Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’s come from behind win against Nottingham Forest
Brentford switched to their 4-3-3 formation with Damsgaard, Schade and Hickey featuring in the Starting XI. Onyeka, Zanka, and Roerslev moved to the bench. The Bees looked to threaten this Nottingham Forest side more than in their last matchup, when the Bees only created 6 total shots.
Nottingham Forest had some injury concerns coming into this match, but Niakhaté and Awoniyi both made the Starting XI. Forest started in their 3-4-2-1 with Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson lining up behind Awoniyi. Forest used a 4-1-4-1 in their last match against Brighton, which could be used in different situations to prevent Brentford from progressing the ball.
90 + 1
90 + 4
Possession: Brentford 69% – 31% Nottingham Forest
xG: Brentford 1.62 – 0.72 Nottingham Forest
xG Open Play: Brentford 0.37 – 0.08 Nottingham Forest
Shots: Brentford 14 – 5 Nottingham Forest
Clearances: Brentford 5 – 41 Nottingham Forest
Other Brentford stats:
Aerial duels won: 7 (33%)
Brentford won with over 50% possession for the first time in the Premier League this season. It’s still a bit concerning that Brentford only created 0.37 xG from open play. It’s clear that Brentford have the capability of breaking down low blocks, but at times it seemed Brentford were still trying to force it long.
Brentford clearly targeted Forest’s left side, with multiple long balls that rarely found success. Brentford did, however, find success with the change to a 3-4-3. Dasilva was instrumental to this change and overloading the left side. Dasilva offers a unique skillset for Brentford with his ability to progressively carry the ball and help break down low blocks with his take-ons.
Dasilva in only 31 minutes ended with 4 out of 4 successful take ons, while the rest of Brentford’s squad had 3. Nottingham Forest ended with only 1 successful take-on. Dasilva also led the team with 10 progressive receptions and 5 carries into the final third.
Forest’s 41 clearances suggests Brentford dominated even if it didn’t feel that way at times. It’s clear Brentford is fully capable of playing in a low-block and hitting teams on the counter, but Brentford have also occasionally shown they are capable of coming from behind when teams are implementing a low-block against them.
Thomas Frank has a clear plan to shift to a 3-4-3 when down a goal in the second half. Dasilva is the perfect type of player to help break down low-blocks by pulling defenders out of position, but Brentford too often continue to rely on direct long balls in these situations. Brentford have the blueprint and the players to be successful, but fans will want to see them do this consistently.