Analysis: Brentford must trust their process despite winless run
Brentford winger Keane Lewis-Potter and head coach Thomas Frank both touched upon the fact that the Bees were disappointed with the result, but not the manner of the performance, after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
Playing against 10 men after the dismissal of Moussa Niakhaté on 58 minutes, the Bees dominated possession for much of the second period but were unable to clinch victory after Nicolás Dominguez’s header cancelled out Christian Nørgaard’s opener for the visitors.
Shorn of a number of key players due to a lengthy injury list and Ivan Toney’s ongoing ban, Brentford’s season has had its complications, and the west Londoners are – in their head coach’s own words – “struggling to get over the line and get three points”.
However, the Bees’ success over recent seasons has been forged on emphasising the collective, maximising their strengths and an enviable pragmatism – and those qualities appear intact.
In fact, Brentford’s statistics add substance to the argument that the Bees have done a lot right this season – and that they have evolved since their promotion to the top flight.
Let’s wade into some of the positive stats that suggest Brentford have perhaps not reaped their just rewards so far this term.
After Nørgaard’s well-taken header from Mathias Jensen’s free-kick at the City Ground, the Bees have scored two goals from set-pieces in the Premier League this term – but they could well have had more.
The skipper up and running for the season pic.twitter.com/2EhXuuRPBc
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) October 1, 2023
Brentford have had the most shots from set-pieces (41) and from inside the six-yard box (17) and the joint-most headed efforts on goal (25) so far in 2023/24; should they maintain these levels, more goals from dead-ball situations appear inevitable.
Factor in that Brentford have whipped in more accurate crosses (44) than any team in the top flight this term, and rank third in the division for accurate long balls, and it is clear that many of the Bees’ traditional strengths are alive and kicking.
Further, Frank has spoken about Brentford looking to control possession more and their start in 2023/24 suggests they are making positive strides in this regard.
After enjoying only 44 per cent of the ball in their 2021/22 and 2022/23 campaigns, Brentford’s average possession share after seven Premier League games this season stands at 51 per cent, placing them ninth in the division as a whole. Playing against 10 men against Fulham and Forest may have skewed the numbers slightly, but the trend here is clear.
Similarly, the Bees’ pass completion rate of 82 per cent is hugely improved compared to 74 per cent (21/22) and 75 per cent (22/23) over the past two seasons.
Football is far more than a numbers game, but Brentford’s performances this season – with the defeat to Everton a notable exception – suggest they are on the right track and need to trust their process.