Tag Archives: Brentford

Brentford goalkeeper David Raya ruled out for five months with knee injury

Brentford’s survival hopes have been dealt a huge blow after goalkeeper David Raya was ruled out for five months with a knee injury.

The Spaniard was hurt in a collision with Leicester City forward Ayoze Perez during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat against the Foxes.

The goalkeeper was able to finish the game as James Maddison scored a late winner at the Brentford Community Stadium but the club have now confirmed he will be out of action for a while.



In a statement released by the club on Tuesday evening, the club confirmed the 26-year-old suffered the injury as he rushed at the feet of Perez late on to make a save.

The club’s head of medical Neil Greig said of the injury;

“David has unfortunately sustained an injury to the Posterior Cruciate Ligament in his left knee. The issue will require a prolonged period of time to heal and for David to then regain function and strength around the joint.

Ayoze Perez of Leicester City collides with David Raya of Brentford during the Premier League match between Brentford and Leicester City at Brentford...

“Positively, this type of injury usually heals well without the need for surgery. David has already begun using a brace specifically designed to aid this process. We anticipate the recovery period for an injury like this to be somewhere between four and five months, which will enable David to be back to his previous high levels well before the end of the season.”

Raya had been enjoying a fine start to the campaign, conceding just nine goals in the first nine games of the season as a newly promoted side as Brentford earned three wins and three draws from those games. He kept three clean sheets also.

Brentford currently sit in 12th place in the Premier League in their first season in England’s top flight.

Premier League 2021/22 opening day fixtures released

The Premier League returns on August 14th 2021 and the fixtures for the opening weekend have been released, including an absolute banger of a start for the champions.

Manchester City will travel to Tottenham Hotspur in their first game of the season, meaning a potential transfer for Harry Kane could be a nightmare debut against his former club.

City won the Premier League by 12 points last season to claim their third league title in four years under Pep Guardiola and will be hoping that with some investment to the squad this summer that they’ll be at the top end of the table once again come May 2022.

Last season’s runners-up also have a tasty game to start the season with, as Manchester United will host Leeds United in a Rose derby at Old Trafford too.

The sides met in the league for the first time in 16 years last season, with the Reds winning 6-2 at home before a stale 0-0 draw at Elland Road, but there were no fans in attendance so this will be a great way to welcome them back to the stands.

Newly promoted Brentford will welcome London rivals Arsenal to their new stadium in their first ever Premier League game, while Norwich City will take on Liverpool in a repeat from the opening day fixture two seasons ago when the Canaries were last promoted.

Chelsea will host Crystal Palace in yet another London derby, where the Eagles will be playing their first game since manager Roy Hodgson left the club at the end of last season.

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester side will look to put the disappointment of finishing outside of the top four behind them when they take on Bruno Lage’s Wolves side on the opening day at the King Power Stadium, while ex-Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez will be in charge of Everton when they take on Southampton at Goodison Park.

Newly promoted Watford will welcome Aston Villa to Vicarage Road, while David Moyes’ Europa League-playing West Ham side will travel up north to take on Newcastle United. Burnley will play Brighton in the final game.

Dates of the games will be rescheduled depending on television viewings, although the exact date for the changes is unknown at the moment. Kick-off times will also change depending on television selections too.

With the national ‘Freedom Day’ expected to take place on July 19th, all games should be able to host a full capacity crowd on the opening day of the season although that is not official yet either. Games are currently scheduled for the weekend of August 14th 2021.

FULL OPENING DAY FIXTURE LIST

Brentford v Arsenal
Burnley v Brighton
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Everton v Southampton
Leicester City v Wolverhampton
Manchester United v Leeds United
Newcastle United v West Ham United
Norwich City v Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City
Watford v Aston Villa

Said Benrahma: What’s His Best Move?

Even though the transfer window closed for Europe last week, Said Benrahma is still hopeful of a move this summer.

The Brentford winger was in inspired form last season as he led the West London side to the playoff final, where they were beaten by Fulham. He was linked with a move away all summer, but as the season began he was still a member of the Bees’ squad.

He didn’t feature for the team at first, with links to the likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham, Fulham and Aston Villa continuing but when he did return to the side he reminded everyone of his quality with a stunning solo goal against Fulham in the Carabao Cup.

A move to West Ham was reportedly close after the two clubs agreed a fee of around £25million but reports on Monday claim the deal could be close to falling through over personal terms. West Ham are set to move on to Josh King now, so what is Benrahma’s next move? Better yet, what is his best move?

The Algerian is clearly too good to be playing Championship football at this point in his career. A Premier League move at this point is definitely needed, with several interested parties.

Fulham are in desperate need of a player of his quality. A natural talent with an eye for goal and a quality of pass is hard to come by and Fulham have struggled massively so far in the Premier League for any kind of attacking threat. With Aleksandar Mitrovic up front, they have a proven goalscorer but without service he is rendered completely useless. For Benrahma though, Fulham isn’t a great move. They are likely to go straight back down to the Championship because the defensive issues haven’t been sorted during the window and the manager isn’t showing any signs of ability to improve the situation. With Parker just signing a new contract too, it’s highly unlikely that he leaves mid-season and therefore more likely Fulham go straight down.

