Brentford 3-0 Aston Villa
What a transformation! Just 72 hours after wimping out of the FA Cup the real Brentford showed up at Griffin Park determined to banish all negative thoughts of Saturdays’ capitulation.
With Scott Hogan travelling in the opposite direction to his new team mates, on his way for a medical at Villa Park, the ex-premier league outfit took to the pitch in good shape, and playing better, recently at least, under the guidance of the vastly experienced Steve Bruce.
I remember a stat I heard prior to the reverse fixture in September, it’s stated that Aston Villa spent more money in the summer transfer window, prior to this season, than Brentford had spent in their entire history…Jaw dropping!
I suppose if you count Hogan c.£12m, Kodjia c.£11m and McCormack c.£11m and various others at between £5/8m, it would appear an unfair playing field. However, as I have alluded to so many times previously, it’s about spirit, desire and a willingness to go the extra mile for your team mates.
Last night at a very wet but supercharged GP we were given a masterclass in what can be achieved when these attributes are utilised.
Villa began the brighter of these two mid table sides, planting long balls straight up the middle for the dangerous looking Kodjia to run onto. Apart from one early chance which he should have put away the towering Harlee Dean kept him very much in his pocket for the remainder of the game.
The defensive stability seemed to course through to the midfield and forward areas as a new found self belief started to produce tangible returns. Firstly the very impressive Florian Jozefzoon, making his debut on the wing, having signed for an initial 6 month stay in West London, tore into the Villa rearguard and created openings for others.”Flo-Jo” soon had the crowd on his side with his desire to track back and close their defenders down. It wasn’t long before a lovely Brentford move culminated in Lasse Vibe opening the scoring with a well taken goal on 25 mins. 1-0
The hard working Nico Yanneris popped up with a simple second goal before the interval. 2-0
On the other side, the mesmeric Jota, starting his first game for the Bees in 17 months, showed us what we had so badly missed. A performance right out of the top drawer in which he showcased his prodigious skills and work ethic to the full. The only thing missing was a goal but how close did he come a minute before half time? The ball was stuck to his left foot as he passed defender after defender with consummate ease before rifling a pile driver that had the keeper beaten but not the top of the bar. HT 2-0
I was very honoured to be invited onto the New Road gantry during the break, courtesy of the excellent Mark Burridge and Dave Morley of Bees player fame. It was a pleasure to be interviewed by them and to share my passion for the club.
The second half started amidst pouring rain but it seemed to help the Bees as they played with terrific speed and skill and really zipped the ball about. The excellent Josh McEachran, improving rapidly with each game, pinpointed a pass into Vibe’s stride and he finished coolly to stick a third past the Villa keeper. 3-0
There was time for Josh Clark, KK and a brief cameo from Alan Mac to show us what we had missed, as they played their part as second half subs.
Without doubt the best team performance of the season and it leaves you scratching your head as to why we can’t play at this intensity from week to week.
Dean Smith proved here he can clearly manage but what is stopping us being more consistent? Formation. Personnel, coaching or game management…In all honesty it’s probably a little bit of each.
With the dreaded window now closed on Transfers, let’s build on the performance of last night, get some unity back within the team and coaching staff and push on to the end of the season. The nucleus of a good squad is there.
Bentley 7: Confident throughout, kicking satisfactory and little to do.
Colin 7: Held his position well in a back four rather than five, pushed on intelligently.
Field 8: Very neat for the most part, one or two little errors of judgement but overall very good indeed, lovely left foot.
Bjelland 7: Dominant in the air and super strong in a one-on-one challenge, if only he was jet heeled he would be a world beater…
Dean 9: Yes Harlee!! this is the performance level you need to achieve and if you do you can still be a top defender. One of his best, if not best game for the club.
Nico 7: His usual tigerish self but played a wee bit further forward and scored a well deserved goal for his recent efforts.
Woods 7: Gave a good all round impression of a central midfielder, tough tacking, good use of the ball, awareness of where others were but without producing anything spectacular last night.
McEachran 9: He is now turning in performances we had hoped he would produce after his big money move from Chelsea. Sheer class and what an eye for the pass that set up Vibe.
Florian Jozefzoon 8: The flying Dutchman made a breathtaking debut. Great pace and balance, good skills not afraid to get stuck in. Looking forward to seeing more of this energetic winger.
Jota 9: It’s really hard to know how he can get any better… his starting point is way up there above most players. He is truly a class act. His little dance down the right wing and the ability to beat his man with ease is sheer magic. Should be first name on the team sheet next Sunday and every game thereafter…
VIBE 9: (MOM) After a really tough start to the season and with all the Hogan nonsense ringing in his ears not to mention possible replacements, he kept his nerve, knuckled down and took his chances really well. Good Pro and getting back to his best.
Clarke for FLO-Jo 7: Nice little injection of pace and skill, gave a tiring Villa defence more to think about.
KK for Nico 7: Played his part in seeing out the game, good burst of energy.
Alan Mac for McEeacran 7: Good to see Macca back on the pitch, albeit for only 4 minutes, only surprise was a lack of a yellow…
Smith 8: Credit where creedits due, he mixed it up and turned it around from Saturday. Has the ability to manage at this level but only when he’s prepared to try new things. Fair play for starting Jota and dropping Sawyers, it was needed and he recognised that. Keep it up Smithy.
Thanks again for taking the time to read this.