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 “harlee dean”

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 2 Southampton 2. A competitive entertaining pre-season game. What did we learn?


A decent crowd turned up to watch a surprisingly competitive pre-season game that saw Bees use their new signings. A draw was a fair result with each side donating a goal. Brentford looked the sharper side early on and scored with a nicely worked goal from Vibe.  Two Charlie Austin goals put the visitors in front before a howler from the fierce looking Fraser Forster gifted Brentford a late but deserved equaliser. goal

So what were the main learnings? Here are my thoughts:

  1. Fans will turn up in decent numbers for a pre-season game especially if the new players are on show
  2. Despite all the rumours Jota looked fit, interested and made a few Southampton defenders look quite silly at times, being allowed to run around them and then across the penalty area. 1K4A2935
  3. I am no expert in physical fitness but for me these players looked far fitter than in previous seasons. The game was played by both teams sensibly, with a few good challenges but nothing rash nor dangerous.
  4. Daniel Bentley looked a class goalkeeper making a couple of excellent saves, whereas Forster looked distinctly rusty.1K4A2921
  5. The Brentford style this year will be an attacking style using the wing and the concern will be not whether we score goals, which we will, but how to concede less. It is complex to read anything into a single game but to me the body language of Harlee Dean was not positive. Is he on his way out? Will it be Barbet and Egan in central defence? Dalsgaard looked solid at full back and Colin had his usual good game. Difficult to predict the right back starter. Good to see Mokotjo defending also as last line of defence. 1K4A2986
  6. Kamo Mokotjo looked good, scary and solid. He reminded me of  Toumani speeded up. He did make a few mistakes but rapidly corrected them. It is hard to see Yennaris getting many games. 1K4A2979
  7. Lasse Vibe is a class player. His hairstyle this year will be curious. Probably still our first choice striker. Neal Maupay and  Ollie Watkins both looked good and created mischief in the Southampton defence. vibe1K4A29331K4A3036watkinsshot2
  8. Florian J looked good too, maybe fitter, quicker and more stylish than last year. florun

 

Brentford fans will be looking forward to the season knowing that the size and strength of the squad means there will be healthy competition for places, and allows for injuries and suspensions. Why will we not be a top 6 side?

A full set of photos can be found on chrisbushephotography.com

 

 

 

 

Brentford 5 Preston 0 . How far can this side go? Even the stewards are relaxed 


As games go this was not a 5-0’drubbing. The first half was fairly low tempo and fairly even. Preston managed to miss the chances they had whilst Hogan scored his chance clinically . 

The second half was a different affair and Preston were well on top and creating chances for the first 15 minutes. When Harlee Dean scored our second Preston capitulated and 5-0 fairly reflected the last 25 minutes play.  Even the stewards took things easy . 


Hogan scored a decent hat trick with clinical finishing. The defence was solid. Colin played maybe his best game for Bees. Any concerns? None at all other than Bjelland hobbling off 10 minutes after a heavy challenge though Barbet slotted into left back perfectly. 

All the substitutions today played a part in the game and the signs were also encouraging from Kalkai. 


The main positive though has to be the team performance. Dean Smith has a settled side and it shows. Everyone knows their roles. 

Bees fans will be happy with this win and the quality of the football just keeps getting better. 

It is going to be an interesting year in the division. Newcastle managed to contrive a 2-0 home defeat against Wolves whilst Barnsley went down at home 1-2 versus Resding. This is a wide open league this season. How far can Bees go? 

My only concern today is the awful gridlock traffic around Kew Bridge. That does need to improve.  Lastly what a poor referee Keith Stroud is. I say this annually  but today he looked like he had shrunk in the wash and resembled a small hobbit. Does he have the most irritating smile in the world? Probably …. 

Darkness Descends Over Bolton


No Bees fan will object to 6 points in a week even though the opposition was truthfully dire. For the first time in many weeks or even months, Bees fans came to the game with an expectation of winning. A healthy 3-0 victory a few days previously at Nottingham Forest provided the belief that winning against the bottom side in the Championship would be a likely outcome.

FullSizeRender-2

Griffin Park looking good under floodlights

FullSizeRender-3

Brentford seem to be praying for victory

The evening was perfect for football and even the River Thames at Brentford looked pleasant enough doused in muddy water. A few strange items, like an old toilet residing beside the water filled with what I hope was old leaves.

IMG_2759

River Thames at Brentford

IMG_2762

Outdoor toilets

FullSizeRender-1

New Road

The game was far from a classic but as much as Brentford ever do, they won this game easily at a canter. The Bolton defending was dreadful and frankly a decent Ryman South team might also have beaten them last night. The evening was perfect for football and the result turned out also to be perfect, a 3-1 victory, marred ever so slightly by Alan McCormack giving away a penalty. Brentford played decently enough and a few sparks of what we saw earlier in the season began to emerge. Oddly Nico Yennaris was the man of the match, although Lasse Vibe took the plaudits for his two goals, but Yennaris in central midfield looked comfortable and is learning how to tackle, though was outmuscled a few times . This was an encouraging performance that meant the game was over before half time with Brentford leading 3-0.  It was surprising that as many as 350 Bolton fans made the trip on a tuesday evening to watch their appalling side.

