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 “rico henry”

Were Aston Villa that bad? Or were we that good? Thoughts after the night before

A very wet evening heralded an excellent game of football that even torrential rain could not dampen nor actually have much effect. A sell out crowd of 12,000 including 1,600 Villa fans saw an end to end game that at times could have gone in any direction. IMG_6569

The scoresheet will confirm that Brentford won 2-1 but that hides a lot of the game. The few minuscule words that The Times chose to post about the game really were both clueless and gave their readers no feeling of anything about the game. So lets go back to the start. Brentford have a whole series of injuries that have disrupted their starting eleven for around 2 months now, yet even with players out of position and squad players coming in, the results have been quite superb. So looking at some of  the players who were absent from last night: Egan, Henry, Dalsgaard, it is clear that the Bees defence was not first, nor second choice but maybe third choice. Nico Yennaris at right back and Joann Barbet at left back, two players not always first choice this season, playing out of their regular positions. On paper this was a team that Villa managed by the ever increasing frame of Steve Bruce should have been looking to beat comfortably. Certainly thats the view from their hordes of fans on social media. In fact Brentford looked the most comfortable they have all season in defence, with the exception of the Villa goal scored too easily. 00000513

Brentford have turned into a hard working and maybe fitter side than earlier in the season, and are playing as a team. They are also some of the best football I have seen at Griffin Park over the years. The players have a game plan and it works. The return from injury of Sergi Canos has been crucial as has the return to form of Florian.

The pitch is now in excellent condition considering the recent weather and rainfall, and yet this is Brentford, were before the game smiling stewards were trying to sweep away the rain behind the New Road stand but at a slower pace than the rain that was falling!

The return of Alan Judge to the bench was warmly applauded and we might expect to see him starting a game soon.

My impression of Villa was actually positive. They were a hard working team in the first half and probably shaded the game on points. Always a threat when coming forward but as the game went on they failed to have a plan B and arguably gave up after Lasse Vibe’s 52nd minute winner. The last 10 minutes were the usual panic stations and especially as both Brentford central defenders were off the pitch with bloody head injuries, with goal line saves keeping Villa out. 00000487

Despite negative comments on social media my impression was they are a side that will be in the playoffs. The fans are shouting to maybe have Bruce out but they might look at their alternatives and instead stick with him. Do they really want a Pulis, Warnock or Pardew? Their football was not as good as Brentford and on the night it showed, but on other nights they will beat similar teams because of their speed in attack and physical size. What however surprised Brentford fans was the odd role given to Hogan. We know he is a good player, but we also know he is a confidence player, and a player that needs service in the box. He could slot back in at Brentford in the correct role and start scoring goals again. But a real lesson for not only Villa but also Birmingham and Norwich, do not just buy the best player, but look at the system they have been operating in and why they have been the best player. The simple reason why Canos, Jota and Hogan have not flourished after leaving Brentford. IMG_6583

The football played by Brentford was superb last night, there were no defensive errors ( bar one that we got away with) and we made good substitutions at the right time. The other thing we learned last night was that we do need to give Lasse Vibe a new contract. For me he has vastly improved this last 2 years and has at least another 2 years left of Championship football. He also is a stable influence on the side and is likely to feature in the World Cup in 2018. Nico Yennaris for me had his best game in a Brentford shirt, not only his positional sense but his cajoling and encouraging his team colleagues. Could this be his best position? I would not be alone in thinking that Henrik Dalsgaard would be better in midfield . Chris Mepham was superb and a casual observer would be surprised to learn he has only started a handful of games. Sergi Canos had a superb game despite his Malfoy like hairstyle, and is getting better by the game. Romaine Sawyers also had one of his best games and also looking better each game. Even Keith Stroud had an average game, when our expectations are that he will ruin any spectacle. A question to ask him is his interpretation of the advantage rule though.

Villa do not need to panic and although automatic promotion is beyond them, the playoffs certainly are not. Their hope might be that they do not meet Brentford there. This was one of the great nights under the lights at Griffin Park and when we move to Lionel road this is what we will miss.


Brentford 3 Sunderland 3. Another draw, more defensive errors yet this might be the real turning point of the season. The superb Florian Jozefzoon

There have been enough doom and gloom posts in the last 24 hours. It does not take a mathematician to realise that giving away three goals makes winning a match incredibly difficult. Yet in fact Brentford almost did that.

Florian Jozefzoon shoots to create the tap in for Yennaris

Florian Jozefzoon shoots to create the tap in for Yennaris

Lets start with the negatives. In the first half for long periods Sunderland outplayed us with a strong and energetic form of football, skill was not a major component , yet Brentford gifted them three goals. The obligatory goal from the ex-Bees player Lewis Grabban was the prelude to an error from Dan Bentley (keepers make mistakes and also win us games) and an incredibly stupid penalty to concede by Ryan Woods. Our defending yesterday was not good, but it was also not bad. In a purely defensive role Henrik Dalsgaard had maybe his best game for us. Our central defenders were hardly immense but also not error prone. What is the real strong negative and something Brentford must stop doing, is giving away stupid penalties. In three of the last 4 home games, it is the ridiculous penalties that have cost us (almost)  the points. Rico Henry (V Reading), Henrik Dalsgaard ( V Millwall) and Ryan Woods yesterday. Defensive coaching must encompass and limit the desire, need and tendencies to concede pointless penalties, when in fact in all three cases challenges could have been better or not made at all.

Ryan Woods meets Lee Cattermole

Ryan Woods meets Lee Cattermole

Now onto the positives. Brentford dominated the second half and we saw a team in bad form ( Sunderland) lose their confidence entirely after an excellent Florian goal. A sublime free kick. Brentford came close to winning the game and if the referee had added on 10 minutes instead of the obligatory 5 minutes, Bees would have won this game. Our football was good, tackling was strong and we did have our chances. And before we talk about lack of luck, lets remember the good fortune of the Neal Maupay goal from a deflection. In short  Brentford looked good. Why? in my view it was down to Henrik Dalsgaard and Florian combining superbly on the right. The work load was high, the running fast and they never gave up. So why have these two players suddenly produced such a superb performance? Before yesterday both had performances that might be termed “patchy”. Maybe it is the coaching behind the scenes?

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon had a superb game. His best in a Brentford shirt

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard had his best game attacking and defending and looked the Danish international that he is

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon yet again stretching the Sunderland defence

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard

Although we should have won this game, importantly we did not lose it. We are in a relegation battle right now and on any given weekend might end up in the bottom three. So it was crucial not to hand three points to Sunderland.  There are games coming up we must win, Burton for example and QPR, and there are games me must get a point from (Cardiff and Leeds).

Yesterday we looked a coherent attacking side in the second half. There are some unanswered questions ( such as why the Sergi Canos hair style and colour) and can Neal Maupay regain a run of form. Overall however I feel positive that we can scrap our way out of this relegation battle and may potentially be a lower mid-table side. Where we go from there is another question.

Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay unlucky not to score

Jason Steele

Jason Steele had an uncomfortable afternoon in goal.

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard makes another tackle

Ryan Woods

How did Ryan woods get up there?

Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins

Lasse vibe

Lasse Vibe

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon

Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Rico Henry

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