Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’s win against Fulham.
Thomas Frank switched to a 4-3-3 to face Fulham, with Kevin Schade replacing Ajer in the starting XI. Pinnock and Collins were the centreback pairing with Ben Mee still recovering from a calf injury. Left fullback Rico Henry looked to continue his excellent form with Aaron Hickey again starting on the right. Janelt, Nørgaard, and Jensen were the midfield trio, which has been Thomas Frank’s ideal midfield for some time, but injuries unfortunately prevent this trio from being seen too often. A dangerous and pacey front three consistent of Schade, Wissa, and Mbeumo. Thomas Frank had plenty of options to choose from on the bench with Ajer, Dasilva, Damsgaard, and Keane Lewis-Potter all looking to make an impact.
Marco Silva’s Fulham had two changes from their win against Everton to open the season. They started in a 4-3-3 with an unchanged back four consisting of Tete, Diop, Ream and Robinson. Reed, Lukic, and Pereira were the midfield trio with Palhinha available off the bench. Harry Wilson and Bobby Reid, the attacking wide players, looked to combine with the fullbacks. Raul Jiménez was the starting striker as transfer rumours swirl around Mitrovic, who was also nursing an ankle injury.
Possession: Fulham 55% – 45% Brentford
xG: Fulham 0.46 – 3.93 Brentford
xGOT: Fulham 0.21 – 3.41 Brentford
Shots: Fulham 10 – 17 Brentford
Shots on Target: Fulham 2 – 8 Brentford
Clearances: Fulham 22 – 25 Brentford
Other Brentford stats:
Aerial duels won: 12 (50%)
Brentford’s tactics weren’t out of the ordinary, but Thomas Frank has rarely been so aggressive with man marking while in a 4-3-3. Brentford’s 3-5-2 allows the wide centrebacks the freedom to press high up the pitch, but the 4-3-3 doesn’t offer as much coverage. Luckily, Nathan Collins and Pinnock were up to the challenge.
Ethan Pinnock and Nathan Collins had massive performances. Pinnock finished with 6 aerial duels won, 8 recoveries, and 4 blocks. Nathan Collins ended with 5/7 long passes and completed 94.1% of his passes overall. Brentford didn’t skip a beat without Ben Mee in the backline, which has been a welcome and much needed development for the Bees.
Jensen had a notable performance, completing 16/21 long passes, 4 key passes, and was a disruptive presence in midfield. Often an afterthought, Jensen’s ability to cut out passing lanes is such an underrated quality. There’s a noticeable dropoff defensively when Jensen is taken out of games.
Brentford’s low and mid blocks gave Fulham trouble when allowing them to have possession. The Bees cut out passing lanes and kept a compact shape to prevent Fulham’s creative players from getting on the ball. This forced Fulham into wide areas and prevented them from looking dangerous for a majority of the match.
Fulham didn’t threaten Flekken much throughout the match, but his passing ability was impactful, leading to Brentford’s third goal. After a very strong performance away from home, Brentford look to return home to face Crystal Palace at the weekend.