EFL Team in Focus: Brentford’s Plan Bee

Ambition to challenge for the Play-Offs

Since Mark Warburton left Griffin Park in 2015, Brentford’s seasons have generally followed similar patterns.

The Bees have played sufficiently high-quality football to challenge for the Play-Offs, but perhaps lacked the adaptability, tenacity and strength in both boxes to make inroads into the top six.

The West Londoners’ first full season under Thomas Frank, though, could be different; despite having been on the coaching team during the previous regime, the Dane has made some pragmatic tweaks in his 10 months in charge.

Frank’s troops entered the final Saturday of August with a modest four points from five games; they would have accumulated more had dominant displays against Birmingham and Charlton been rewarded, rather than ended in 1-0 defeats.

The 3-0 victory over Derby though, not only lifts Brentford up to 13th – three points off the embryonic top six – it also gives them confidence that they can challenge.

Brentford began 2017-18 in similar circumstances – dominating games without killing teams off – and were winless in eight, but then the 3-0 win at Bolton sparked off a nine-game unbeaten run.

Frank will hope the thumping of the Rams by the same scoreline can have a similar impact.

Playing forward earlier

Under Dean Smith, Brentford were keen to try to score the perfect goal.

If they had the opportunity to pop the ball down the channel early, they would often pass it up in favour of going sideways.

Of course, this meant they controlled possession in most of their games and created a lot of half-chances – yet equally, struggled to create clear cut goalscoring opportunities.

Frank is trying to change that: April’s 2-0 win over Leeds, in which they released Neal Maupay for the opener with a simple through ball, hinted at a willingness to play more direct at times.

In their last game, Frank’s side scored one of their goals from just two passes, then bagged the other two without needing any passes – they managed to score through turning the ball over high up the pitch and then via a set piece.

This shows that while Brentford can still play out from the back, they have other ways of opening teams up and can adapt to different circumstances.

Jansson’s impact

Pontus Jansson’s arrival at Brentford shows how the club is now shopping in a much higher market than it used to be.

Of course, for the move to happen, Leeds had to be willing to let the Swede leave in order to fund another deal – but it says a lot that it was the Bees who were able to pounce.

Until this summer, they had not signed one player for as big a fee as £3 million, so the fact they added a 28-year-old for a reported £5.5 million shows that, after a half-decade of being the club that invests in potential and then sells on, Brentford are now showing short-term ambition – and they have more than earned the right to do that.

Jansson has had a positive impact on Brentford’s rear-guard, which has benefited hugely from their new captain’s leadership, organisational qualities and stout defending of the penalty area.

In contrast, for example, with the 2016-17 campaign, in which they conceded as many as 65 goals, so far this year they have shipped just four in six.

Two of those goals happened to be the only shots on target they faced in clashes with Birmingham and Charlton.

Another came at Leeds, who are arguably the best team in the league, so while they were wrong to leave Jarrod Bowen in space high up for Hull’s goal at Griffin Park in the 1-1 draw in week two, they have got a lot of things right at the back.

Dalsgaard further back

One of the problems for Brentford in their first few games was being short of a Yoan Barbet replacement.

They did not have someone to push out of the back-three in Frank’s 3-4-3, join up with the midfield and link play from there.

Against Derby, though, Frank started Sergi Canos at right wing-back and dropped Henrik Dalsgaard into a wide centre-back role.

That looks a masterstroke as Brentford not only have the energy, direct running and instinctively positive play of Canos, they also have Dalsgaard overlapping from behind if needed.

Promotion chances?

Brentford are currently 13/8 with SkyBet for a top six finish.

Considering how many different aspects they have to their game, considering that they have the all-important confidence booster of a convincing victory after a couple of unlucky defeats and considering how impressive they can be, it could be worth backing the Bees to make their mark on the promotion picture.


BET £10 & GET £50 IN FOOTBALL FREE BETS!!!! 🤯🤯🤯
Place a £10 bet on football (Oct 15 - Oct 20), at min. odds 1/5 (1.2) — get £50 in free bets. £30 free bets will be awarded after the qualifying bet has been settled and daily £10 free bet for the following 2 days. Only deposits via cards will qualify, Apple pay not valid on this promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+
Claim Bonus
BET £5 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS + 40 FREE SPINS!!!! 😍😍😍
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 2 X £10 BET TOKENS. 40 FREE SPINS AT £0.10 PER SPIN. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS EXCLUDE VIRTUALS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. GAME AND ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. 7 DAY FREE SPIN EXPIRY. FREE SPINS WILL AUTOPLAY ON FIRST ELIGIBLE GAME LOADED. FURTHER T&CS APPLY 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG.
Claim Bonus
GET £20 IN RISK FREE BETS!!!! ✅
New customers only. Deposit £20 using Debit Card or Trustly. Up to your first £20 of losses will be refunded as CASH within 24 hours of qualifying bet having been settled. T&Cs apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus
🎯 BET £10 AND GET UP TO £30 IN FREE BETS! 🎯
New users only. Place qual bets of £10 (min odds 1/2, 2+ legs) in 1st 7 days to unlock. Awarded as 3 x £10 free bet. Min odds 1/1 3+ legs, + 7 day expiry. Winnings in cash. Full T&Cs Apply).
Claim Bonus
🔥 BET £10 ON ANY SPORT & GET £20 IN FREE BETS 🔥
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £20 free bets valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. begambleaware.org.
Claim Bonus
🤩 Bet £10 & get £20 in FREE BETS 🤩
New customers only, min deposit and bet £10 (£20 if E/W bet) from Debit card only. Paypal not accepted. Min odds evens (1/5 per multi selection). 2x £10 Free Bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned, no cash out. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🏇🏼 BET £10 ON ANY RACE TODAY & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! 🏇🏼
Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below.
Claim Bonus

🏆 £20 Risk Free First Bet - Money Back in CASH 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
GET A £20 FREE BET WHEN YOU BET £20 ON ANY SPORT!!!! 😍😍😍
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. STRICTLY 18+. MINIMUM DEPOSIT £20. PLACE ANY £20 SPORTSBOOK BET AT MINIMUM ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) TO RECEIEVE YOUR FREE £20 BET. YOUR £20 FREE BET MUST BE WAGERED TWICE (X2) AT MINIMUM ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) BEFORE IT BECOMES CASH. IF YOUR FIRST £20 BET WINS, YOU HAVE TO BET £20 AGAIN TWICE AT MIN ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) OR HIGHER TO TURN THE £20 FREE BET IN TO CASH. BUT YOU DO WIN CASH ON YOUR FIRST BET IF IT WINS - IT'S THE £20 BONUS THAT IS LOCKED UNTIL MINIMUM WAGERING REQUIREMENTS ARE MET.
Claim Bonus
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Open account offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! 🙌🙌🙌
New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & get £30 in bonuses! 🌟
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Bonus
🏆 £20 Risk Free First Bet - Money Back in CASH 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Betfair account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
💎 BET £10 & GET £40 IN FREE BETS 💎
18+. Play Safe. When you sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Claim Bonus