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 “scott hogan”

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.

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Brentford v Newcastle . A curious afternoon and maybe an indicator of the rest of the season? 


On paper a mid table side sets out to topple a promotion certainty side . However a lot more is at stake. Brentford performances recently have been dubious and inconsistent and the superb performance last week was not predicted. 

There are two ways the season might go. A decent run of league results seeing us sit maybe in 10th place. A horrid run of results that see us in a relegation battle. Very difficult to call the direction on this . 

Our squad needs to lose the fringe players. The squad should only contain players good enough for the championship . Sadly that means Bonham, KK, Saunders, Hoffman all need to move on. The jury is out on Barbet and Yennaris. My own view is that they are not good enough . 

We all know what we need but importantly we also need options. Sometimes Plan A does not work and we need a different approach during a game. A further thing needed in my view is far more engagement with the fans than Dean Smith currently exhibits. Fan forums would be a good start. Maybe also acknowledging in his press conferences mistakes . Certainly a little bit of warmth too. Martin Allen was a revelation last week . Fans need to engage with the manager as they did with Warburton. 

Lastly players need to start a game at high tempo . I can see no reason why not. Players need to play to their potential . Ryan Woods has ranged from brilliant to inept . And similarly most players. 

Smith might also consider blooding more young players. Exactly what Holldack and others will learn from B games is unclear. Either play them or send them on loan to a league club or let them go. They need to play football. Week in week out. 

Tomorrow against Newcastle will be a challenge. For me a good result is a draw. But a spirited draw. 

A Brentford Revival? Maybe or maybe not 


At the end of the day Bees hung on to beat a fairly poor Burton side 2-1. Certainly compared with late this was a better performance but emphasised yet again the critical importance of Scott Hogan to the team. Without him would Brentford have lost 1-0? Who knows. 

The early tempo was much better from Bees against a Burton side that was well organised but lacked a fair bit of basic skill. Their wide players produced some crosses that better teams would have scored from. 

Bees scored following a good pass from Sawyers who had a decent game but in general the midfield fails to protect the defence and win many of the second balls. Yennaris was unconvincing and Bees cry out for a physically dominant midfield player and a few crunching tackles. Hogan was superb and in reality should have had a hat trick and possibly four. 

The failings however came back to haunt Brentford giving away a very soft goal that possibly Bentley might have done better. Barbet looked uncomfortable at left back and it will be no surprise to see Tom Field starting there soon. 

Without pondering on the negatives this was an important 3 points against a Burton team that I expect to be in or near the bottom 3 come end of season. 

Bees need to improve more. To stop giving the ball away cheaply and for the midfield to do a whole lot more including score some goals. But three points are ours and hopefully now we can push on and get something from the next two difficult away games. 

Credit to the small but supportive bunch of Burton fans. They know that their championship road may get closed come end of season 

Wandering Around In Wolverhampton. A day out at Molineux.What is it like for away fans? And Hoffman was 15/2 to score the first goal. Wolves 3 Brentford 1


Lets start with the game. This was not a classic at all. The first half was low tempo and there were  serious indications that 0-0 might suit this game. The second half revolved around Brentford essentially giving three goals away. The first and most important one was an error by josh McCeachran giving the ball away and Wolves run 65 yards and score. The second one Daniel Bentley will be dissapointed not to have a free kick, and the last one when Brentford were chasing an equaliser was a typical last minute breakaway goal. This was never a 3-1 game and in fact 1-1 might have been a fair reflection of the play. Brentford were not at their best today and the midfield contributed little either creatively nor goal wise. The Brentford goal however was a beauty, a shot from Kalkai that was unstoppable. Wolves were not that great and seemed to be auditioning to be a mid-table side. The crowd of 20,000 contained 631 Bees who made a decent amount of noise.

The referee was abysmal. all 20,000 spectators were agreed on that one. He failed to see a clear Wolves handball in the penalty area that I saw from maybe 75 yards away. The linesman too. I despair about officials these days.

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Molineux is a decent ground and the fans/stewards a friendly bunch. The cost of 30£ though was at the steep end, though not as much as the 43£ being charged today by Sheffield Wednesday. The ground is on the edge of town and essentially in the University campus area, surrounded by university buildings and flats. An ASDA completes the splendour. This is a real city ground. Parking is easy enough and £5 will buy you a parking space in one of the local car wash sites and decent travel advice would be to enter the city via the M54 so taking the long way round. The club strive to keep their young fans happy and there was a small fair ongoing in the car park area of the ground which contained amongst other things the smallest Nando’s in the world. Other unusual sights included a barbers shop as part of the ground. Does any other club have a barbers shop integral in the ground?

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Inside the ground it is clear that this ground has and can accommodate premiership football. Four decent size stands and away fans are unusually given the lower tier of one the stands that run pitchside, so get a decent view. My only quibble is the huge area between the pitch and the stand that allowed a large wide grass strip where stewards sat on chairs, or in one mans case, slept in his chair.

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So a good day out, little pricey but a ground well worth seeing. Lastly 21 Bet might want to have a re-think about both the odds and the plaeys they lay odds against. I almost choked on the prospect that the odds of forst scorer were equal almost for Hogan, who was playing, and Hoffmann who was not even on the bench. Curiouser and curiouser.