Aston Villa is another tough move for Benrahma. With captain and talisman Jack Grealish occupying that left wing role, Benrahma’s role would likely become as more of an option. With Ross Barkley also joining on loan, the likelihood of Villa boss Dean Smith changing his formation to get Jack into a No.10 role is highly unlikely. While a link up with former teammate Ollie Watkins may be appealing, if he wants to push on to the next level he needs to be playing regularly and he likely wouldn’t be doing that at Villa Park.

Crystal Palace could potentially be his best option. With Wilfried Zaha, Michy Batshuayi and Eberechi Eze making up three quarters of the front-line, Benrahma could be the perfect shout to come in and take Andros Townsend’s position in the side. Zaha is naturally a left-winger but has often found himself playing as a striker in Roy Hodgson’s 4-4-2 formation and performing well. Eze has stepped into the left wing role but as a player who excels in a central role, whether he’s coming from the left or the right likely won’t matter too much to him. Bringing Benrahma into the side adds an extra goal threat and also takes some of the burden off of Zaha. He’d be playing in a side that is established in the Premier League, has space for him and with quality players that will help get the best out of each other.

At £25million, Benrahma is a deal that the majority of the Premier League should probably have taken a look at. As it stands though, it’s likely to be a London side that take him once again and he will have to work his way up the league table too.

Ollie Watkins Joins Aston Villa In Club Record £33M Deal

Aston Villa have completed their striker search after signing Brentford’s Ollie Watkins for a club record fee.

The 24 year old was one of Brentford’s best performers in the Championship last season as the West London side fell at the final hurdle, being beaten by Fulham in the playoff final. Watkins scored 26 goals in all competitions for the Bees last year in what was his first full season as a centre forward.

Flanked by Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo, Brentford formed a formidable attack that had it not been for a late season collapse would have seen them in the Premier League this season. But after failing to make the grade, they are now set to lose their best stars and Watkins is the biggest.

Aston Villa have agreed a fee with Brentford of an initial £28million, rising to £33million – a club record fee. The previous record was held by Brazilian striker Wesley who was signed just last summer from Club Brugge for £22million, but he scored just six goals in 22 games across all competitions. Villa also signed Mbwana Samatta in January from Genk for £8.5million but he scored just twice.

Dean Smith has prioritised the attack this summer and Watkins will be Villa’s second signing of the summer after Matty Cash signed from Nottingham Forest. The club are also interested in Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, while they also look set to keep hold of captain Jack Grealish with nobody willing to meet their £70million asking price.

After scraping survival last season, Villa need to improve in all areas of the pitch. Their midfield is good enough to be a decent side in the Premier League but defensively and going forward they got no support and thus struggled.

Watkins is a big piece of the jigsaw that will see Villa improve. His willingness to run in behind but also his strength off the ball to hold play up and get his teammates involved will surely boost the likes of Grealish and McGinn who make bursting runs from deeper and out wide. On top of that, he clearly knows where the back of the net is after his season last year. The Premier League is a different kettle of fish to the Championship, but Watkins has the attributes and age to be a success.

£33million is a huge price tag and if Watkins lets it affect him then he and Villa will suffer but realistically he will thrive on the pressure and could be the man to fire Aston Villa to safety in 2021 and potentially make a late push for the England squad in next summer’s European Championships.

Brentford Braced To Lose Stars Following Playoff Final Defeat

Brentford have braced themselves to lose their star players this summer following defeat to Fulham in the Playoff final.

After twice fluffing the opportunity to go into 2nd place and thus earn automatic promotion in the final week of the season, Brentford came from behind in their playoff semi-final against Swansea before Tuesday’s clash with Fulham.

But two goals in extra-time from full-back Joe Bryan were enough to see off the challenge of the Bees, despite a late consolation goal from Henrik Dalsgaard and secure promotion for Fulham back into the Premier League.

The defeat means Brentford will continue in the second division of English football but with the talents of their squad widely praised throughout the season they will now surely be under pressure from Premier League clubs to sell.

Reports suggest star striker Ollie Watkins has an £18million release clause and Premier League sides Southampton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are all keen to trigger it. Said Benrahma was the star of the season and has reportedly attracted interest from Chelsea while Josh DaSilva, Bryan Mbeumo and Christian Norgaard will all surely attract attention from other clubs too.

With the squad they built having cost around £30million and the new stadium now ready to move into without fans being at games for the forseeable future, Brentford may have no option but to cash in.

Brentford v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final : News Photo

Replacements will likely come from lower leagues and obscure countries much like they have in the past, with their stats model leading the way in their recruitment process for a while.

With the BMW partnership set to be broken up, Thomas Frank will not only have the task of replacing them but he will need to ensure he is given the time to rebuild and get back to a level where Brentford can compete at the top once again and potentially get back to a position where promotion is a real possibility.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thomas Frank targeted by a Premier League club next year if a club decides to part ways with their manager and go in the direction of exciting attacking football. Knowing he can work on a shoestring budget will be appealing but the fact that he will likely have some sort of money to work with will appeal to him and give encouragement to any club interested in his services.

