Brentford vs Huddersfield Town

Competition: EFL Championship Matchday 2

Date: 19/09/2020

Score: 3-0

Ground: Brentford Community Stadium

The game itself

Town were well beaten by Brentford on Saturday and were outplayed by one of the best teams in the division who deserved to be in the play-off final last season. I think people are slightly over-reacting to the performance and whilst it was not good enough, people are appearing to forget that two of our key players went off injured in the first half, Added to that only one of our four new signings started and for different reasons, Town have been without Lewis O'Brien and Karlan Grant, at least if we sold Grant we would be able to make some signigns!
As I said in my Match Report, I thought that defensively we were not good enough. We made defensive errors for the first two goals and the defence held on to the ball too much. The defence made 289 out of the 428 passes made by the entire team, while having 368 touches on the ball out of a team total of 617.
The main issue for me is that we are doing nothing with the ball. It is sideways and backwards passing when really we need to be trying to play diagonals to our wide players. It is causing the opposition attackers to press our least skilful players that are on the ball i.e Schindler or Stearman. I will put my neck out here and say we have the fastest front three in the league, but you wouldn’t know it because we don’t use their pace enough. I could see Stearman trying to pick a few of those balls out to Diakhaby, but it was either over his head or mis-controlled. I think with the arrival of Naby Sarr and on loan Ajax midfielder Carel Eiting, this should change, as they have a good range of passing and accuracy.
I saw after the game the complaints about the attack, but for me, Adama Diakhaby and Isaac Mbenza should be given credit for the way they played. Considering they were practically isolated for the entire game, I thought they did a relatively good job. If you look at the below heatmap from whoscored, you can see the clear difference in the positions our front three were receiving the ball vs Brentford's front three.
Mbenza, Koroma, and Diakhaby only just had more touches combined (74) than town ‘keeper Ben Hamer had on his own (67). While you can complain about them not being creative and not clinical enough, if the attack is not receiving the ball then what do you expect them to do?

Taken from Whoscored. Brentford are on the left, Town are on the right.

Brentford's front three are in and around the 18-yard box while our two hotspots are on the wing, with one even being in our half!

Is the Bacuna criticism deserved?

Bacuna was operating in that space outside on the left of central midfield against Brentford. While I thought he was quite quiet against the bees, he actually was the busiest midfielder for us. He successfully completed 3 tackles out of the 5 he committed while Hogg didn't attempt a single tackle, he also had the most successful tackles on the team. Bacuna added to this by making 3 clearances, 1 interception and 1 key pass. While he did lose possession 5 times, which was also the most on the team, he did lose it in the opposition half on three of those occasions, which at least shows his attacking intent. For context, Bryan Mbeumo, who was man of the match, lost possession 6 times, so it would be unfair to single him out for this. Looking deeper into Bacuna's ball retention, he had an 82% pass accuracy, which was only bettered in the midfield by Alex Prtichard who had 85%. Juninho also had two shots in the game, with him being very unlucky not to score against Daniels when his header hit the post.

Taken from Whoscored. Bacuna's heat map against Brentford.

As you can see from Bacuna’s personal heat map, he was most prominent in the left side of our half. I think if we can get him predominantly operating in the opposition half then we should be creating more chances than we currently are.

Playing out from the back

Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola all have a thing for playing out from the back and considering Corberan is a student of Biesela and is liked by the latter, it is no surprise that Corberan is doing the same. The last two matches have proved, that the players we currently have cannot do this style of play well, but, as I said before, the arrivals of Sarr and Eiting should allow us to play out from the back. Not only will they have a good effect on their own individual position, but they also should have a beneficial impact on the rest of the team and take away some pressure.
As you can see from the below screen shot from whoscored, Town were occupying the majority of the ball in our own half, specifically our own 18 yard box. I think Town need to try and bring this possession up to half way as I can see what we are trying to do, but we need to be doing it higher up the pitch, otherwise every mistake made a defence by our ‘keeper or defence in distribution will create an opportunity for the opposition. Alarmingly, Town had no presence in the Brentford half which further consolidates the point that the forwards are just not receiving the ball enough.

Taken from Whoscored. Brentford are on the left, Town are on the right.

Looking at our breakdown of passes, we made 176 passes in our third compared with Brentford's 81. We nearly made double the amount in the middle third as we made 226 passes compared with their 120. However it is when we get to the final third where it is embarrassing. Brentford nearly registered three times as many passes in the final third as Town did, 165 passes for them compared with 58 for us. We need to aiming to be hitting those number of passes in the final third like Brentford in future.

Final Thoughts

I think this performance shows that Corberan's ideas are being implemented to an extent on the pitch and although the players are good players, they do not work well together. There were 5 different regimes of player on the pitch - Hogg was signed by Robins, Schindler by Wagner, Koroma by Siewert, Stearman by Cowley and Pipa by Corberan. This is creating clashing styles of play and hence, the players are not working well together.
You can say what you want about Phil, but I don't think he is trying to sabotage the club. I believe he has tried his best to offload as many players as he can, but clubs are not interested as they can't afford our players due to the pandemic or they haven’t been standing out to other clubs.
The biggest take away for me that we as Town fans have to get or heads around is that this year is a transition year and we have to manage our expectations accordingly. As long as we are playing Championship football next season we will be in good position, as 14 players have their contracts up, so we will be able to rebuild at the end of the season properly. This gives Corberan the chance to evaluate his players, to implement his style and to bring in the players he needs.

Match Statistics

Brentford: Huddersfield Town
xG (Expected Goals): 1.99 0.81
Possession %: 43 57
Total Shots: 23 10
On Target: 6 4
Tackles: 16 16
Pass Accuracy %: 75 81
Fouls: 13 9
Yellow Cards: 1 0
Red Cards: - -