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Brentford suffered a deflating defeat to Norwich City, and although we welcomed back two players from injury, the Bees continued the lacklustre form, in the first half at least, that saw us go down to Burnley the week before. Dave Lane looks back at an afternoon to forget.

Overall Performance 

Brentford were caught short again and, for the second week running, saw their performance levels dip below what we have witnessed in the early days of the Premier League adventure. Not that its the full excuse, as we did carve out some gilt-edged chances to score and give ourselves a chance of at least a point, but the injury situation is contributing massively to the slim margins we are currently not seeing go our way. Norwich, to their credit, had our cards marked from kick off, and they pressed and double-marked our main men out of the game early-doors, they deserved their lead, and probably the win in all honesty… the Canaries fluffed some massive chances too, remember. Janelt didn’t look fit, but we all would have begged him to start… Norgaard had two big chances saved point-blank again… Zanka limped off to be replaced by Charlie Goode… who gave away the penalty for City’s second… Ivan Toney looked frustrated and not as involved as we all would have liked, especially in front of goal, and Fernandez looked suspect for the opener… his Pac-Man shuffling up and down the goal line also left the perfect space for Pukki to pick his spot. On the plus side, and there aren’t many, we got a reaction second half, and could/should have brought the game back to 2-2. The anarchic team formation at the end, with Goode up top and Rico replaced by Marcus Forss (who didn’t get a sniff) had heads being scratched all round the ground. 

Best Bees Performers

Bryan Mbeumo was back from injury and involved in everything that was positive. He put a big shift in… The afternoon would have been even more grim had he not played. Henry had an impressive game too, but Bryan was my man of the match.

Room For Improvement

Room for recovery and rest too, but certainly room for improvement. The international break comes at at time where we need to put this four-match losing run behind us, regroup and refocus, and hope a few more missing Bees are available for the Newcastle clash. The players need a reset, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong, in my view at least, but we do need to work on how we get that edge to our game back with the players available. We need to invest during the January window too. 

Fans’ Performance

New Griffin Park wasn’t at its bouncing best, but it’s not rocket science to see why. Another early goal conceded meant the Bees were chasing the game again, and the second goal meant the ‘Fortress’ was likely to be anything but, once again. The singing and support was solid from where I was, Norwich sounded the noisiest band of travellers we’ve heard to date (tip my hat to them for that), and Brentford fans sang loud and proud until the end. However, there were reports of fans walking out of the North Stand at 2-0 claiming they had ‘had enough of this shit’ (best you don’t come back) and big frustrations at the back of the West Stand. It has been a frustrating few weeks, so a certain amount of flack is understandable, but not sure it’s time to start any panic-pants nonsense. This team are going to need us in the coming weeks, lets stick with them. Not some happy-clappy preach, just a simple reminder that we are going to face runs both positive and negative during the season and the fans need to play their part. We’ve come a long way in a short space of time and it not always going to be easy for a club like ours. Treasure this season, don’t try and trash it. The minute’s applause for Colin Ryan will have hopefully made his family proud, RIP Colin.

Summing Up

We spoke on the podcast this week about the ‘unwritten rules of football’,  suggesting that a Norwich win was on the cards… and that’s exactly what transpired, damn it! We all know there were more valuable points dropped against Norwich and the league table doesn’t make as reassuring reading as it did after the West Ham win, that’s for sure. Two or three more points on the board from the sequence since the previous international break would have maintained the comfortable ‘all is good in the world’ vibe, but it is what it is and we have to prepare for the most challenging schedule imaginable in the coming weeks. We really have to draw a line underneath the last four games, and hope we return with a stronger squad to chose from. Finding a way to get Ivan Toney in on goal, or other players getting in behind defences will be central to a change in fortunes too, long-ball can be effective, we know that, but where are the midfield threaded passes? Also, long distance shots on target can’t be an option only for our opponents to take advantage of. Come On You Bees!

Dave Lane