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A Nervy Finish and Great Brentford Pies but Brentford 1 Notts Forest 0


A very different game from Saturday but ending with the same result . Two home games and two victories. A tap in goal from Scott Hogan was enough. The first half was a scrappy affair really and either side of Hogans goal Forest had chances . McLeod came into the game increasingly with some superb passing. Daniel Bentley made some decent saves but saved his best for the 95th minute saving point blank to save the points. Sawyers had a quieter game and Forest in the last 20 minutes ran all over Bees in midfield. 

The sending off of Damien Perquis the French defender seemed to spur Forest on. Although they will feel unlucky to lose Bees did have other chances and Egan almost doubled Bees lead with a header from a corner. 


All in all lots of positives. Set pieces look far better already and generally work rate is high. Man of the match? Maybe Daniel Bentley for that save. 


The most surprising fact of the night though was off the pitch where Brentford pies in the Directors box got great acclaim from journalists. Tweeting Pie photos at half time says it all. 

Brentford 2 Ipswich 0.Early thoughts and opinions on Championship


A sunny afternoon greeted the first Brentford home game of the season played against a team that Brentford normally respect however with the bad taste left in the mouth from the encounter at Portman road a few months ago, this was always going to be an interesting occasion. Even the River Thames at Brentford looked acceptable in the absence of any water.

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Griffin Park

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River Thames at Brentford

Thankfully football prevailed and there no side shows provides, Alan Judge did not make a visible appearance, Luke Hyams “injured” and Mick McCarthy played a decent role as the pantomime villain cheekily acknowledging the applause that greeted Dean Smith, as if for him.

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The game was played mostly in good spirit and refereed well. In the first 30 minutes Brentford might well have been behind, the post saving us from an opening Ipswich goal, as the large sized Ipswich team marauded forward and at that stage my massive £1 bet on a Brentford win looked very much in doubt. in fact most Bees fans would have taken a draw if offered. But the Ipswich dominance became less as the half went on and it was no great surprise when Brentford took the lead early in the second half with an excellent attacking header from John Egan and soon after a close range superb finish that Hogan would have been proud of, made it 2-0 and effectively the game ended there. Sam Saunders should have added to the score and 2-0 did not flatter Brentford.

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What did we learn? Firstly Ipswich will struggle this season to be a play-off contender. They were well beaten by Brentford who many take to be a mid-table side. The Ipswich style of play is a long way from the Sir Bobby Robson era and frankly I would not want their style transposed on Griffin Park too often. They may also want to consider signing a goalkeeper with more presence.

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Romaine Sawyers

Brentford in contrast were surprisingly good. The new players all settled quickly. Callum Elder looks a good left back and very much in the Bidwell style. John Egan grew into the game and will be a superb centre back. Harlee Dean had a great game and I dont say that often. It is unclear how Barbet or Bjelland will get into the side apart from injury or suspensions. Romaine Sawyers was simply superb and my man of the match. Looking like a Clayton Donaldson lookalike he ran the midfield and grew into the game increasingly. Lewis Macleod was the only player I have some early reservations over lacking physical presence and missing an excellent opportunity. Dan Bentley had little to do but did suggest that his kicking game had been stoled from David Button. 1K4A4633

A good start to the season and many encouraging signs for Brentford but maybe not for Ipswich. How long will Mick McCarthy remain as their manager? My bet is not for long at this rate.

 

Brentford 1 FC Kaiserslautern 1. The Bees are back.Photographs and Thoughts.


On a hot sunny afternoon this was a good workout for both teams that played a competitive match in terms of effort without a great deal of end result or indeed physicality.

There was the curious sight of the scoreboard using maybe a bad acronym for FC Kaiserslautern…….1K4A4368

1K4A4547bestAs is the norm a number of substitutions in the second half rendered any interpretation of whether this was a good or bad display meaningless. Overall Brentford played with the same style as last season and looked a decent side. No one stood out today on either side. The work rate however was superb for a pre-season game. 1K4A4468

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FC Kaiserslautern brougt almost 1000 fans it seems and there was a fair amount of cabaret between their fans and the Brentford stewards, mostly all good humoured and in fact well stewarded with no incidents that I saw.  If their fans can be described as having a uniform it would be multiple tattoos and a flag per person, the noise from them was massive. They played an open style of play and it was no surprise that their goal came from quick running down the wing with an accurate cross on the floor that was finished neatly. In contrast Brentford goal came from an own goal scored from a corner.

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Own goal gives Brentford the lead

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Sam Saunders

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A busy Maxime Colin

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Romaine Sawyers

From the new players Romaine Sawyers looked industrious and moved seamlessly at times from central midfield to the wings. Sam Saunders played the game more like it was a league game and looked fit and interested throughout.

There were a number of nice touches in the game, not least the minute silence for the Munich victims, and the general noise and support from the FC Kaiserslautern fans. At times even a little too vociferous and some needed reminding that a minute silence means just that!

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The stewarding was also appropriately relaxed and fans had a great afternoon in the sun.

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