Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’ draw at Selhurst Park.
Thomas Frank stuck with the 4-3-3 seen multiple times this season. Janelt, Baptiste, and Lewis-Potter made the starting XI, while Dasilva and Wissa went to the bench. Nørgaard missed out after he picked up an injury. Pontus Jansson was still missing from the squad as he struggled with a minor foot injury. Crystal Palace also lined up in a 4-3-3 with Zaha and Olise as the wingers.
Brentford attacked Crystal Palace while in possession. Thomas Frank used similar tactics as seen in previous matches, including long balls over the backline, Toney dropping into the midfield, and clever set play routines. In possession Henry pushed forward on the wing, while Jensen dropped in behind him. Keane Lewis-Potter provided creativity as he played in the half space. On the right, Hickey would push forward, but occasionally dribbled into the middle of the pitch like an inverted fullback.
In the 68th minute Thomas Frank made a tactical change to switch to a 3-5-2. Brentford have switched to this formation multiple times this year when trailing by a goal or two. Damsgaard, Onyeka, and Dasilva replaced Keane Lewis-Potter, Mbeumo, and Baptiste. Janelt slid back to become the left centerback as Damsgaard played an advanced role next to Toney. Before the substitution Brentford struggled to string multiple passes together in the middle of the pitch. The initial gameplan was to play long balls over the top, earn corner kicks and throw ins deep in the final third. Brentford looked dangerous, and the better side, for much of the game, but Thomas Frank needed to make a change with the Bees a goal down. The tactical change resulted in better interplay in the middle of the pitch.
At the half
xG: Crystal Palace 0.40 – 0.42 Brentford Full Time
Possession: Crystal Palace 49% – 51% Brentford xG: Crystal Palace 0.67 – 1.48 Brentford
xG Set Play: Crystal Palace 0.07 – 0.81 Brentford Big Chances: Crystal Palace 0 – 4 BrentfordOther Brentford stats:
Total Shots: 9
Aerial duels won: 13 (50%)
Yet again Brentford had to come from behind and rose to the occasion. Brentford missed some key players (Nørgaard and Jansson) in a midweek match, but showed their depth by drawing a talented Crystal Palace squad. Brentford easily could’ve won this game, which seems to be a recurring theme this season. Brentford’s xG through the first 68 minutes playing in a 4-3- 3 was 0.59. After Brentford switched to a 3-5-2 in the 68th minute their xG was 0.88 during the rest of the match. Interestingly, Crystal Palace’s xG when Brentford was in a 4-3-3 was 0.56. After the change to a 3-5-2, Crystal Palace’s xG was a measly 0.10. Going forward, it will be exciting to see if Thomas Frank wants to switch with a 4-3-3 or switch to a 3-5-2 once some players return from injury (Jansson, Ajer, Pinnock). Notable players in this match were Rico Henry and Aaron Hickey. Hickey had the most pressures out of the team with 18. Henry had the most progressive distance carried for Brentford with 122 yards and Hickey came second with 105 yards. Keane Lewis-Potter looked lively at the start, but struggled to get settled in only completing 4 out of 9 passes throughout 67 minutes. For reference, Ghoddos completed 10 of 12 passes in a 12-minute cameo. Brentford’s next match is this Saturday against Leeds who sit 7th in the Premier League table. Leeds use similar tactics to Brentford and are a high pressing team looking to disrupt passing lanes and counter quickly. Leeds are leading the Premier League in pressures in the attacking third and are second in tackles won. Brentford need to be careful with possession and transition quickly to defence when losing the ball. Follow @BeesBreakdown on Twitter for highlight breakdowns, tactical analyses, pre-match info and more.
The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk