Brentford 3 Stoke 1 . Learnings for both sides
This was not the result most fans of either side predicted. Many Bees fans, maybe half , would have taken a point before the game. The reality was that a resurgent Brentford side played their best football this season and possibly for a few seasons and dominated the game from every angle.
- Stoke expected to get something out of the game . Nathan Jones came with a good track record but expecting anything to change in a few days is dreaming. He had no time to change anything of note other than motivate his players.
- Commenting as a Brentford fan there were several Stoke players who seemingly are not at the standards they used to be. Berahino was an exciting prospect and looked sensational years ago on loan at Brentford. Yesterday he was not part of the game. Shawcross was unlucky with the own goal but looked an aged and slow defender. His time has surely gone. Afobe looked superb yet got little service of note . Hard working and a simply brilliant goal. The defence looked poor, and trust me Bees fans know how to spot a poor defence. Jack Butland was anything other than commanding.
- Brentford made Stoke look average. Their tempo and work rate was the best this season. Mokojoto and Sawyers were simply brilliant. 10/10 performances maintained all 95 minutes. This was a bad day for any club to come to Griffin Park and the performance was echelons higher than the win that got a scrappy 1-0 win over a dismal dispirited Bolton side before Xmas.
- Brentford were set up superbly . The midfield had the engine of a Rolls Royce and not of a lawnmower. None of the dismal midfield displays of negative passing were seen and although not wanting to be critical, the lack of Yennaris, MCLeod and Josh was a positive one
- The debate over Bentley and Daniels was not even addressed as cannot recall a single save Bentley had to make.
- Henrik Dalsgaard had a good game, not a great one, but maybe his confidence is back. The set up of three central defenders , all actually wonderful footballers in their own rights, allowed Henrik to play in the more right midfield area where he does actually play even when a traditional full back
- Thomas Frank and Brian Riemer we’re visible in the technical area, shouting, cajoling but never critical. This is good to see for the fans and maybe the team too.
- Maupay has his usual superb game as did Said Benrahma.
Overall Brentford were brilliant more than Stoke were poor. Brentford need to carry on with this tempo and maybe Stoke need to jettison a few players simply past their prime .
Lastly I loved seeing the great reception Ryan Woods received . Nice Brentford fan behaviour for players we respect . And a privilege to see not only a few minutes of Peter Crouch but also him posing with young fans after the game and again the nice Ealing road reception he got when warming up.
Neither side will go up nor down this season and it will be interesting to see where they finally end up .