It’s a big ask for Brentford now as they go into a season short on money, short on star quality and needing to bounce back from the biggest heartbreak in English football that is losing out in the Playoff finals.

How Would Brentford Cope In The Premier League?

As we progress into the final stretch of the 2019/20 season, the hopes of promotion start to become a reality for some teams.

One club with such ambitions is Brentford, who look the likeliest side to spoil Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion’s promotion parties. This being considered, I am going to explore how Brentford would cope tactically if they were to find themselves in the Premier League next season.

Brentford currently deploy a 4-3-3 formation and the Bees have been known since their promotion to the Championship in 2014 as one of the most entertaining sides in the division.

Brentford’s preferred starting line-up under Thomas Frank this season

However entertainment hasn’t always led to results. The difference in this Brentford team to sides in the past is the tactical shape and desire to defend that goes with all the fluid, forward thinking football.

David Raya, Pontus Jansson, Ethan Pinnock ,Christian Norgaard, Mathias Jensen and Bryan Mbeumo were all purchased in the summer of 2019 and make up over half of manager Thomas Frank’s preferred line-up.

40 games into the Championship season and Brentford have conceded just 33 goals, the best total they have managed since promotion to the Championship. This would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the clubs transfer business, having built a completely new and experienced defensive spine to the side.

All four players here are vital to how the team defend. David Raya is your typical sweeper keeper, good with his feet and quick off his line. The Spaniard allows Brentford to play a high line, keeping them compact as a unit while the energetic front-three press high.

Brentford’s defensive spine were all signed last summer

The centre-back partnership of Pinnock and Jansson has only allowed 9 goals to be scored against them in 16 matches. Frank would have liked the pair to have played with each other more often with stats like that, but Jansson being sidelined for months and Pinnock having a rough start to life at the club meant it wasn’t to be.

Pinnock and Jansson’s partnership stands very tall, both are 6ft 4′, giving Brentford a new ability to defend their own box when under pressure in games. Couple that with their desire to defend and Jansson’s leadership qualities as captain they’re very well equipped to keep the ball out of the net.

Christian Norgaard has perhaps been Brentford’s most important purchase and symbolises the difference between this side and those from previous campaigns.

Norgaard, who has worked under the manager before at Brondby, is a master in the art of breaking up opposition attacks. The Dane often sits at the base of the inverted midfield triangle and is vital to keeping the team’s shape. He then picks the right time to actively seek winning the ball back for Brentford before releasing the ball quickly to those more creative and attack-minded.

When Brentford start at an attack, they focus on pace and width.

On the ball, Brentford like to transition through the thirds with pace. Once Jansson or Pinnock pick up the ball the full backs will look to edge their way up the pitch, while Norgaard drops back in search of the ball from the centre backs.

Once Norgaard receives the ball this will trigger both Jensen and Da Silva to move out wide looking for space, which allows them to link up with the full back that Norgaard is often looking to find.

This transition allows Brentford to beat a high press by overloading the wider areas of the pitch.

Once in the attacking third of the pitch Frank likes his wingers to come inside at times and act as two Number 10’s, giving the midfield options to pass to them in the pocket of space between midfield and defence.

Benrahma and Mbeumo will then have the option of their full backs who are always looking to overlap and cut the ball back to the onrushing front three, or they could take a shot with the space they’ve been allowed. They also are able to bounce the ball off Ollie Watkins, who is always looking to play in small triangles with the other members of the forward line.

Brentford’s BMW (Benrahma, Mbeumo, Watkins) front three have scored 70% (49/70) of the West Londoner’s goals in the Championship this season. The deadly nature of Brentford as a team and the BMW is the ability to score goals in many different ways.

The front three, much like Liverpool’s, are happy to rotate to cause defenders confusion and create a goal in any way possible. Benrahma has taken the Championship by storm with his agility, dribbling and unbelievable range of skills, attracting interest from the Premier League in the process. Watkins has scored many goals within 12 yards and has the most headed goals in the Championship this season, while Bryan Mbeumo shows pace and a direct goal threat having accumulated 15 goals already in his first season in English football.

So, how will Brentford cope with Premier League football should they get there?

Brentford have a starting XI that could surprise a few in England’s top tier, the ability to score from set pieces (the most prolific in the Championship) , on the counter-attack and through possession based play means the Bees wont struggle to score goals.

Their new found defensive resilience gives them the potential to sit deep against higher quality opposition and then allow their prolific front three to pose their own threat. However, Brentford would need to improve on their strength in depth.

Frank has a plethora of young talent in his squad but they could struggle if relied on to play a considerable amount of minutes if injuries were to hit the squad.

In addition, it will be key that Brentford fans and the club as a whole adapt to expectations in a much tougher division.

The Bees are a team who play great football and often dominate possession committing many numbers forward. Against top opposition in the Premier League, Brentford may need to adapt their play in some areas to make sure they’re not vulnerable to the play of world class, clinical footballers. It is the job of the fans to understand this, accept possession may come at a premium against some sides and make their new home at Lionel Road a fortress.