Brentford fans are certainly feeling frustration as of late, with only one win in the last five games (Carabao Cup included). The Championship is a tough league, of course, where anyone can beat anyone. However, if the club’s aims of promotion are to be achieved then the draws against Ipswich Town, Reading and now Birmingham City have to be seen as six points dropped.
The match with Birmingham was similar in respects to recent matches at Griffin Park, with teams coming to sit deep, full bodied challenges and attempting to hit us on the counter. It’s another game where the strength, height and aggression of Brentford was called into question, and for the most part they did well.
Birmingham had a couple of good spells, and scored a good goal from a corner, however for the most part they seemed more concerned with hard tackles, scraps and time wasting to try and frustrate the Bees. There was certainly the vibe of a derby on the pitch with the aggressive nature of the match.
Josh McEachran scored his first goal for Brentford (and first professional goal) which levelled things up but despite a red card for Maikel Kieftenbeld, Garry Monk being shown red and a Harlee Dean meltdown, the Bees could not find a way to claim all three points. Luke Daniels also got the nod after Daniel Bentley’s mistakes on Saturday, and he provided a very solid performance, with some very important saves.
Due to the number of yellow and red cards for Birmingham there will no doubt be some punishment from the EFL for failing to control their players, something that will only add to their conspiracy of a “vendetta against the club”.
Nevertheless, Saturday brings another match and a bigger fish to fry for Brentford, Leeds United. This is no doubt the biggest test of the season for Brentford so far due to the high flying start Leeds have made under Marcelo Bielsa. This is a team that likes to play passing football, in a similar way to the Bees, so expect a tough tactical match up.
Leeds have lost once this season, at home to Birmingham, and have also drawn two in their last five showing a slight dip in form for our hosts on Saturday as well (12:30 GMT).
Tuesday night also saw Aston Villa throw away a 2-0 lead against Preston North End (drawing the game 3-3) which subsequently lead to the sacking of Steve Bruce.
This has lead to growing speculation that Brentford manager and Villa fan Dean Smith may be in line to take the job, as the club had reportedly favoured him in the past.
There is not too much for Bees fans to be worries about yet however as Smith has confirmed there have been no talks between the clubs, though it seems likely he would want to go (as a fan that would be a dream job for anyone), and the rumours suggest Villa are looking elsewhere.
Brentford likely line-up (4-2-3-1):
Odubajo – Konsa – Mepham – Barbet
McEachran – Mokotjo
Canos – Sawyers – Watkins
Some changes are certainly needed for Brentford as the energy is looking flat. Henrik Dalsgaard is looking tired and making some silly mistakes, and with Moses Odubajo and Josh Clarke back in the squad on Tuesday it seems a perfect chance to rest the Dane.
McEachran has been key this season but some stronger defensive capability will be needed on Saturday so a combination of McEachran and Kamohelo Mokotjo or Nico Yennaris is likely.
With Said Benrahma out Alan Judge or Sergi Canos will be given the nod once more. It is likely that Leeds will dominate possession so the extra pace that Canos has may give him the edge to start the match.
Romaine Sawyers has seemed a little unlike himself lately, but I don’t think Saturday is a match we can afford to rest a player who can thread passes so excellently on his day.
Saturday could very well be another frustrating day. However, the team will know the opportunity that is in front of them. There is an excellent opportunity to push even higher up the table and the chance to push the favourites for promotion this season.
Leeds 1 – 1 Brentford
If you can’t make the journey to Leeds on Saturday, the match will be televised on Sky Sports at 12:30 GMT.
Up the Bees.
Picture Credit: Brentford FC