IMG_2765IMG_2773

Lets focus on Bolton. They were without doubt the worst side to visit Griffin Park this season and were as awful as Blackpool last season. Their likely trajectory will be similar too as this team looks poor even by League 1 standards, and I could back Colchester bottom in league 1 to beat this current Bolton team. They seemed generally poor footballers, but also dispirited and at times totally disinterested. There were no redeeming features. The defending was non league. Emile Heskey was an unused substitute but his body shape looked more likely to succeed in WWF than in professional football. Time to call it a day. Even he when warming up in front of the cheerful New Road crowd failed to acknowledge the generous applause he got. Darren Pratley committed enough fouls to have got a lifetime ban and seemed slow in pace and thought. A shadow of the former footballer he was.

So two wins in a few days essentially means that we will not get relegated and talk is of aiming for a top ten finish. But we should not get too carried away. Some of our defending was again dire last night. David Button almost gave a goal away by giving the ball away a few yards from goal and Harley Dean made numerous errors that somehow went unpunished. This was however an improved performance with the team looking more balanced than for a long while. Saunders and Woods out wide and Yennaris and McCormack more centrally gave the midfield a formation that seemed to work. Vibe scored two goals and the second one a very neat header. So we are in a lower mid-table position and thats probably right, maybe even slightly flattering. But it is a building block and we are staying up and Brentford fans will have woken up happy this morning.

IMG_2761

River Thames at Brentford

Dear James Tarkowski. An open letter.


Sadly last night you were not “dear” to the 10,000 fans who having worked to earn the money to watch a football game that you were supposed to be playing in. You clearly felt it right to “go on strike” or refuse to play in the game. Why would that be? It seems that you are not brave nor maybe stupid enough to reply on twitter to the stream of invective and vitriol that I have been reading all evening from Brentford fans. So I have to surmise what the issue might be.

IMG_1245

No Camera even this large would have found James Tarkowski at Brentford.

Brentford played Burnley and we assume you and your agent have had contact with Burnley who have made an inadequate offer for you. Brentford who have trained you and improved you over the last two years quite reasonably need payback for that. After all who else will pay the coaching and fitness staff whose services you have used freely to improve.  And while on the topic of pay, maybe I should remind you of the games you have missed through red cards and suspensions, and of course those when you were injured. The club supported you through all this. You indeed have been a good player. Not a world beater. You will never for example be an international player like some of your team colleagues. I assume also that you have an issue with Brentford rejecting the bid as it would lead no doubt to higher wages. Brentford have stated, or the media has at least, that a bid of 4-5 million £ would buy your services. Presumably Burnley will pay that if they agree with the valuation. So, back to the game tonight versus Burnley. Why would you say you were not wanting to play? I can again only guess that you did not feel comfortable opposing the team you hope or imagine or know will sign you. Or worse, did not want to be part of a team that would beat Burnley? This is not how football or life works. You are under contract, legally to Brentford and presumably have been paid in accord with that contract? So you might not want to play, but in short you have to. You owed that to the fans and the club. But you declined this kind offer of team selection. So in short your loyalty is with the potential new club Burnley, who may not be blameless in all this by unsettling you and offering ridiculous low transfer bids, but your real loyalty is to yourself and your selfish desire to secure more money, without a thought for the fans, coaches and others who got you as far as this. In short you have let down everyone who has helped and supported you in your career. IMG_1246

A quick look at twitter reveals extensive vitriol towards you not only from fans but from those who know football from your side, players like Marcus Gayle, and journalists. You really have chosen to upset a lot of people. Football supporters who even have no connections with Brentford.

IMG_1248 So if You were watching the game on TV tonight you would have seen a Brentford team clearly unsettled by your selfish, arrogant and stupid behaviour lose an important game. You would also have heard 10,000 Bees fans chanting and singing your name, followed by expletives. You will go down in football history as one of the bad guys, who decided that they were more important than the game, the fans, the clubs and the very fabric of football. You will certainly be remembered in years to come but not for your football prowess. Any club who signs you in years to come will take all this into account as will your fellow footballers. How do you feel about letting down not only the club and fans, but also your fellow professionals. I think it is fair to say you have shown all of them a total lack of respect. I do look forward to hearing your side of the story.

 

A Very Wet Brentford Performance.Brentford 0 Walsall 1


As Brentford fans some weeks are best forgotten and it is better to remove those bees coloured spectacles and see the game for what it was. Brentford were comprehensively beaten by a hard working and decent Walsall side.

An excellent turn out from Walsall that filled the away end.

Fans arrived mostly by car but the potential was there to arrive by boat if they wished, and with such a wet game that might have been a good option. IMG_1179IMG_1178

The first half ended 1-0 to Walsall which is how the game ended but it was totally one-sided. The second half was better for Bees once Alan Judge came on, but frankly they never really seemed likely to score with the exception of one excellent save from the walsall keeper.

