Things have gone from bad to worse for Brentford.
Since the Bees went up to second in the table back in September they’re yet to win in seven matches, and have now lost two on the bounce after losing 4-3 away to Preston North End.
The team showed a lack of desire, ability and, most of all, composure as this young Bees side lost control of another game. Going down 3-0 inside 20 minutes left a huge mountain to climb, and despite scoring three themselves, Brentford never truly looked like they would win the game.
Poor performances, poor decisions and a lack of a plan B again proved costly for a team that always crack under a high press or an aggressive style of football. Players such as Daniel Bentley, Henrik Dalsgaard and Romaine Sawyers (among others) failed to show up, and fans are demanding change.
Thomas Frank now has a matter of days before Brentford face Norwich City at Carrow Road (15:00 GMT) to improve upon what has been two lacklustre performances. Perhaps fan expectations were too high after the start of the season, but this side are currently performing at a level that would see them relegated. Things must change.
Despite the awful run, the Championship is extremely tight still, with only six points separating 1st and 13th with Brentford eight points off of top spot. A win on the road against Norwich would be extremely important, particularly with matches against Millwall, Queens Park Rangers and Middlesbrough all to come.
Norwich City currently sit 6th in the table and have lost only one league game in their past nine. If those stats weren’t daunting enough, the Canaries have shown they can hold a lead effectively by winning all six of their previous wins by a single goal, and coming from behind twice to win.
Furthermore, Norwich have scored 32% of their goals in the final ten minutes, which does not bode well for a Brentford side who struggle to hold a lead. This is a side who, on paper, have strengths in all of the areas in which Brentford have weaknesses.
Brentford likely line-up (4-2-3-1):
Dalsgaard – Konsa – Mepham – Barbet
McEachran – Mokotjo
Canos – Sawyers – Watkins
I have fears that Frank won’t make the necessary changes, hence the largely unchanged line-up. Nico Yennaris and Kamohelo Mokotjo did not work as a midfield pairing, so I expect Josh McEachran to come back in as well as Chris Mepham after his one match ban. Yoann Barbet played centre-back on Wednesday night but seemed largely uncomfortable, as did Moses Odubajo at left-back.
Personally, I would like more changes. The team has lacked composure, the desire to get forward and the ability to maintain or even gain a lead. My replacements would include Luke Daniels for Bentley, who had two strong performances before being dropped by Frank, Odubajo for Dalsgaard as I believe his pace allows for more cover and attacking options and Said Benrahma in for Canos because he creates more chances and has that extra bit of flair (despite having less goals).
The big debate however is what to do about Romaine Sawyers. He has looked off his game considerably in the majority of previous matches by often misplacing passes and continuing to avoid tackling and challenging for the ball.
Yet, he retains his starting spot as there isn’t much competition, especially when he is on form. Perhaps he needs to be dropped for Alan Judge or Lewis MacLeod to give him the push he requires?
Preferred Brentford XI (4-2-3-1):
Odubajo – Konsa – Mepham – Barbet
McEachran – Mokotjo
Benrahma – Judge – Watkins
Prediction: Without sounding too bleak, it’s hard to expect much from Brentford’s trip to Carrow Road on Saturday. On paper it seems like the odds are stacked against the Bees, and the performances as of late have looked uninspired. Although, the most Brentford thing of all would be to somehow get a result from this game, though I highly doubt it will be a win.
Norwich 2 – 2 Brentford
Up the Bees.
Picture Credit: Brentford FC