Beesotted contributor Jim Levack gives us the lowdown on Brentford’s cracking away win up in Wolverhampton. You can also listen to the weekend review podcast and the post-match podcast in the links below.
The brilliant and, at times, brutal away win at Wolves marked a significant milestone in Brentford’s trajectory.
Another clean sheet, Bryan Mbeumo’s first top-flight goal, as predicted by Thomas Frank a week before, and a first win on the road… with ten men.
Watching Kris Ajer charging down the tight flank and then sliding in at the death to deny a certain goal at the other end minutes later were two early highlights of the campaign so far. Two wins, one defeat, three clean sheets and two goals conceded is an incredible testament to the whole team as a defensive unit.
The link up play of Bryan and Ivan Toney was brilliant at times, and as they get up to speed with the wiles and pace of Premier League defenders, they’ll only get better.
Best Bees Performers
Good players only get better when they play better ones, and Brentford showed in spells that they’re slick enough, and cute enough, to cut a swathe through even the best sides in the division.
There were no weak links, but as the season rolls on there will inevitably be emotional and physical fatigue and our squad depth will be tested – no doubt the January window will assume greater importance than usual.
But as Thomas said afterwards, this is a squad that no longer surprises him… his players just continue to impress him week after week.
Sergi Canos showing he can put in a great shift at right back and forcing Adama Traore to switch to the other flank… where Mads Roerslev also had him in his pocket.
Shandon Baptiste channelling the spirit of Josh DaSilva to become the turnover king. Never a first yellow (in my eyes at least) but it gave the defence a chance to shine for the final 20.
Shandon’s post-match Twitter apology was swiftly kicked into touch by the skipper Pontus, who insisted “this is what strong teams do… cover for each other”.
Small signs here and there that individually, and as a unit, Brentford are acclimatising.
Ivan, with nowhere to go 10 minutes from the end, dinking the ball between two defenders and nipping between them, his flick-ons and link up play with Bryan right out of the centre forward textbook.
Vitaly and Christian the engine room, taking the knocks and getting up to respond with panache, technique and physicality – more than a match for some of the household names they’ve faced to date.
Room For Improvement
Bryan, a player who has another 30% still to grow into – always in the right place, always intelligent with his movement and still yet to fine-tune his finishing. At 22, it’s only a matter of time before the French national team come calling.
Awaydays don’t get much better, especially when they end with Wolves fans stopping you in the street and on the train home to confirm that the better side won.
Of course, they weren’t happy with some of the rhythm-breaking ‘housery but, let’s face it, we’ve had it done to us enough so maybe the ‘do what’s needed to get the job done’ is just payback.
The Bees fans sang for pretty much the whole 90 minutes, and brought this response from the Wolves group I spoke to on the train home: “You were louder than Spurs and Man Utd…proper fans and you were the better side”. Not bad for a Bus Stop in Hounslow.
At Wolves, for the first time, I saw very real signs that Brentford’s squad are coming of age at this level with the passing and sharpness of thought already vital milliseconds quicker than in the opening handful of games.
Every game so far has been a relentless, powerhouse affair, with total concentration needed for the entire 90-plus minutes – switch off and you’re doomed.
Next weeks sees the first MASSIVE test, with Jurgen Klopp and Co. coming to West London, but it’s a game that every Bees player and fan will be relishing.
It’s also a free-hit, one of those games where no one expects anything… but with this Brentford side you just never know. Bring it on… COME ON YOU BEES!