I’m being facetious of course. I don’t think for one minute that this is going to be easy.
I took the trouble to listen to Dean Smith’s presser today.
I don’t normally bother, as for some reason I’ve always preferred the printed word. But whatever, I did find it interesting and very informative.
First, it is noticable that Smith has genuine respect for Brentford, it’s owner and it’s staff and especially Thomas Frank. Frank has done well in getting Brentford promoted and Smith sung his praises, saying he has a good exuberant character, as well as just being a good tactitian and a really good coach.
I’m certainly not going to take anything away from Frank, but I do wonder how much of their recent success is more down to the staff doing the hard work behind the scenes? After all, they barely seemed to miss Smith when he left and things carried on pretty much as normal.
You can’t be a poor manager/coach if your club gets promoted to the Premier league though, so I’ll just leave that there.
Smith saved me some work, in that he explained that Brentford haven’t changed in the way they play since being promoted. They’re defensively solid, well organised and carry plenty of threat with Ivan Toney in particular.
So they aren’t going to be a pushover and have started the season pretty well, having beaten Arsenal (which made me laugh) and got a very decent point at Palace.
I would however think things will balance out over the season and while I actually hope they don’t go down, I think they will struggle.
It’s early days though and we know we had a poor pre-season, so we’re basically still gaining fitness.
Smith said he expects us to improve, particularly with the players we have due to come back and he does have a point.
Which leads nicely to squad news, where Watkins was due to train today and if he was okay, he’d be available. He’ll only get minutes at best then, in my opinion.
Bailey and Traore won’t be available, but should be ok to be selected after the dreaded international break. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword this break, in that they’ll be able to gain fitness without missing games. I just hate international breaks.
Sanson is training, but he’s had no match time, so he’s apparently going to play a couple of games this week. But he won’t be anywhere near the first team, you’d have to assume. I actually wonder if Smith rates him and while the Frenchman has had a torrid time, I do remember an article that suggested he’s a troublemaker. So much so that two agents dropped him. We know the manager can seemingly take a strong dislike to certain players and my guess is that Sanson will be one of those. No doubt we’ll see.
Keinan Davis is having his brace off tomorrow, so he’s a month away from even starting training. I predict a January loan for him, given that Smith thinks we’re okay with Bailey and Traore being able to play up front, if needed.
Which leaves Wesley, who’s had a medical at Brugges. I’m not sure if there is a clause to buy there, but I suspect Smith will be hoping there is and the Belgians take the option.
Smith’s comments on the Barrow game were interesting too.
People have apparently been on the phone asking about Cameron Archer.
I saw an article last night, which suggested that Walsall should take the lad on loan. I think that’s a great idea, but having listened to a few of their games, they don’t sound a very good side and they might not be the right sort of place. Still, I’d be happy to help Walsall out, as would Smith, but he was very non-comittal and hinted that the striker would stay involved with the first team squad.
Smith spoke highly about El Ghazi’s goal contribution last year and while that seems to suggest he wants to keep the wingman, I wasn’t at all convinced that he wouldn’t let him go. If Roma are happy to cough up a rumoured £15 million, I’d snap their hands off, but I don’t believe that figure in the slightest, if they have any interest at all. If they’re only going to hand over say, £10 million, I’d rather keep him as a squad player.
Likewise with Weston McKennie. Smith sort of poured cold water on us having any interest in him, but he could easily have flat out denied that. He quite simply didn’t so I assume we do.
Prediction time then and I’m struggling to call it.
Part of me sees a few goals, because both sides know how to score. But then both sides are pretty good defensively too.
Brentford are pretty good at setpieces and that’s something we’ll have to be aware of. Austin Macphee, who I’m relieved to see has NOT left the club, as I wrongly stated previously, will be well aware of that though and hopefully have the lads well drilled. I’m already seriously appreciative of what he brings to the table.
I think we’ll have enough to beat Brentford on our own turf, with what should be another full house.
A 2-1 Villa win.
Up the Villa!