Blues 1 – Brentford 0
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Plenty of positives as Blues started a second successive campaign with a one – nil win over a Brentford side who had more of the ball and more of the chances.
Organisation, something we’ve seen in most of the pre-season games, was the main positive. The whole side knew what they were meant to be doing, led by Karanka’s old boys, Friend and Clayton.
Karanka’s already tightened up the whole of the team, suggesting that we’ll be a side that is difficult to score against. And if we don’t concede there’s always a chance that we can win if we can conjure up a finish or two from a chance or two.
And that’s what we did, created a chance or two in the first half, mainly as a result of good work by the two wide men, Bela and Sanchez on promising debut, and bits of Toral reminiscent of his first stint with us.
We converted one of those chances when Brentford seemed to play to the non-existent rule that the shortest man on the pitch can’t score from a header from a corner – Bela heading home from Sanchez’ corner, which was won after good work from Sunjic.
That goal was one of a number of chances Blues had in the first half, the best of which saw Bela denied from distance by a good save from Daniels in the Brentford goal after an enterprising run out of defence by Friend.
But, to be fair, Brentford had their share of chances in the first half and totally dominated that area of the game in the second. Crossbars were rattled, shots whistled wide and there were a couple of smart saves from Jeacock, somewhat surprisingly making his debut after yesterday’s signing of Etheridge.
That selection, along with Toral over Crowley in the number 10 role, had seen our first Twitter post-selection storm of the season. The final result showed that Karanka maybe knows more about it than Gary from Stechford.
Twitter was also quick to jump on Dean’s back when he made his first mistake, but quietened down as the game progressed and Dean started to remind us what a strong, dominant centre back he can be when on form. You feel that he just needs to calm down a bit. Having Friend alongside him as an example will help. Dean is at his worst when he’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off. A bit more head and a bit less heart and Harlee Dean’s a better player.
Another player who’s been written off by some, Jukey, showed, contrary to what many though, how his style of play could fit into Karanka’s favoured 4 – 2 – 3 –1. Strength up top gives a focus for the attack and gives the more subtle players something to work off.
Second half was a backs against the wall job, Blues surviving due to bad finishing, resolute and organised defending from the whole team, and a bit of luck, something that has been missing for a long while as well.
Of course, there’s room for improvement. We showed virtually nothing going forward in the second half and we’ll need to if we’re to carry on winning, as we’ll not get away with it every game.
But a final word of caution; we started last season with a one-nil against Brentford which had a big degree of shithousery about it. And we all know how that season ended.
Blues 1 – Brentford 0