FullSizeRender-1

Why were Brentford so bad? Conspiracy theorists will no doubt argue that the cup is not important or maybe that transfer speculation had upset the side. I don’t know, maybe both are true. But the reality was that Walsall were the better side, their work rate was higher , their players seemed technically better. The five players brought in from last week did nothing to suggest they should be chosen next week. The swirling rain made watching even from Row G a rather wet experience. The plus point was the introduction of Marco Djuricin half way through the second half.

FullSizeRenderIMG_1193

Hands on head time maybe?

IMG_1185

The Bees fans on Twitter formed their views of this game which align with mine above. What we learned for sure was that Bees have no strikers. Midfield needs strengthening . But above all the worry that it was not the result but the performance that is most of concern. Players like McCormack did not perform. Swift looked undone by the physical attention of the Walsall players. Hoffman just looked poor really, not a championship player.

Reflections on Birmingham 2 V Brentford 1 Away Day. Jan 2nd 2016


Trips to Birmingham have never been without incident and this one is no exception. The nonsense of buying tickets began on tuesday night with the announcement that sales of tickets from Brentford, having reasonably been on sale for four weeks, would cease lunchtime wednesday, but Birmingham in their wisdom decreed no match day sales. Can anyone explain to me why? Why do clubs not want bigger crowds, especially in the holiday season when often plans are not cemented till the last minute. This ridiculous decision was then reversed maybe 48 hours later. Thankfully Twitter and Mark Devlin kept us updated. A number of tickets were sold at the last minute and these needed collection at the ground.

The nonsense continued on match day with no-one in the Birmingham ticket office seemingly aware that these tickets were somehow being escorted to the ground. A random vision of the sign ” Collections” on a gate at the away end gave at last a clue where tickets might be collected. Two unhappy looking souls distributed tickets after checking for names on an envelope. And giving the impression they were auditioning for a role in a prison behind bars.

IMG_1087IMG_1088

A number of positives need to be stated. Firstly all the staff at the ground, the stewards and in fact the fans are super friendly, and it was a pleasure to listen in to a conversation on how awful a referee Keith Stroud is. Parking is also easy. Travelling through the suburbs of Birmingham is frankly non unlike the opening of a horror movie. But ground parking is easy and anyone prepared to walk 10-15 minutes can find free easy street parking. Lower Dartmouth street is my recommendation.

And there are a few sights in Birmingham, somewhat unexpected within yards of the ground. And a good few sights totally expected. The ground is in a sort of area that is an admixture of urban housing and small industrial estates. With a few curious bars and shops thrown in for good measure.

IMG_1077IMG_1082

IMG_1080

On the way to the ground one walks past canals that look pleasant although here there seemed either a small gravestone or a miniature ” angel of the north”. Street cleaning also seems an optional extra, though maybe a little cruel to say that on Jan 2nd.

IMG_1079The ground itself is a great ground now. Three sides have been re-built and this is one of the better Championship grounds. The whole area smells  that gorgeous football smell of onions and cooking burgers.

IMG_1084Views are excellent all around the ground and access is quite uncomplicated. With one notable exception, the tannoy system is so quiet that I did not realise there was one. The game however was dire and will be covered in a different blog. Overall this was a good match day experience. And lastly I should mention that £20 for a ticket is really a very reasonable  price in 2016.

IMG_1089IMG_1091IMG_1092IMG_1093IMG_1096FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRenderIMG_1103IMG_1099IMG_1097-1

What have Weekend Offenders and Foot Long Hot Dogs got to do with Birmingham 2 Brentford 1 . Jan 2nd 2016


Sadly an awful football game. The first half was maybe the worst football, if one can describe it as that, all season. Neither team able to pass to another player and nothing to note other than an awful looking tackle in the 45th minute by ex-bee John Toral on Jake Bidwell. Half time arrived with the Brentford crowd baying for a red card and possible execution.

The second half was better though not by much. Brentford leaked their usual two goals with the second resulting from another error from Harlee Dean. Brentford in between scored a goal, a tap in after a goalkeeping error. Frankly this was the sort of game that neither side deserved any points. The referee was also abysmal, Graham Scott. He was finicky to the extreme. Booking an excessive number of players and stoping the game on any any pretext at any time. He ran Keith Stroud a close second in the worst referee of the week awards.

A strange Brentford team performance after recent very strong ones. Raised questions about possible tiredness? Issues behind the scenes relating to transfers?

The team was also a little unusual in that Jota was neither in the side nor on the bench, for which there may be multiple reasons but is he being transferred was the one being discussed? Alan Judge had his quietest game for months. Maybe tired, maybe took a few heavy tackles , maybe again is a transfer allegedly to Middlesbrough for 12 million on his mind? James Tarkowski had his worst game I have seen him have, but still looked good! Again, transfer issues? Tiredness? Who knows.

On the positive side Gogia looked interested when he came on with 20 minutes to go. Neither Hoffmann nor Vibe are strikers we want playing upfront alone.

So, a strange game. St Andrews is a decent ground but we always seem to lose there every time i go……so maybe all my fault.

Weekend offenders was a great piece of graffiti on a wall and foot long hot dogs smelled great. They were maybe the highlights today.

IMG_1101IMG_1097IMG_1096IMG_1081IMG_1084

 

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: