Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’s win at St. Mary’s.
Brentford unsurprisingly lined up in a 4-3-3 with the usual suspects at the back and in midfield. The surprise start for Schade excited Bees fans and Thomas Frank had clear plans to get him involved early. Janelt’s injury near the end of the first half forced a change, but Onyeka’s return to fitness provided Thomas Frank the balance he was looking for.
Southampton came out in their normal 4-2-3-1 with Ward-Prowse being the anchor. Southampton looked for Che Adams up top, with Elyounoussi and Sulemana on the wings. Southampton used much different tactics than Everton, which played into Brentford’s strengths.
Possession: Southampton 66% – 34% Brentford
xG: Southampton 0.52 – 1.88 Brentford
xGOT: Southampton 0.00 – 1.94 Brentford
Other Brentford stats:
Total Shots: 11
Aerial duels won: 24 (59%)
Accurate long balls: 23 (38%)
Brentford continued with their direct style seen against Everton, but used a very fluid front 3 to start the match. Schade was targeted early and Brentford looked to utilize his pace. A few clever corner kick routines finally put the Bees up in the first half.
Southampton struggled to break down Brentford’s defence. Even with some opportunities to counter, Southampton did not record a shot on target. They only created 0.13 xG in the first half compared to Brentford’s 1.28. Brentford took their foot off the gas and decided to hold onto the lead, but still ended up scoring late to put the game away.
Brentford allowed Ward-Prowse time on the ball for long passes, but cut out passing lanes for short options in a mid block. While this may see risky, Brentford were giving up the low chance options rather than dangerous areas in the midfield. This effectively seemed to pay off with Ward-Prowse only completing 1 out of 8 long balls. Ward-Prowse had excellent passing statistics for his short and medium passing, so Thomas Frank clearly had the correct tactics here.
Brentford dominated the air with Ben Mee and Pinnock winning 11 aerial duels between them. Pinnock was 6 for 6 on aerial duels won while Ben Mee excelled at playing passes into the final third. Brentford’s centerbacks also did well pressing when needed with Nørgaard seemingly always in the right position to provide cover.
Brentford switched to their 3-5-2 formation at the end which solidified the defence and led to a classic late Wissa goal at the end. Brentford look ahead to Leicester at the Gtech this weekend. Leicester coming off four losses will be looking to keep themselves out of the relegation zone, while Brentford hope for a European tour (or the Premier League Trophy if you ask Ivan Toney).