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When contemplating Brentford’s promotion credentials this season I’ve posed the same question on several occasions, namely: are there six teams better than us in the Championship this season? My answer, based on what we’ve seen to date, is no, however, in Ipswich Town, we now know there is one team that is.

Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich came to West London with the perfect game plan, and primed to set about the Bees from the off. Town’s forwards put pressure on Brentford whilst in possession and forced mistakes from players who have been stalwarts in recent weeks. Our defence in particular was made to look inadequate at times – the Bees looked well off the pace for the opening 45 minutes – and although the intelligent passing game never deserted the home side all afternoon, and the never say die spirit was evident in a much improved second period showing, Warburton’s players were rumbled on Boxing Day.

The Bees were behind in just 20 seconds, a misplaced kick from David Button falling straight to Paul Anderson, he tee’d up Daryl Murphy, who found the perfect finish to stun a packed Griffin Park. The subdued Boxing Day crowd then watched on as the visitors scored two more in fairly quick succession… Murphy added the second when he rounded Button after a knife through butter ball split the flat-footed Bees defence, then a third on the half-hour basically ended any real hope the Bees had to fight back. It was like the Cardiff match last weekend, but in reverse.

Rightly, the Bees stuck to their guns and continued to play some lovely football – just nothing seemed to come off for them. Andre Gray was caught offside almost every time the ball came near him and it was obvious that Ipswich had been practising stepping up and kept a high defensive line that shrunk the space in which Brentford could play – tactics that worked perfectly.

On the day The Bees were just not capable of finding top gear, and despite enjoying 65% of the possession over all, Ipswich did a proper job and you’ve got to tip your hat to them for doing their homework.

Two goals from Sam Saunders sandwiched a fourth goal from Ipswich, the hugely popular Bees midfielder popping up in the right place at the right time to give the scoreline a more positive reflection – however, Bog Nick once again looked completely out of his depth when he came on for Andre Gray. Some say he’s not been given adequate opportunities to show what he is really capable of – others feel he’s been given too much game-time already.

So, Brentford got their bums smacked on Boxing Day, and there are definitely lessons to learn from this match, which runs on from the second half of the Cardiff match. We looked slow at the back, errors have started to creep back into our game, and beyond our first choice strikers, there are clearly inadequacies.

There’s certainly plenty of food for thought to serve up with the left-over bubble and squeak you may have!

Dave Lane

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