Brentford 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0

Date: Friday 26th June 2020 Live on Sky SportsBehind Closed Doors
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Raya, Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry, Marcondes (Baptiste, 70), Nørgaard, Dasilva (Mokotjo, 83), Fosu (Mbeumo, 70), Watkins, Benrahma
Unused subs: Daniels, Valencia, Dervisoglu, Jeanvier, Rasmussen
(4-2-3-1) Johnstone 5.9, Furlong 5.3, Ajayi 5.9, Hegazi 6.1, Gibbs 5.4, Sawyers 5.0, Livermore 4.2 (Harper, 66 3.7), Phillips 3.5 (Krovinovic, 46 5.2), Pereira 6.1 (Edwards, 90 3.5), Diangana 5.0 (Robinson, 79 3.8), Robson-Kanu 4.1 (Zohore, 46 4.2)
Unused subs: Bond, Bartley, Austin, O'Shea
Manager: Slaven Bilic 4.6
Scorers: Watkins (16)
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 5.4
Attendance: 0

Ancient Baggie:

Hope everyone's fit and well. Not a great start after the break but unfortunately I think the writing's been on the wall for a while. We are looking really ineffective in the last third. Keeping the ball well enough but no penetration. Slav is juggling the pack up front but none of his options are good enough. We're top of the league and haven't got a player in the top 20 leading scorers. We played well enough to get something tonight but you have to score goals. Perhaps a change in formation is needed?

I'm keeping the faith and hopefully we'll have enough to get over the line but if we do go up I fear unless we find a magic money tree to buy at least 2 strikers it's likely to be another short stay.



Chris Hughton made a telling observation: 'Albion have so many quality players they feel they don't have to play their best to win.'

Trouble is, against perhaps the best team in the league, we didn't win. And we didn't do anywhere near enough to deserve a win. As Ancient Baggie says, the goal scoring problem stretches back before the lockdown. Slavan needs to light a fire under the lads. I don't get a sense there is any urgency. Livermore epitomizes the general lack of intensity. If we end up in the play offs against Brentford I don't fancy our chances.

Brendan Clegg:

Oh. Oh! Oh, that was so disappointing.

For the fourth game in a row we failed to score and, truth be told, didn’t look like scoring. And I think that has to come down to the manager and coaches. We may not have a standout striker but across this squad there should be enough there to create more than we are in what is a poor league.

The team picked looked decent enough and we had an encouraging opening 10 minutes where we looked capable of causing them problems, Diangana getting a nutmeg in but then his cross sailing over.

But that was it. Brentford took control and their passing and movement was better than ours. They played at a high intensity and too many of our players didn’t track runners. Their goal was an example- in my view Sawyers got caught ball watching, doubling up but neither doing enough to block the cross or tracking the man and that allowed a cross behind our defence in the 6 yard box and a tap in.

We rallied a bit but Brentford looked more threatening, getting runners goal side of Sawyers too often and hitting long passes into feet to scamper up the pitch.

We couldn’t get a foothold in it. Our passing, starting with the keeper, wasn’t good enough and we seemed to rigid. HRK couldn’t get hold of anything, our other forward players weren’t sharp enough. Pereira spent too much time rolling around on the floor, in one instance costing us a man as Diagana led our best break of the half.

I’d have gone 4-4-2 after half time for 15 minutes with Robinson on for Phillips and put Pereira wide right, but I think we went sort of 4-3-3 with Zohore as the central striker and Krovi on the left.

We dominated the opening 20 with Ken hitting the bar and us forcing pressure but once again our final 3rd play was too slow and ponderous and we didn’t really get decent crosses in from good opportunities to do so.

After the water break I thought Brentford got back on top for the rest of the game and we didn’t look like scoring - they adjusted by staying much wider than our 4-3-3 and kept the ball away from us.

Overall the better team won but there wasn’t much in it and neither keeper was too busy. We still looked okay enough defensively but lacked any cohesion up front. We don’t have a standout option but I think we have to try starting Robinson there and although I’m generally a fan of 4-2-3-1 we have to have a bolder plan B that we adopt earlier when it isn’t working.

  • SJ - 5 I got really annoyed with his kicking. Didn’t seem to start anything for us.
  • Furlong - 6 I don’t think he did that badly against one of the league’s best, and he never stopped running.
  • Ajayi - 6 Generally did okay defensively.
  • Hegazi - 6 Won most things, could possibly have been stronger for the goal but by then it was 4 yards out of an open goal.
  • Gibbs - 6 Looked comfortable but perhaps playing within himself to avoid injury. Another game where he had chances to cross and didn’t.
  • Sawyers - 5 Had some decent spells but allowed runners off him too often.
  • Livermore - 5 Looked a bit lost again. Lots of effort but not really knowing where to be or what to do.
  • Phillips - 4 Hasn’t really started yet. One who should be a goal threat but keeps playing safety football.
  • Pereira - 5 For all his quality there has been little end product recently and he needs to cut the play acting now, doesn’t help us at all.
  • Diangana - 6 Did look to have a spark and needed us to supply him more.
  • HRK - 4 Tried flicks too often when we just needed it to be held up. Our passing didn’t help.
  • Zohore - 5 One decent effort but he looked gassed after 10 minutes.
  • Krovi - 5 Gave us a bit more control of the ball for a bit but got lost after that on the left and set plays were absolutely terrible.

Robinson and Edwards weren’t on long enough.

Next game is as much ‘must score’ as it is ‘must win’.