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Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’s draw against Brighton

Thomas Frank deployed a 3-5-2 for the first time since Brentford’s draw against Arsenal in February. Brentford prepared to set up in their compact mid/low block to handle Brighton’s high possession based playstyle. Brentford were still missing Ajer and Janelt, both of which are usual inclusions in Thomas Frank’s 3-5-2. Roerslev returned to the matchday squad, but Hickey started in his place.

Brighton set up in their usual 4-2-3-1, but notably Evan Ferguson did not make the squad. Ferguson provides talented hold up play and leads Brighton in goals per 90 (0.58). Danny Welbeck took his place up top, with March and Mitoma on the wing. De Zerbi sides look to build out of the back and invite opposing teams to press.

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Quick Stats:

Possession: Brighton 72% – 28% Brentford

xG: Brighton 4.1 – 1.6 Brentford

Shots: Brighton 33 – 7 Brentford

Blocked Shots: Brighton 11 – 1 Brentford

Shots Outside Box: Brighton 14 – 1 Brentford

Long Passes: Brighton 28 (64%) – 15 (29%) Brentford

Other Brentford stats:

Interceptions: 9

Aerial duels won: 10 (38%)

Clearances: 38


Brighton used long balls to beat Brentford’s press, which caught the Bees off guard and isolated wingers 1 on 1. Steele, Brighton’s keeper, was 3 of 4 on long balls, usually targeting Mitoma or March which paid off with an assist.

Brentford sent Rico Henry very far forward in the first half which left Jensen or Ben Mee alone defending the wing. Ben Mee was tasked with a difficult job as he was basically a left back going forward for much of the match.

Raya had an excellent game with 11 saves, but his 8/32 accurate long balls was unexpected. Brentford only winning 38% of their aerial duels was another uncharacteristic statistic of this quad that stifled some attacks.

Hickey was also isolated a good bit but credit to Brighton’s wingers who were excellent. The long balls were especially bad for hickey as he was left with only help from Pinnock. Pontus was asked to push forward to crowd the midfield with Damsgaard in a more advanced position as well.

Brentford set up in a very compact and narrow formation. When pressing high they utilized a 3-3-2-2 formation. The front two cut out passing lanes to the defensive midfielders, and Brentford’s midfield collapsed on whoever was receiving the ball in the center of the pitch. Danny Welbeck gave Brentford trouble by dropping in to receive the ball then sent it out wide.

Brighton created 4.1 xG, but some of this was padded with 14 shots outside the box and 11 blocked shots. Brighton still created very good chances but their xG and 33 total shots are definitely inflated.

Brentford made the most of their chances, but they could have scored even more. Brighton’s schoolboy error of a back pass to the keeper was saved by Brighton’s encroachment on the freekick. Brighton was again bailed out when Mbeumo was called for a phantom foul once he was in on goal.