Beesotted’s Jim Levack looks back at The Bees’ sixth straight win following a spirited comeback against Charlton Athletic and asks is the best yet time come?
Season defining wins over West Brom and Fulham are lovely, velvet football and unbeaten runs are habit-forming, clean sheets a prize worth laying bodies on the line for.
Yet despite the, at times, jaw-dropping football Brentford have played since the restart, the Charlton win was far and away the best and most impressive.
We weren’t collectively, as Thomas would say at our top, top levels, but showed all the attributes that a side heading into the final four or seven games can only dream of.
Momentum is critical – look how Villa used it last season – but that only comes from the type of togetherness, spirit and belief we saw against a well-drilled, organised Addicks outfit who, let’s not forget, face Leeds on the final day.
Brentford are clearly unplayable for spells in games and while the majestic Said went close a few times as it looked like it might not be our night, the side stayed patient.
I use the word ‘side’ advisedly, because the success of this remarkable group of players is broader than that. This is a squad, united, winning and losing together – if anyone can remember that – as one.
Witness the introduction of Halil Dervisoglu and Emiliano Marcondes, two players who’ve had to wait for their chance but are now on the road to establishing themselves in what we hope will be a history-making season.
The Turkish striker brought an added dimension to our approach play against Lee Bowyer’s side which, prompted by the drinks break whiteboard “controversy” in the minds of the Leeds faithful, sparked the revival.
He provided that little spark that ignited a lot of 8 out of 10 performances, getting involved from the first kick, mixing it up with a yellow, adding energy. He’s definitely one to watch.
He’s languished in the shadow of Ollie Watkins, arguably the best centre forward we’ve had in the modern era despite me saying he’d never cut it up top… but his turn will come.
Beyond Halil and Marcondes, a player who always “had it” but needed to work on his physicality, this mini-tournament will be decided by the best squad with the right mentality. Few could argue that that’s not us.
These last few days I’ve had Phil, a Leeds fan, laying new floorboards at my house. He’s convinced they’re still going to blow it. Likewise, I’m friends with Baggies fans who insist it’s not done and dusted, irrespective of the Derby outcome.
Since the restart, this Brentford side have played football that would grace the Premier League, but I’ve spoken to many Bees fans who are incredibly relaxed about the run-in and the eventual outcome.
For them, the top flight is a ‘nice to have’, ‘something I’d like to see in my lifetime’, ‘a dream that would put us on the map’. But it’s not the be all and end all it seems to be for West Brom and Leeds fans.
We’re by and large a pragmatic bunch who, in recent times at least, have grown to love seeing football played the right way. And that’s what we did against Charlton – stuck to our principles, remained calm, got our reward.
If it hadn’t worked there’d have been no gnashing of teeth, calling out individual players, blasting the manager that seems to be the norm at other once famous clubs.
That we’re still under the radar – the media still seem to see the unbeaten charge as one of those freaks of football nature, but we know different – is another blessing that should ease the pressure on our squad.
They are clearly enjoying their football, and when you enjoy your football it’s second nature and not a mechanical process that my floorboard man says Leeds have a knack of sometimes making it.
There’s a beautiful simplicity about the messaging coming out of our club right now, from the skipper’s motivational tweets, the player banter and Thomas’s focused media interviews. Effective because It’s a simple but beautiful game.
I’m not interested in analysing potential point hauls, other teams’ analytics, suspensions and injuries because as the Head Coach says, we can’t affect any of them.
So regardless of how West Brom or Bielsa’s lot do in the path of the Brentford juggernaut or indeed how we do, one thing is definite.
I’m looking forward to next season – whatever division we’re in.