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Beesotted’s Jim Levack comes over all film-buff in his last article of 2021 as we prepare, nervously, for the arrival of  Manchester City to Brentford.

I’ve just watched Die Hard for the 20th time… First up and for the avoidance of doubt it’s most definitely a Christmas movie. For the uninitiated it’s got a good feel-good factor, a sprinkling of sleigh bells and is a classic tale of good overcoming evil.

But as I ruminated over plot-lines I’d missed the previous times like a desperate A Level English student searching for hidden imagery, it came to me like a Christmas awakening.

Dirty-vested cop Bruce Willis is an allegory for Brentford and the 12 baddies are Manchester City and the referee who, it goes without saying, will want to be their mates tonight.

It’s not a great connection granted, and would probably earn me the usual B- my essays used to garner, but it’s an interesting parallel between art imitating life.

In the film, Willis is outnumbered and outclassed in terms of firepower but uses his noggin to stay one step ahead of his pursuers… in this case Sterling, Grealish and Foden.

He has a plan, finesses it as he goes and eventually… well I won’t ruin the film for you, but it’s a Christmas cracker.

At this point it’s probably worth reiterating that any link between the terrorists in the film and Pep Guardiola’s finely tuned outfit are purely journalistic licence and tongue in cheek.

For the record, they are arguably one of the greatest club sides ever to grace the planet, with a bench that would be the envy of most Premier League managers.

That we are readying ourselves for the greatest challenge in the club’s modern history is in itself a tribute to just what Brentford have achieved on and off the field in recent years.

I read somewhere on the BBC this week that Brighton were “five years ahead of Brentford” in terms of their football evolution because they’d been able to rest Neal Maupay for a few games.

Utter nonsense. Yes, they’re ahead of us but probably by a year. Worth also remembering that the points difference currently stands at… err, three.

City meanwhile are possibly five years and many millions of quid ahead of us and play the kind of football that I used to marvel at the Premier League clubs playing when we were in League One.

The City game will be a fascinating benchmark of where we need to get to, but it’s first and foremost one of those that we expect to get nothing from. Villa is far more important and getting to that unscathed will be more important.

It’s a classic haves v have nots cup-type encounter – a Sutton v Coventry, Hereford v Newcastle, Brentford v Sunderland… and look where they are now. 

In a one-off game absolutely anything can happen, but City’s 11-1 aggregate scoring record against newly promoted teams suggests it won’t. Who knows though, it’s Brentford innit?

A defeat will almost inevitably see the doom-mongers crawling out from their keyboards, conveniently forgetting who we’re actually playing.

For me, as long as we give it a go and compete sensibly and with discipline to the end, I’ll happily erase this fixture from my memory at 10pm… unless we win. 

Perspective is essential at times like this and the bottom line is we have 20 points before the half way stage. I, and I suspect most other reasonable Bees fans, would have snapped your hand off for that in August.

SPOILER ALERT: The underdog can bite back and although I doubt Thomas Frank will be yelling Kippee-Ki-Yay Mxxxxxxxxxxr at his opposite number at full time, we can dream… and if it doesn’t happen, we learn.

Jim Levack