Beesotted contributor, PA & former Middx Chronicle reporter and eternal pessimist Jim Levack sees a lot of positives in the Bees’ unbeaten start to the season … But the Bees have to react quickly to their obvious shortcomings
I’ve always had something of what I believe to be an undeserved reputation for pessimism when it comes to all things Brentford.
I think it may be a genetically created and almost primal defence mechanism to deal with adversity… the group of friends I go to games with just reckon I’m a miserable git!
I prefer to think of myself as brutally realistic, so while many left Griffin Park yesterday with a spring in their step at the first Championship point garnered I analysed the negatives.
There weren’t many, largely because Charlton – on that evidence – won’t be pressing for the play offs.
But they still did enough to give Brentford a very early reminder, if any were needed, that the margins are that much tighter in the second flight.
Two down in League One, you always had the feeling that a fightback was feasible. Had Charlton added to their soft opener as they should have done, you felt the game would have been up.
Less time to play the new Brentford way, more physicality that refs appear to be letting go and quality shooting from range were the notable differences.
Tommy Smith showed with a quick nudge of the ball to find a yard, just how important experience will be in the months ahead if allied to the undoubted young talent Mark Warburton has at his disposal.
But whatever character Brentford showed in salvaging what was ultimately a richly deserved point would have been immaterial against a better side.
Pessimistic? No realistic.
Maybe it was useful that we eased our way into the campaign against a side who will be floating around the 17th or 18th position
Maybe it was good that we got a first marker on the board without really playing like we all know we can.
And maybe it was an added bonus that we survived a last 15 minutes – thanks to the equaliser – where we looked a little leggy as if the build-up had all been too much for our prodigious young stars.
But here is where I’m going to get shot down in flames. In my view we still need a marquee striker, a name capable of giving us real quality in and around the box.
I was impressed with Andre Gray, who showed good touches and strength. Instants like the second half where he waited for the ball will be a brief legacy of the Conference for a few games.
Smith and Proschwitz showed the kind of quality we will need to unlock defences far stronger than the tight Bikey and Ben Haim partnership. But it still isn’t quite enough at this level.
The midfield ticked over nicely, with Pritchard a huge plus, but as the second half started they became detached as a unit from lone striker Gray.
The goal against was another negative and watched again on the wonderful extended highlights, didn’t get any easier to take with each viewing.
It will take a few games to bed in to the new demands of a markedly better league – arguably the toughest in the world – but that is, sadly, a luxury, and Brentford have to learn fast.
I am certain they will because on the first game showing those curious Championship viewers catching their first TV glimpse of the Bees won’t have seen anything yet.
A sound, promising start but Brentford now need to learn how to play the pass and move game that won them so many plaudits last season at a whole new level, with less time… and fast.
It will be tough, but next Saturday’s trip to first day league leaders Bournemouth should set down a useful marker for the first 10 games of the season.
I predict a win by the odd goal. Who said I was negative?