapidly looking premiership material. Two world class saves and then in the 81st minute a superb penalty save gave Bees the points. Brentford if the truth is told did not play to anything like the heights of previous games and the game was the scrappiest seen this season. The team however battled all game and work rate could not be faulted.

Millwall were the poorest footballing team Brentford have played this year, with their main tactics seemingly to kick the ball as high and long as possible, and pushing their opponents endlessly, with the referee ( worst this season) allowing so much pushing and shoving to go unpunished it became unbelievable at times. Certainly Millwall are not a team I would pay willingly to watch. vibe

When rating the Brentford players the only ones who maybe had quiet or not their best games were Dalsgaard and Yennaris. Dalsgaard in the first half gave the ball away upfield a number of times and hardly rushed back to correct matters. He needs to remember his position is right back and thats his priority. Bjelland for me does not have the overall ability of Barbet and that could be a straight swop. Yennaris had a quiet game, and although he has had some good games, his overall contribution is not a fraction of players like Woods and Watkins.

Having said all that, Bees won the game and have the three points that overall they deserved ( as in many games this season). But, we are not out of the wood yet. A few more wins are needed in the next six weeks . 00000169

A few questions for Dean Smith include what would be against starting Lasse Vibe in place of Maupay ( who missed an excellent chance in the first half). The defence again needs some attention. Bees got away with it today thanks to Dan Bentley , but it needs to be tighter and at times more physical.

Time tonight to celebrate and hope that now the team can relax and move forwards over the next few weeks. The rest of the season? There are some worse teams than Brentford, including Millwall and Reading, but will we get above the mid-table milieu? I don’t think so. Success with this group of players would be 12th place.

Lastly Romaine Sawyers was superb. His goal was well taken and he almost added a carbon copy minutes later, but his overall work rate must have doubled since last season and his place on the team sheet should be an easy decision. He looks and is playing with a confidence, and I suspect we have not yet seen the best of him.

My beer will taste good tonight.

A Week At Brentford. Whats next? Will there be changes soon? Bolton V Brentford predictions.


After the disappointing 1-1 result against an average Reading side, that frankly at the end could have been a defeat, there have been the usual comments this week with little substantial of note.  The result was a fair one frankly. Brentford won the first half and Reading the second. The obligatory defensive error was even more ludicrous than normal, and why Rico Henry felt the need to commit any foul in the area is beyond me. 1K4A4967x

During the game Dean Smith had plenty of opportunities to change things, however he chose not to other than some ineffective substitutions. Bringing on relatively lightweight midfield players was probably not what was needed. The strikers got average service but missed chances again. So we arrive 22nd September with a very real chance that we will be winless entering October, possibly bottom and certainly getting further away from safety with each game. Although Bees fans support their team well and do not consider that we are the second worst team, the reality is that we are. Brentford play good though currently ineffective football and have been beaten by some very mediocre teams. We are not scoring and seem unable to contemplate a Plan B.00000262

Despite these assertions the team have had a high work rate and probably do deserve a few more points. What is for certain is that our aim this season now must be to avoid relegation. Sounds harsh but I believe it to be true. Are there three worse teams than us? Maybe. On paper Bolton , Barnsley and Burton look relegation candidates. I cannot conceive that Sunderland nor Birmingham will get relegated. 00000180

So what is to be done? The Bolton game is a must win game. A draw is simply not good enough as it is difficult to see anything other than a point at best versus a good Derby side on tuesday . Brentford need to be physical and positive, and for once avoid needless errors. I would have no issues with the same starting 11 as last week. I don’t think Yennaris nor McCeachran are the players to do this. Should we lose the knives will be out for Dean Smith, and in my view he should be doing better with the players he has, they should be gelling more and scoring more goals. He should be looking for positive early substitutions if needed or none if not. Players like Shaibu and Archibald should be given 45 minutes to play. Often the fans can determine after 15 minutes how good or bad the system is and they can also guarantee that it will be the 60th minute before changes. The captain also needs to captain and be visible and vocal. The fans need (as they will) to stay behind the team. 00000224

Let us hope that we get three points tomorrow against a team bottom and out of form. An early goal might be what we need and preferably 4-5 so we can relax. I have a feeling we might indeed win tomorrow however that by itself will not magically solve all our problems.

Brentford go Bottom Of Championship after Lame 2-0 defeat at Ipswich


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?”. 1K4A4435

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. 1K4A4405

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.

