Beesotted contributor, Daniel Vine, suggests that we don’t currently have the right wide-men in the squad to be playing one man up front effectively, so should Dean Smith be considering playing two up top? Or should we be sticking to our principles?

It’s been a couple of years since my last contribution to Beesotted, but after the result against RovRum I felt that I needed to get something off my chest that I just couldn’t fit into 140 characters on Twitter.

As I write this, we currently sit in sixth position after four games, which is impressive, but also frustrating, because we’ve controlled every game for large parts and could be top. But my concern is our formation.

While 4-2-3-1 has served us well over the last few years, we’ve had the players capable of playing in the wide areas – Jota, Pritchard, Dallas, Canos, Odubajo etc. We haven’t got those players now, so it feels like we’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. We’re playing the likes of Josh Clarke and Sam Saunders purely because they can play on the wing, or playing Sawyers or Macleod out of position and they are therefore less effectual.

They are both central players, players that can open a defence when played in the position where they feel most comfortable. Ok, this is nothing new – I’ll take you back to the days when we played Marcus Bent on one wing and Nicky Forster on the other before they were sold to a higher level and subsequently shone for their new clubs in their favoured central role.

As it stands, we have four unbelievably talented centre backs in Bjelland, Barbet, Dean and Egan that are fighting for two positions and we have Woods, Macleod, Sawyers, McEachran, Yennaris, Kerschbaumer, McCormack and Judge (coming back soon hopefully), all fighting for the three central positions of two defensive midfielders and one number ten. We don’t have any wingers on our books (although we loaned out Gogia) yet we still insist on playing this formation.

Ted Knutson recently released a graphic showing a comparison between Andre Gray and Lasse Vibe and they were almost identical, so why are we playing someone with the same stats as a centre forward that helped us into the playoffs on the wing? Alongside Scotty Hogan, Vibe could be absolutely unreal and they are capable of getting 50 goals between them.

If you look back over the last few years, the most successful Championship teams have had two strikers – Watford had Deeney and Ighalo, Burnley had Gray and Vokes etc.

If we can bring in two wingers with the quality of Jota or Canos or Pritchard then by all means, 4-2-3-1 would suit us well, but at the moment we haven’t got anyone that is capable of playing on the wing to the standard we need.

In my opinion, we need to switch to a 5-3-2 formation – Wales proved at the Euro’s that you don’t need wingers to be successful, Bale played at number 10 and very rarely moved out to the wing. We could learn a lot from how they lined up. Three strong central defenders, two wing-backs, a defensive midfielder, a playmaker, a number ten and two strikers.

The width is given from Colin (who is brilliant going forward) and Elder, who by all accounts is a very promising player. You’ve got three strong central defenders whoever you choose from our four, Woods is your defensive midfielder, Macleod is your playmaker, Sawyers is your number tenand you’ve got Hogan and Vibe upfront. Call me crazy but I think that team could win the league, especially when you add Nico or Judgey to the over all equation.

I’ve mentioned this on Twitter before, and while many agree with me, some have said that it’s not Dean Smith’s preferred style of play, but if I haven’t got the tools to do it that way at this precise moment, then you have to find another way.

Overall I’m more than happy with how things are being run, we’re in a much more stable position than we were this time last year and we’ll improve on last year’s finish.

I never even thought Brentford and the Premiership would even be mentioned in the same sentence when I first started supporting the club, I don’t pretend to be a genius on the subject, and maybe I’ve set my expectations too high, but if a simpleton like myself is asking these questions, why isn’t someone at the club asking the same thing?

Up the Bees,

Daniel Vine
@vineybee