Chelsea 4-0 Brentford
Ever since we beat Eastleigh in the previous round and were drawn with our illustrious neighbours for a second FA Cup meeting in 4 years, I have been telling everyone I meet that the games against Villa and Brighton, in the coming week, were both bigger games for us this season. Therefore,am I disappointed with the result at Stamford Bridge yesterday? In a word no…However, the level of performance and overall character displayed by the side left a lot to be desired and I genuinely didn’t expect us to lay down and be totally walked over like we were for long periods of the game.
This type of game should be all about going toe to toe with our superior opponents. We are not able to compete with their control and finesse on the ball BUT we can get stuck into them and deny them both time and space to showcase these skills. We did neither for about 75 minutes of the game and as a consequence found ourselves chasing shadows after just 21 minutes, having already conceded twice and looking like they may have done an “Eastleigh” on us before half time.
To the teams credit, they came out in the second period and started playing like we have done in fleeting moments this season. We actually competed and got right in the faces of a strong but albeit much changed Chelsea line up. Surprise, surprise Les Bleu didn’t like it up them! In my opinion, that first 10 minutes of the second period was the time to take a gamble and throw on the big guns, Jota and Hogan. Mind you, what they were doing on the bench from the start is anyone’s guess…For all Smith’s talk last week of making changes to personnel, due to playing badly at Wigan, the single change was the benching of the impressive Field for the improving Barbet.
I think it’s worth noting, in terms of fairness, we are a very young side. I was looking at the ages of the starting line up and apart from the Danes Bjelland and Vibe the rest were all 25 years old or younger.We have been missing the experience of a McCormack type figure and have been all season.
In losing heavily yesterday we became the 10th successive victim to be beaten at the Bridge this season, looked at in perspective nothing to be ashamed about.
Football isn’t about stats though really is it? (Sorry MB) it’s about players and blood and guts…We will have to step it up in the next month or so as we have some very tough game to come.
As for the remainder of the transfer window…Who knows? If I was in Hogan’s shoes, I would forget about leaving by Tuesday, knuckle down and deliver on your promise to knock in 30 goals this season and in doing so your stock will rise so you can get an even bigger signing on fee in the summer and we can get £20m + for you!!
For those of you not able to get to the home match against Villa on Tuesday evening, please tune into Bees Player. I am pleased to announce that Mark Burridge will be interviewing yours truly in the half time break.
As always, thanks for reading and please check out all my blogs at www.bias.org.uk
Button 6: More and more questions being asked of him, Needs to come up with a few answers…
Colin 7: Reasonable game, didn’t seem overawed by occasion,
Barbet 6: got into some good advance positions but didn’t deliver the killer ball. A bit shaky defending.
Dean 6: Just came up short against good, mobile front line, manfully defended though.
Bjelland 5: Exposed for pace, or lack of it, an uncomfortable game for him.
Egan 6: Steep learning curve, but overall stood up well. Has a bright future.
McEachran 8: Our best player, didn’t look out of place with classy opposition in close attendance. Quality.
Woods 6: He looked a little lost out there, not effective and not quite at pace of game. Has to be better in upcoming contests.
Nico 7: Had a tough afternoon but kept battling and played with a spirit sadly lacking in dome others.
Sawyers 5: Confidence seemed non existent from the off. Poor touch, no work rate and little threat going forward. Needs to be taken out of the firing line and soon.
Vibe 6: Ran the channels, no real support from Sayers, ploughed a lone furrow and not going to win those battles up front I’m afraid.
Hogan, Jota & KK (all 6) The game was over, our bright spell had come and gone, no influence on the game at all.