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I do not have a magic answer but as an n=1 these are my suggestions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 ).
  4. 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.
  5. We also need some luck. Maybe its true you make your own luck.
  6. 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.

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Brentford 2 Bristol City 2. Learnings and Thoughts


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.

Brentford are Consistent. Consistently inconsistent. What will happen at Burton? 


Too many times this season Bees have been lauded as one of the best teams other sides have played. A great performance is then followed by incredibly dire ones. How many times have we had this during the season? Games lost against Wolves, Fulham, Wigan, Blackburn amongst others. Why does this happen? Why does Dan Bentley openly admit that ‘ wolves wanted it more’? Why should Bees not be as motivated ? Is this down to the players or the manager? 


Most fans have their views but will all agree on a few things. We need more physical midfielders. We need a Plan B. We need more strikers. But the fans are not all convinced that the players are to blame for these disparate resukts. Some feel the manager is at fault. It is his job to motivate the players and select a team that is ‘up for it’. 


It might be even more complex. Certainly no managers are faultless and all players can have an off day. But my view is that Dean Smith is not good at selecting the right team for the right game. There are some games where one knows physicality wil be important . The dire 0-0 home draw with Wigan is one example. He needs to have and to select more physical players. The only exception to this is Jota who must start every game. He also needs to make changes to a system earlier in a game.  Changes could and should have been made early against Wolves. 

So what’s the prediction versus Burton? I suspect a tough game and maybe a draw would be a decent result. Bees are a mid table side and it would be good to now push on to a good run of form building for next season. 

Ipswich 1 Brentford 1. A good point for Bees but should have been three . Some good signs for next season


Being fortunate enough to photograph the game one gets fairly close to the action and able to see some of the little things that might get missed. Let me start with the highly supportive nature of Dean Smith to all his players after the game, and also the embrace between Toumani and himself.

A fairly wet night and a fairly boggy pitch certainly not of the Griffin Park standard. Ipswich is a very friendly club and when arriving to collect press pass one is greeted by a serious of smiling and mischievous souls in the ticket office, all wearing smart clean blazers and ties. In fact I cannot fault the Ipswich club at all. Nice people, who deserve a good and decent football team. Whether they deserve mick McCarthy as a manger is a separate question. The fans I spoke to were mixed in their views.  Inconsistency of the team was a common theme. As a negative though the entrance price of 35£ for adults is excessive, 25.50£ for concessions, and 24.50£ for under 20. There is no need to charge these prices.

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There are plenty of good match reports online so no need for me to repeat much. This game was not a classic but was fully competitive until the last kick of the game. Although both sides are truly mid-table and arguably satisfied with a point, even in the 4 added minutes both pressed for a winner.

The goal was a nice pass from Romain Sawyers and a neat finish from Yennaris.

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Nico Yennaris scores

Brentford played the better football. Ipswich did a lot of shirt pulling and pushing and a few dubious tackles and manoeuvres . Maybe someone in the FA or the Referees select committee can explain to me how this “rugby league” tackle ( illegal even there and seriously punishable in the NFL in USA) was not given as a foul. The role of assistants talking to the referees arises weekly. How this was not given as a foul against Vibe I am unsure.

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An interesting style of tackling from Ipswich 

Brentford looked well set up with Woods looking more solid and winning more than his share of the 50-50 balls. The full backs looking better with every game. Maxime Colin has improved enormously this season.

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Maxime Colin demonstrating an interesting style of tackling

00007689 Bjelland went off injured, without having an inspiring game, and Barbet came on, who still looks suspect to me. 0000767300007763

Justin Shaibu had 20 minutes and as against Rotherham caused all manner of problems to the Ipswich defence and was unlucky not to score. The days of Hoffmann are truly over and he needs to move on. 000077610000774400007746

So I take away a lot of positivity in this team and performance. The sort of game a while agao that Brentford would not have drawn. The worry remains over the number of goals conceded. This will improve.

Sergi Canos is such an exciting talent and could be a truly great player.

0000770200007703Rico Henry looks a class player and fast coming forward.

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Rico Henry

Wrongly placed adverts that make you laugh. Sheffield Wednesday 1 Brentford 2 . Did the referee cause incontinence? 


Carlos Carvalhal had some interesting thoughts as the Sheffield Wednesday manager after their side were beaten 2-1 at home by Brentford. The referee was making according to him everyone nervous. But are his concerns really enough to warrant a large advert for a male incontinence product? 

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