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Well ok, they sometimes say that the stats never lie, but in football, they can. Beesotted’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Dan Suh, had hopefully predicted a 1-1 draw against Rotherham, but as he said (to cover his arse) “have an off-day and we could be facing a long drive home without any points”, and the lads went and had an off-day.  

It’s quite rare that Brentford have off-days, so a bad day at the office against a team as good as Rotherham is unlikely to cause panic.  However, it makes the Oldham game even more important, as if we fail to win this one and the other promotion contenders win around us, it will pile on serious pressure on the lads for the Sheff Utd game.

Stats just cannot account for things like penalties, red cards, injuries, and so on.  But, again, on paper, we can identify a few signs where we can be hopeful of a result.  Make no bones about it, Oldham gave us a decent game at our place in December.  They played some lovely football and I think most Bees fans were surprised at their lowly league position.  It took an injury-time winner from Dougie to get the much-needed 3 points.

Looking at the stats, Oldham seem to continue to be a hard-working team, but seem to lack the finesse in front of goal.  It has only been 2 occasions since November, where Oldham have scored more than 1 goal in a game.  However, in this same period, only Rotherham, Preston and Wolves have beaten them by more than 1 goal.

With Oldham only scoring 8 goals in their last 8 games, but conceding 11, this correlates with the numbers of shots on goal that they have had.  They have averaged 10 chances per game, with 4.75 shots on target.  They have allowed 13.13 chances against them, allowing 5.5 shots on target.  Comparing their stats to ours, and we average 13.63 chances per game, with 5 on target, and 11 goals.  This means 27.5% on target result in a goal.  Oldham have 21% of their shots on goal converted into a goal.

We have, by and large, a meaner defence, especially so when we play Tarkowski.  He has yet to have played in a game where we concede a goal.  Possession wise, we are likely to get a lot of the ball (again), but it’s what we do with it that will count the most.

Brentford, interestingly enough, have tended to score quite a few of our away goals in the first half hour of an away game, and in the last half hour.  The middle third of a game, especially in the run up to half-time, has seen us concede the largest number of goals.  This suggests to me, that opposition struggle to work us out at first, then work us out, but then we tend to finish quite strongly.

Oldham, on the other hand, tend to concede a fair few goals in the opening 30 minutes of a game.  They seem quite strong, attacking-wise, on scoring a few just after the break.  But, all the stats point back towards Oldham’s vulnerability in defence, where they have the unfortunate position of having the 2nd lowest number of clean sheets in the division (only 6 this season), whereas we have the 2nd highest, currently at 15.

So, to summarise, Oldham have a dangerous attack, but fail to convert many of their chances.  They are likely to score one goal, but that’s about it and their defence seem unable to keep clean sheets.  Having said all this though, if we have another “off-day” or something else goes wrong, then let’s hope that everyone else loses around us too!

Dan Suh