Thomas Frank’s reign as Bees boss got off to a poor start on Saturday as Bristol City gained a 1-0 victory at Griffin Park to an uncharacteristic Brentford side.
A red card turned the tide of the game as Chris Mepham saw yellow twice, both of which can certainly be debated. The first of which came when Marlon Pack was kicking at Kamohelo Mokotjo on the floor and Mepham intervened to defend his teammate, both players seeing yellow.
The second came with Niclas Eliasson going through on goal and going down with very little/no contact from Mepham, buying a second yellow. To rub salt into the wound, Eliasson went on to score the winner for the Robins.
Nevertheless, the refereeing decisions and diving cannot be used as an excuse for what was a lacklustre Bees performance with many players failing to impress. Many chances missed, passes misplaced and poor decision making ultimately was to blame.
Teams have discovered the way to counter the Brentford style of play and little has been done to find a solution or a plan B, particularly as this issue has been clear to many fans ever since the 2-2 draw with Reading back in September.
Brentford are now without a win in seven games in all competitions, the first of the usual two a season slumps which could cost us dearly come the end of the season, particularly as the table is so tight with only five points separating fifth and 18th.
Matters could get worse for Brentford this week as they must travel away to both Preston North End (Wednesday) and Norwich (Saturday) but are still to record a victory on the road this season.
Preston themselves have struggled this season, having only just left the relegation zone this weekend after two draws either side of an emphatic 4-0 win against Wigan Athletic having lost four on the bounce prior to those fixtures.
Brentford will take some encouragement from the fact that North End have only won twice all season, though their form is certainly improving. Callum Robinson will be a key man to watch, with his passing ability a constant threat, as well as the likes of Paul Gallagher and Louis Moult who has been in good form.
Brentford likely line-up (4-2-3-1):
Odubajo – Konsa – Jeanvier – Barbet
McEachran – Macleod
Benrahma – Sawyers – Watkins
This game is a fantastic opportunity for Brentford if they are to break this run of bad form and finally take all three points on the road. Though I believe the club would have appealed Mepham’s sending off, the Preston North End game will come around too quickly so Julian Jeanvier is likely to come into the starting lineup.
Frank opted to recall Daniel Bentley back between the sticks on Saturday despite Luke Daniels strong performances in previous games so it’s likely Bentley will continue in goal. Henrik Dalsgaard is probably more likely to start over Moses Odubajo but personal preference is that Mo gets the nod if he’s fully fit, the same with Said Benrahma and Sergi Canos as Said has offered more this season in terms of chances created.
With Preston on a wave of resurgence they will certainly see our visit as a winnable game, which will make the tie even more interesting. The rub of the green was not with us Saturday, despite making some good chances, so it’s not exactly doom and gloom and I expect a good response on Wednesday.
Preston North End 1 – 2 Brentford
Up the Bees.
Picture Credit: Brentford FC